In September 2011, Ukraine joined the Open Government Partnership Initiative, thus confirming that it shares the basic principles of the Partnership: government administration transparency, engagement of the public in formulation and implementation of state policy, combating corruption and the use of new information technologies. At the beginning of 2012, in close cooperation with the public, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine developed a national Action plan on implementation of the Initiative, which was introduced to the participants of Partnership Conference in Brasilia (the Federal Republic of Brazil). In July 2012, the Government approved a detailed plan of measures for implementation of the Initiative. In addition, the Coordination Council on the implementation of the Initiative was established, which is composed of executive authorities and civil society representatives.
The first year of the implementation of the Initiative allowed taking measures that are important for increasing the level of openness and transparency of the Government. Meanwhile, the issues of concern that affected the effectiveness of the planned activities in five key areas were revealed.
1) Engagement of the public in formulation and implementation of state policy
During 2012, Ukraine renewed fundamentally its legal framework on the operation of civil society institutions: the Laws of Ukraine “On Public Associations” and “On Charity and Charitable Organizations” were adopted. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Ministry of Justice provided the timely adoption of by-laws necessary for the proper implementation of the Law of Ukraine “On Public Associations”.
In 2012, the President of Ukraine established the Coordination Council on the development of civil society and adopted the State Policy Strategy to promote the development of civil society in Ukraine. The local executive authorities develop regional programs promoting the civil society.
In order to strengthen cooperation with representatives of the civil society, in 2012, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine established a new advisory body– the Council of Heads of Public councils under the executive authorities.
In 2012, the governmental website “Civil Society and government” was upgraded: a new version provides citizens with simplified access to public discussions of important state decisions and information about measures taken by the Government and executive authorities in establishing interaction with the public.
For a social dialogue at the national level in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On Social Dialogue”, the National Tripartite Social and Economic Council was established including the labor unions’ party (represented by labor union associations), employers’ party (represented by national employers organizations associations), executive authorities’ party (represented by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine).
2) Providing access to public information
The practice of the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information” in 2011-2012 years demonstrated an ability of governmental authorities in providing timely responses to the requests of citizens and the media in a short time. During this period, according to the authorities’ data, more than 60 thousand responses to information requests were provided and 230 thousand documents were opened. The law provided citizens with not only simplified access to government authorities’ information, but also forced the authorities to work openly and transparently, implemented innovations that may become a reference for other areas of interaction between the state and citizens.
The column “Access to Public Information” was created on the governmental portal which is constantly filled with relevant information. 27 roundtables, workshops, webinars, travelling seminars on the organization of access to public information were conducted with representatives of the public and government authorities.
In 2012, measures in creating the system of registration of public information in the executive authorities were taken. This system was created and published on the official websites of 30 central and 21 local executive authorities.
The Cabinet of Ministers developed and submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine the draft law of Ukraine “On Public Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine”. The State Committee for television and radio broadcasting of Ukraine and the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine held public debates on that draft law.
In 2012, in order to ensure free and unhindered public access to information on land resources, the State Agency for Land Resources of Ukraine carried out the work to create the National inventory system that provides an electronic showing of land limits on the public cadastral map. Since January 2013, the system has started operating in the public domain, and at present, its operation improvement is held.
3) Preventing and Combating Corruption
On February 1, 2012, the Unified State Register of persons who committed corruption offenses began its operations. The Registry provides the conduct of special audit of information about individuals who apply for positions related to state functions or local government.
In November 2012, the mechanism for checking the list of persons authorized to perform functions of the state or local governments, who were exempted from duties in connection with the prosecution for corruption offenses was implemented.
In 2012, Ukraine began moving towards the implementation of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) standards, which shall improve the investment climate and enhance energy security by creating more transparent and qualitative competitive environment.
In 2012, the Ministry of Justice prepared a draft Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding the Improvement of the Financial Control and Settlement of the Conflict of Interests” which according to the results of the Council of Europe examination received positive conclusions and was submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. In addition, the draft Laws of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes of Ukraine Regarding the Improvement of Forfeiture Procedure”, “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Implementation of Criminal Legal Measures on Legal Entities” and “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding the Improvement of Legislation on Preventing and Combating corruption” were also submitted by the Government to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
The Ministry of Justice published an annual report on the results of the measures preventing and combating corruption in 2012. The report reflects the information and statistics on the results of the operation of the specially authorized entities for combating corruption.
