Reform Summary From The Old Government | VoxUkraine

Reform Summary From The Old Government

Photo: depositphotos / e.kryzhanivsky
4 October 2019

We asked each of them three questions: Main goal (or up to 3 goals) of your ministry’s policy? What did you do to achieve this goal (or goals)? What did you really manage to change for the stakeholders? (and who are the stakeholders)

We either got the answers in writing, or held interviews with the representatives of Ukrainian ministries.

We urge (ex)members of other government bodies to join this initiative and tell us about their influence on the life of Ukrainians. To join, please contact Ksenia Alekankina [email protected] 

Ministry of Economic Development

Stepan Kubiv

Main goal (or up to 3 goals) of your ministry’s policy

Starting from 2016, the Ministry of Economic Development has set a number of priorities for stabilizing the economy and speeding up the economic growth to achieve better quality of life for Ukrainian citizens.

The instruments (i.e. goals or directions) are:

  • Export support and promotion;
  • Deregulation, the development of small and medium business support system;
  • Digital economy and innovational ecosystem;
  • Industry development, namely defense-industrial complex;
  • Public procurement reform;

What did you do to achieve this goal/goals?

In the international trade (export support and promotion)

In three years we have reoriented our export from Russian market to EU, Middle East, Asia, Africa and USA.

Share of EU in the export of Ukrainian goods for the first five months of 2019 is almost 42%, while Russia’s share fell to 6,4% and keeps declining. Compare it with 2013, when 23,7% of total export of Ukrainian goods went to Russia, and almost third of industrial products (28,4%) was sold at Russian market.

In 2018 year alone, Ukraine exported to Asia goods for $13,7 billion — almost 30% of total export, and goods for $4,1 billion to Africa.

During these three years we have concluded two new free trade agreements: with Canada in 2016 (as a result, export of Ukrainian goods to Canada grew 75% since 2016) and with Israel (signed in January 2019 in Jerusalem. Will come into force after being ratified in Knesset and certain legal procedures. I’m sure it will happen very soon).

Another important detail: from January 1, 2019, the provisions of the Regional Convention on Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Preferential Rules of Origin (PEM) began to apply to bilateral trade between Ukraine and the EU. Basically, the exporter can buy raw materials in Georgia or Israel, recycle in Ukraine and supply such products to the EU at zero duty. From the point of view of international trade it is a very profitable tool to increase the value added of production of goods and an additional argument for investors about the benefits of opening factories in Ukraine.

Deregulation, the development of small and medium business support system;

To lessen the administrative pressure on business we held 8 deregulation Cabinets of Ministers, during which we have eliminated almost 1,300 outdated, ineffective or illegal regulatory acts.

As soon as I became the head of the Ministry (in August 2016), I signed the authorization for 5 ministries on the so-called Rolling Review of the regulations in agriculture and food safety, construction, energy, transport and infrastructure, information technology and telecommunications.

As a result we have prepared and conducted:

  • “Purge” of the regulatory field from excessive regulatory pressure, which does not meet the principles of expediency, adequacy, efficiency, balance, legality. Thereafter, more effective practices are introduced based on world best experience;
  • Preparation of recommendations for systematic improvement of the regulation (creation of safeguards preventing new ineffective regulatory practices);
  • Setting up effective communication between the government (regulators), business and society to increase the involvement of business in the process of regulation of its activity.

We also created the SME (small and medium enterprises) Development Office, and launched the website where you can see the plan and the results of the inspections online.

This is also a part of creating better business climate in Ukraine.

We have also transferred a lot of services online, namely administrative services. As of now, 30% of them are available online.

We have also expanded and upgraded the network of Administrative service centers (ASC). There are 778 ACs across Ukraine. As of this moment, they have already provided citizens with 15 million services (around 53,000 services daily).

Digital economy and innovative ecosystem:

In 2017, at our initiative, the Government approved the Concept for the Development of the Digital Economy and Society of Ukraine, and now we have almost completed work on the draft law on the digital economy. It should become an important system document for Ukraine’s digital development. This is not only + 5-7% of Ukraine’s GDP annually, but also new opportunities for e-commerce and other areas. As a result of our efforts, in 2018 alone, e-commerce in Ukraine has increased by 25%. Ukraine already ranks second in terms of e-commerce growth in Europe.

