Updated decentralisation monitoring: how development tools are used in practice

From 795 in 2015 to 3264 in 2017 – this is the number of hromadas in Ukraine, that amalgamated in order to radically change the lives of their residents forever. Together they formed 699 amalgamated hromadas with more than 6 million people. This is the data of monitoring of the power decentralisation process and local self-government reform that reflects the figures over December 2017. MinRegion is paying close attention to the progress of the reform in Ukraine. This ministry is responsible for the implementation of the decentralisation tasks, the active phase of which began in Ukraine in 2015 (2014 was preparatory in the context of the regulatory framework of the reform).

The Ministry composedly commented on the quantitative indicators of the first stage of the reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power, stressing that the qualitative indicators of this process are much more important. However, they do not conceal that the pace of establishment of amalgamated hromadas is fairly rapid, in comparison with other European countries.

“The pace of the reform is really good. I am now expressing not my subjective assessment, but the general assessment of our European colleagues and international experts. Today they admit they did not expect such a success of this reform in the first years of its implementation. But we would like its pace to be even more rapid. The country that has been lacking necessary reforms for many years and suffering from external military aggression, does not have much time for qualitative changes. We have to carry out this fundamental reform very quickly and build a solid foundation of statehood – strong hromadas with decent living standards,” commented Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services.

He stressed that amalgamation of small communities into the capable ones is carried out so that they can form efficient local self-government bodies able to execute their own powers and those delegated by the state, effectively manage the resources provided to hromadas with financial decentralisation, make high-quality managerial decisions, take care of constant development of their territory and improvement of living standards of their residents.

“It's possible to list all of this quickly, but it is harder to implement it equally fast. The fulfillment of all these tasks depends to a greater extent on local self-government bodies. The state cannot and does not interfere in their activities. Though within the framework of the reform the state has created effective instruments, the skillful application of which allows local self-governments to start new pages of their history, pages of development and prosperity. Review the reform monitoring carefully, and you will find a lot of interesting things: from the growth of local budgets to sectoral changes in hromadas. There you will see, for instance, that the growth rate of payment for administrative service provision in amalgamated hromadas in 2017 increased by 449%!, compared to 2016. Probably, it's not so much in monetary terms, but it is a reflection of the trends that occur as a result of decentralisation of administrative services. Which community could have ever dreamt of Administrative Service Centres? And today, there are over five dozen of ASCs in AHs, and this figure will continue to grow,” said the First Deputy Minister.

He also noticed that monitoring also reflects the problematic issues that need to be addressed.

“In December, we introduced another indicator – amalgamation of communities within rayons, and observed that AH establishment was fully completed in 15 rayons, and more than half of them amalgamated in 111 rayons. At the same time, no AH was formed in 146 rayons (over a third of them). Thus, we see where it is necessary to find out the causes of inactivity or, possibly, blocking of the decentralisation process,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda.

According to him, a similar decentralisation situation is observed in the field of architectural and building control. Only 67 out of 173 cities of oblast significance and 10 more AHs out of 665 expressed their desire and were authorised in the field of architectural and building control.

“This situation is of concern because it shows that most of the local self-government bodies do not want to assume responsibility for granting construction licenses and putting objects into operation. On the other hand, there are certain complaints about the procedural issues of obtaining these powers. As a conclusion – it is necessary to change the existing procedure for the delegation of powers and legally allocate them to the relevant local self-government bodies,” noted the First Deputy Minister.

The monitoring of the process of power decentralisation and local self-government reform as of 10 January 2018, is available  here: 

 

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V.Nehoda monitoring

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