Strengthening executive authorities operation on information support of anti-corruption policy, engaging the public in development, implementation and monitoring of the effectiveness of measures to prevent corruption remains a high priority in the realization of Open Government Partnership Initiative regarding the prevention and combating corruption. Public experts also propose the Ministry of Justice to update the contents of the state anti-corruption program and develop guidelines for the development of regional programs to prevent and combat corruption in cooperation with civil society associations.
4) Improving the quality of administrative services
Today, the Law of Ukraine “On Administrative Services”, which came into force on October 7, 2012 defines the legal basis of rights, freedoms and lawful interests of individuals and legal entities in administrative services, basic requirements to the regulation of organizational support and administrative services, creating administrative service centers, the Unified State Portal of Administrative Services, the Register of administrative services. In provision of the Law, the Register of administrative services is created and maintained – the unified computer database of administrative services provided by state and local authorities.
A pilot version of the Unified State Portal of Administrative Services (http://poslugy.gov.ua) was created, the functional capabilities of which provide access to information about administrative services, subjects of such services, centers of administrative services and the related legislative acts.
A lot of work has been done for creating the Government telephone line for providing the public with information on administrative services.
In 2013, the Government provided the regions with state support in the amount of UAH 50 million for the establishment of administrative service centers and their proper arrangement. In order to improve the accessibility and convenience of service for citizens, the central executive authorities are oriented towards providing their services in the future in cities and regions through administrative service centers.
The public has been involved actively in removing obstacles for doing business. In April 2013, the Federation of Employers of Ukraine presented the National Register of regulatory authorities. The link reestr.fru.org.ua contains the list of regulatory authorities (70 regulatory authorities, 44 of which can stop, suspend, and restrict enterprise operations) with all the necessary information about their state control activities.
The further work on bringing the legislation in all spheres of government administration to the requirements of the Law of Ukraine “On administrative services” remains a high priority of executive authorities operations towards the implementation of the Open Government Partnership Initiative regarding the improvement of the administrative services quality.
5) Implementation of e-Government and development of e-democracy
The approval by the Government of the Information Society Development Strategy, the Concept of legislation reforming in the area of digital public key infrastructure and the provision of electronic trust services were an important achievement. It is planned to create conditions for recognizing a legal status of electronic documents certified by electronic signatures, and the improvement of an appropriate legal terminology.
The trial operation of the system of electronic interaction between the executive authorities and the Cabinet of Ministers began in 2012. The measures to improve the legal regulation of this process were taken after a successful trial operation of the system. The requirements to the format, structure and protocols that are implemented in reliable means of digital signature were approved. The Procedure of work with electronic documents via the system of electronic interaction between the executive authorities with the usa of digital signatures keeps on developing.
A prototype of integrated information web-site for appeals of citizens to state and local government authorities was created in 2012 (http://z.gov.ua). The measures to ensure the introduction of the web resource in commercial operation are taken.
The measures for creating an automated system “Integrated window for electronic accountancy” are taken. The implementation of the system will allow solving the problem of electronic accountancy by enterprises to all executive and local self-government authorities. By 2012, the first stage of the system had been created.
In early 2013, the trial operation of electronic documents flow commenced in Dnipropetrovsk region. Over 500 users in 77 offices are connected to the system. For that one thousand electronic signatures were made. It is expected that by the end of 2013 1300 officials in executive and local self-government authorities will use the electronic document flow system.
Since April 1, 2013 an electronic registration system to pre-school institutions (http://www.dnz.kiev.ua) has been operating in all Kyiv areas under the project “Electronic kindergarten”. The record to the electronic register is also carried out in ten regional administrative services centers and in the Municipal Approval Center. The above-mentioned electronic system is due to simplify the work of regional education departments and make the process of entry to the kindergarten more transparent, ensuring equal access to qualitative pre-school education in Kiev.
In December 2013, the first stage of data processing center “Regional Centre for Electronic Governance “Electronic Capital” is planned to be put into operation. An official Kyiv travel portal was created (http://vizitkyiv.com.ua).
The implementation of the best practices of e-governance in the operation of all central and local executive authorities, the further development of automated systems designed to simplify citizens - the government and government agencies interaction remains a high priority of the Government in the realization of the Open Government Partnership Initiative on the implementation of e-Government and e-democracy development.