Besides, on January 30, 2019, the Government established a mandatory digital format for public policy, i. e. the principle of “digital by default”. This means that public authorities must first and foremost work in digital format. Moreover, thanks to the system of electronic interaction of state information resources of “Trembita”, almost 5500 documents are already sent electronically every day.

Industry development, namely defense industry;

In three years we managed to increase the funding of the defense industry by 100 times — from UAH 30 million in 2015 to 3,1 billion in 2018!

Thanks to these funds, over 200 developments of the latest weapons and military equipment were put into production during 2016-2018, 22.8 thousand units of military equipment and more than 792 thousand rockets and ammunition were put into service. Currently, the defense industry uses 670 NATO standards and 975 Ukrainian standards. $6 billion, or 5% of GDP, is allocated annually to security and defense needs.

As a result:

  • We have created a line for the production of Vilkha (Alder) high-precision artillery rocket systems.
  • Launched production lines for 9×18 and 9×19 small arms cartridges, all in accordance with NATO standards.
  • Signed a contract to build facilities for the production of cruise missile Neptune after a successful test (industrial design).
  • A program of state support for the production of critical defense equipment and military equipment has been put into operation. This is part of the work on reducing import dependence, which is defined in the Strategy of Development of the defense industry of Ukraine until 2028. Due to the increased participation of the Ukrainian industry in state programs to overcome import dependency, we have started expanding cooperation between domestic companies. With proper government funding and continued implementation of the measure, we can hope import dependence will drop by almost 100%.
  • We provided the Armed Forces with up-to-date and repaired models of equipment: MiG-29 fighter jets, MI-8 helicopters, T-64 tanks, BTR-3 and BTR-4, Osa (Wasp) anti-aircraft missile system, Gvozdika (Carnation) artillery complexes and many others.
  • Approved the Strategy of revival of Ukrainian aviation industry for the period up to 2022 and the Plan of measures for its implementation. For example, according to Antonov, 1.5 thousand aircraft of its production are operated in the world today. At the same time, the demand of the world market by 2030 will reach 400 units of 50-60 seat aircraft and 650 of 70-90 seat aircraft (AN-148, AN-158), as well as military transport aircraft of 450-500 units by 2025. Antonov alone can increase its aircraft by 1.5 thousand units by 2035. Therefore, the Strategy envisages further reduction of import dependency for the Ukrainian aviation sphere, creation of thousands of new jobs in the industry and related fields, as well as plans for production and maintenance of Ukrainian aviation equipment for cargo and passenger transportation, including humanitarian and military missions, etc.

Public procurement reform;

Not many people know this, but the ProZorro project officially started 3.5 months after my appointment as Minister. Parliament then backed our draft law, which made ProZorro mandatory for use across the country. In 3 years, the number of companies selling to the state through the ProZorro platform has more than doubled: from 65,000 to 148,000. In total, 2.2 million public purchases were carried out with a total value of UAH 1,251 trillion. The cumulative positive effect was UAH 62.9 billion.

We have used the ProZorro experience for the needs of renting state property and small-scale privatization, so that since the beginning of 2019 the State Property Fund of Ukraine transferred UAH 925.7 million from state property lease to the state budget. Also in 8 months small privatization brought the state UAH 870 million, 748 successful auctions were held.

An online analytics portal for state-owned enterprises ProZvit has been created and is currently operational, as well as a web portal for procurement monitoring —

What did the shareholders gain? (and who are the shareholders)

The total GDP growth for three years amounted to 8.4%. For comparison, in Q1 of 2016 (at the time of the Government’s appointment in April 2016) GDP growth constituted +0.1%, and before that it was negative (from -1.2% of GDP in Q1 2014 to -16 % Of GDP in Q1 2015)

We have reduced the shadow economy from 40% of GDP to 32%, stopped inflation at 8.8%, resumed cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, gold and foreign exchange reserves are growing and amounted to 20.8 billion UAH at the end of 2018. This is the highest value in 5 years.

These positive tendencies іnfluenced the average income of Ukrainian families.

