The process of capable hromadas’ formation throughout Ukraine is coming to an end. Approximately 4,500 local councils have formed nearly 1,000 amalgamated hromadas. But about 6,500 are still not involved in the reform.
We tried to analyse recent governmental proposals to make it easier for hromadas, both amalgamated and non-amalgamated, to understand what to get ready for.
No chance not to be amalgamated
The main message in the speeches of the government representatives, as well as MPs and representatives of the Presidential office is that the whole territory of Ukraine next year, before the local election, should be covered by capable hromadas. Although it is clear that it goes about potentially capable hromadas, since, of course, it is not possible to make all hromadas capable at once, but a more realistic task is to model capable amalgamations.
However, every village, settlement, city council in Ukraine will be part of an amalgamated hromada next year – a fact that is no longer in dispute.
Will those amalgamated be amalgamated again?
Of the hundreds of AHs recognised capable, not all are actually capable. In recent years, decisions about their capacity have been more political than objective. This is a fact recognised by the Government. That is why the future amalgamation is likely to touch on some of the already formed AHs.
Let's figure out which AHs need to prepare for voluntary or administrative enlargement and why.
New capability criteria
The Government plans to change the methodology of forming capable hromadas by clarifying the criteria for this capacity. So far, these are just proposals, but hromadas should already be aware of them.
The current methodology stipulates that “a capable territorial hromada includes territorial communities of villages (settlements, cities) that, through voluntary amalgamation, are able to… provide an adequate level of service delivery, in particular in the fields of education, culture, healthcare, social protection, housing and communal services, taking into account the human resources, financial maintenance and infrastructure development of the respective administrative and territorial unit.”
Now these criteria are planned to be supplemented.
Infrastructure as capability criterion
Four years of AHs’ functioning experience shows that, even if a hromada has all the infrastructure it needs to provide services, it does not mean that it is capable to provide all of these services in a quality way. Conversely, if a hromada does not have, say, its own Administrative Service Centre, it does not always mean that it is unable to provide quality administrative services.
That is why the Government decided that when looking at the perspective plans for hromadas’ formation it is necessary to take into account the optimality of the network of facilities delivering services, to ensure that the service is of the highest quality and not only the closest to the population.
MinRegion, together with other ministries and with all oblast state administrations, are inventorying a network of service providers across the country.
What will the result be?
Do all of the AHs already formed meet the capability criteria discussed by the Government? Of course not. Therefore, such hromadas should now be honest to admit it and form options for their further development. It is better to do this together with the oblast state administrations, which will in future be solely responsible for creating perspective plans for the formation of hromadas in the oblast (after the adoption of the draft law No 2189).
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
The material was prepared within the framework of the Project of the Ukrainian Association of Rayon and Oblast Councils “Modelling of the Administrative and Territorial Structure at Subregional Level”, implemented with the support of the Council of Europe Programme “Decentralisation and Local Government Reform in Ukraine”.
The views expressed in the material are those of its authors and cannot under any circumstances be taken to reflect the official position of the Council of Europe.
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