For two years, the minimum wage has increased 3 times: as of 01.01.2016 it amounted to UAH 1378, and as of January 1, 2019 it amounted to UAH 4173. The average salary increased 2 times: in December 2015 it amounted to 5230 UAH, in the same period of 2018 it amounted to 10573 UAH.

Due to the major modernization of the defense industry, the Ukrainian army has become one of the top ten armies in Europe.

But most important thin is, we have laid out a strong foundation for the furthher economic growth,  since positive effects aren’t immediate and become obvious in 2-3 years, sometimes more. I’m certain that the strengthening of the hryvnia, the increase in the average salary and other positive trends are the result of our work in 2016-2019. It is gratifying that the President-elect’s team declares the continuation of our key initiatives: digitalization, business climate simplification, continued cooperation with international partners, export development and others. This work should be continued and intensified, as the next step is to turn the dry figures of economic statistics into understandable positive changes in the well-being of Ukrainian families.

Ministry of Health

Pavlo Kovtonyuk, Oleksandr Linchevskiy

Healthcare system reform: from faking it to making it

A healthcare reform Strategy was developed by Ukrainian and foreign experts with the support of international organizations in 2014-2015. In November 2016, the Government approved the Concept of the reform. It took another year to pass the relevant law. This law changed the principle of healthcare funding — instead of allocating money per beds and square meters, the state (i. e.  taxpayers) will pay for services. Money will go after the patient. The transition to this funding principle is without exaggeration the civilization leap for Ukraine.

Before starting the reform of the healthcare funding system we needed to answer the following questions:

  1. Where will the funding come from? There are two major sources of healthcare funding in the world — the labor tax (we have the USC and the PIT) and general tax revenue (the state budget). Of course, these two sources are to some extent supplemented by private funds. In Ukraine, healthcare is funded by general taxes that are accumulated in the State Budget, since raising the USC is not politically possible today. In addition, most salaries are paid unofficially.
  2. How will the funds be distributed? That is, who will “bring” money from the budget to the medical facility. In other countries, both centralized government agencies and decentralized hospitals or insurance companies do this. However, in the latter case, the costs of administering payments are much higher. There are also other problems —  insurance companies can select only healthy patients, doctors can appoint unnecessary medicines and procedures to increase bills, monopolization of the insurance market is also a threat. Therefore, serious regulation of providers is required. That is why Ukraine has chosen a centralized model — we are administering funds from the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHS).
  3. What services will be included into the healthcare guarantees program and how to determine their cost? The program of medical guarantees is formed taking into account the possibilities of the State budget and may be changed annually. To determine the cost of medical services, a system of diagnostic-related groups will gradually be introduced — a classifier of medical cases based on their cost.

In order to implement the new «money goes after the patient» funding model in Ukraine we created independent institutions which will ensure the system works as planned. First of all, it is the National Health Service of Ukraine and the state-owned enterprise E-Health.

The NHS was established on March 1, 2018, and as early as July, the service began signing contracts with primary care facilities, private facilities and primary care doctors (doctors who are registered as private entrepreneurs). Signing the contracts, registering of health facilities and primary care doctors takes place in the e-health system. In the same system, a declaration is signed between the patient and the family doctor, therapist and pediatrician.

Changing the funding model would not be possible without the introduction of the e-Health system. Electronic Healthcare System is a nationwide information system that, in the long run, gather all healthcare information in one place, one format, and provides electronic services to use that information. At the same time, the system allows the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHS) to provide transparent payments for healthcare facilities and minimizes the possibility of data manipulation. The state owns the Central Database. It currently contains information about:

  • primary care medical facilities;
  • medical staff — medical workers and specialists, pharmacy workers, laboratory workers, management of institutions providing primary healthcare;
  • patients — their declarations with family doctors, prescriptions;
  • contracts on medical services with the NHS — data on the provided medical services, their quantity and quality.

This data is always contained in the central component and cannot be lost. This is the responsibility of the state.

Private medical information systems (MIS) provide medical and pharmacy institutions with services for users. MISs must meet certain requirements in order to connect to the eHealth system. Prozorro works on a similar principle.

Establishment of the NHS and E-Health started the reform of health system funding, which started in 2018 from the primary level of healthcare, and in 2020 will be extended to all levels of healthcare.

This is how the new model works like: institutions contracted by the NHS receive funding for services and medications provided to patients. The list of these free services for patients is formed by a guarantee program that permeates all levels of care: primary, specialized outpatient, inpatient care, as well as emergency, palliative and rehabilitation care.

As of the middle of 2019 the transformation of the system on the primary level is still in progress. In case of primary care the facility receives funding (including the age coefficient) for each patient who signed the contract with the doctor from the said facility. The NHS also manages the Accessible medicine program, which is a part of medical guarantee program and an important component of primary-level treatment — in particular, chronic diseases control.

At the specialized outpatient and inpatient level, payment will be made per case. Medicines will be purchased under the National Medicines List. Costly medicines (for example, for the treatment of oncology or eye diseases) will be procured through international organizations and through the Medical Procurements of Ukraine.

Changes to the emergency care, which started in 2019, aim to equip it with dispatch systems and assure the implementation of Western dispatch protocols. This process is taking place all over the country. In addition, a pilot project has been launched in five regions and in Kyiv to train emergency medical teams and purchase vehicles and equipment.

The Emergency Service will not receive payment for each individual case — it will receive a certain amount of funding (the so-called global budget) sufficient to fulfill its functions.

Thus, from 2020, a new social contract will be fully implemented: if the patient complies with certain rules — signs a declaration with his family doctor, therapist or pediatrician, addresses him at the first signs of health problems or for a preventive examination, goes to a narrow-profile doctor at the direction of his family doctor (therapist, pediatrician) — he will receive free of charge service and medicines under the program of medical guarantees. Formerly (and even now, sometimes) there were informal rules — one had to look for a good doctor through a friend’s advice, make an appointment, buy medicine, pay cash, and so on. Now everything will be legal and transparent. We are moving to a new, honest relationship between doctors and patients. Previously, healthcare was free on paper and cost money in reality, now there will be a list of services and medicines that will be included in the medical guarantee program and will be free of charge.

The quality of healthcare will change, first of all, due to changes in the education and motivation of doctors. After all, the financial means of motivation, being the core of the reform, do not guarantee the enhancement of doctors’ competence.

We aimed to transform the relationship between the doctor and the patient, change the culture of their interaction at the very moment they meet at the doctor’s office. There are a lot of professional doctors who constantly study, improve themselves and operate the latest data. However, all this time the system had been hindering their improvement and growth. We want the state to support these talented and motivated people. That is why our short-term aim was to give them an opportunity to unveil their talents, and the long-term one — to organize the selection and training system in a way that would allow only the best people to receive medical diplomas.

The introduction of evidence-based medicine was a quick means of supporting the best people. We have proclaimed the importance of using treatments with clinically proven efficacy.

We have approved a list of sources (used in developed countries) from which healthcare institutions can draw clinical protocols, translate, approve the chief physician’s seal and apply — as is, instead of the so-called “unified treatment protocols” that were previously mandatory in Ukraine. At the same time, we have forbidden the adaptation of protocols, which really meant replacing the right treatment with what a particular hospital could provide based on its stock and equipment.

By allowing doctors to approve international clinical protocols on their own, we have also allowed the most progressive facilities with new management to implement modern treatment plans quickly, and also gave them the legal protection.

Besides, we dealt another blow to corruption — previously, pharmaceutical companies sometimes could influence the creation of the unified protocol, adding drugs they sell to the list. Because of the ignorance, unproven drugs could make it to the list, previously.

The main outtake is we should adapt the system to the needs of the patients, not align the treatment methods and protocols with the capacities of the facility.

Another change that people can experience already is a creation of the cardiac centers network, where the patients with heart attacks will be able to receive help on the highest level. As of now, there are 42 cardiac centers complete with the best-in-line angiographic equipment, within 2-hour driving distance from any place in Ukraine. Worth noting that the state provides stents and supplies for emergency operations, so emergency assistance is provided free of charge. Stents “follow patients”, that is, cardiac centers that perform more surgery receive more stents. In such centers, deaths from heart attacks are three times lower than the national average.

In order to achieve results in the long term we aim to change the corporate culture of the healthcare workers. At the moment, we have three instruments for improving the quality of medical education, taking into account academic and managerial autonomy of universities.

First, we have introduced the minimum threshold for entering medical universities — 150 points at the External Independent Testing (EIT). Besides, from now on you will also need to pass EITs on physics and math in order to enter a medical university. It allows to select applicants who are motivated to learn and have the ability to think logically.

Second, we have created a rigorous external control system that a graduate has to go through to earn a diploma. Yes, together with the KROK exam, the graduate is required to take an English test, an International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM) and a clinical practice exam. These are the four components of the new Unified State Qualification Exam that the 3rd year medical students have passed for the first time this year. This way, we create incentives for universities to improve the quality of teaching — to ensure that their graduates meet international requirements. The international medical exam is formed by a group of experts from different countries of the world, is translated into Ukrainian language abroad and is checked by experts abroad. This way we create a system that makes buying a medical diploma impossible — no one can influence the results of the exam or change them. This is a fair and objective way to test the quality of education. As the modern medical literature needed by the doctor is only available in English, Ukrainian medical students need to be proficient in English and pass this test as a part of the Unified State Qualification Exam.

The third step (this order has already been elaborated by the Ministry of Health) includes changes in the internship system, and especially the introduction of automatic allocation of internship places based on the results of the Unified State Qualification Exam. Today, those who study at the state expense and study well do not have the guarantee of getting to their desired place of work after graduation. Instead, those who have money do not have the incentive to study well because they know they can “buy” a spot for themselves. The automatic system will change this. The best students, regardless of the sources of funding for their education, will find themselves in desirable places. In addition, money for the internships will go not to hospitals, not universities. Therefore, hospitals will be interested in providing their interns a higher quality of education.

The innovation the effects of which the doctors have already felt, and which will work in the future, too, is the abolition of the professional development system, which has remained since Soviet times and was completely fake. Instead, we have implemented a system of continuous professional development: a doctor must score 50 “training” points in a year, which he or she can earn at his or her own discretion — in several days or even through an online course and a certificate. Study courses abroad bring twice as many points.

Starting from 2020, the money will go after the doctor — that is, each doctor will receive a certain amount of money that he or she will be able to spend on their education. So doctors can now choose where and how to upgrade their skills. In doing so, we express confidence in the doctor and motivate him or her to show initiative. The doctor has the right to choose measures of continuous professional development — and the state must support him or her in his or her desire to study. In response to these changes, some medical institutions are now beginning to organize their own training courses.

Ministry of Veterans Affairs: centralization and digitalization

Dmytro Ivakhniuk

Ministry of Veterans Affairs is a central institution of the executive branch of government. Its purpose is providing social protection to the veterans of war, persons with special merit to the Motherland, participants of the Dignity Revolution who were hurt, and members of veterans’ families. The Ministry was created based on the US experience, where the relevant Ministry was created back in 1930.

The Ministry was created on the 29th of November, 2018. It happened a week after the state budget was approved, so the new institution got no funding for 2019. That is why the Ministry was unable to hire employees and consists of five people at the moment: Iryna Friz, the minister, and her state secretary and three vice ministers. Despite this, the Ministry has some achievements already.

The main problem the Ministry has to solve is the inaccessibility of guaranteed social services and benefits for veterans because of their dispersion across institutions. Due to the fact that more than 20 ministries and agencies, as well as local self-government bodies, dealt with social protection issues of ATO participants, there were situations when veterans could not “find the responsible one”, the authorities just rerouted them to other institutions over and over again.

The Ministry is supposed to unite all the services and benefits under one roof, to become an entry point for the veterans, as well as the controlling body for the institutions that provide the said services. All the money allocated to support veterans will be accumulated in the Ministry and will be distributed to veterans through the representatives in regional and district centers.

An electronic E-Veteran system will be implemented to determine the need for services and support. In it, each veteran will be able to create a personal account, indicate what services he has already received and for which he claims, all information will be aggregated in the database and used for cost planning and expenses. A single digital database will finally allow you to count the number of veterans in Ukraine, as currently each department names its own numbers. According to the State Service for War Veterans and ATO Participants, as of January 1, 2019 there were 355,000 veterans of the Russian war in Ukraine. If we add the families of these veterans, the families of the dead, veterans of previous wars, it’s more than a million people. The first steps in the implementation of e-cabinet have already been made, including a roundtable with representatives of IT companies who agreed to help with the development of the system.

When creating the Ministry, it was important to make it open and understandable to veterans. There is a 35-member Public Council at the Ministry of Veterans Affairs. It is an advisory body that oversees the activities of the ministry and conducts public hearings, the results of which prepare proposals for the ministry. Elections to the Public Council were conducted through open internet voting on a platform developed by the NGO Electronic Democracy for the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine in 2015. Voting lasted for 24 hours, any citizen of Ukraine who confirmed his e-mail and mobile number could participate.

In order to ensure greater transparency in the Ministry, the Public Council together with the Ministry has developed and approved a statute according to which representatives of the public council should be members of commissions at the ministry. For example, the budgeting committee consists of 5 people, 2 of whom represent the Public Council.

Taking into account the objective constraints of a non-funded ministry, the Council has assumed additional functions. In particular, she carried out preparatory work on the creation and development of the Ministry’s structure. Expert groups have been set up in the areas. In the future, when the funding is received, the Ministry departments will take over the directions and the produced documentation of these expert groups. They were created after consultation with the Minister and the deputies, and were approved by the Minister. Here is a list of these departments:

  • Expert group on honoring the memory of the fallen and supporting the families of the fallen veterans
  • Status expert group
  • Expert group on social support and services for veterans and their families
  • Expert group on medical, physical rehabilitation and psychosocial adaptation
  • Expert group on national patriotic education and formation of positive image of veterans

Through the Public Council, the ministry is actively cooperating with NGOs, including the Legal Hundred, which provide veterans with free legal aid.

In order to increase the availability of quality services for veterans, it is planned to set up five ministry staff members in each regional and later district center. By the end of the summer, there should have been a competitive selection for these positions. Preference should be given to veterans with disabilities who have specialized knowledge. These five people in the regional administrations have to assume the authority of all ministries, committees and departments for social protection of veterans, families of the dead, the disabled, the wounded. There is now some uncertainty about the division of responsibilities, because if a veteran is not, for example, given medicines that the state is obliged to provide, where should he go — to the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Policy or the Ministry of Defense? There are many similar issues: medical assistance, legal aid, land acquisition, housing queues.

Patriotic education is an important function of the ministry. One of the steps in this direction was discussing the Memorial Day. People from the Memory Institute were also involved in the discussion. One of the ideas is to appoint the day to the date of the Ilovaisk tragedy. But the debate is still ongoing.

Due to the fact that Ukrainians were informed about the creation of the Ministry but not about its limitations, including the lack of staff and funding, many veterans have unjustified expectations for its effectiveness. Although the Ministry’s capacity is frankly low right now, veterans can still take advantage of the its hotline, write a letter of inquiry, and in the most resonant/meaningful/flashy cases, get help from the minister and her deputies. The Public Council provides veterans with information support through its Facebook page.

At the moment the main risk for the Ministry is its possible dismantlement, so both Public Council and the Ministry employees are working in order to save it.

Ministry of Justice: closer to people

Vladislav Vlasyuk

In mid-2014, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the Regulation on the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, which outlined the scope of activity of the Ministry. Based on this Regulation, the Ministry has developed a Strategic Plan for 2019-2022, which states the priorities of the Ministry:

  • Ensuring rule of law and human rights protection;
  • reducing bureaucratic burden on businesses from inefficient procedures, poor quality services;
  • quality rule-making.

In 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a decree on the implementation of the project “I Have a Right!” for 2017-2019. The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the free legal aid system, local justice bodies with the support of legal clinics, international donors and partners. Its purpose is to increase the legal literacy of Ukrainians and to create a new legal culture in society. Over the period of the project, more than 20 campaigns were conducted on the topics of parenting, children’s rights, consumer rights, tax rebates, conduct during enterprise searches, citizens’ rights in Crimea, etc. The Ministry of Justice also organizes events in the regions to implement the program. Over the first half of 2019, more than 5.5 thousand new partners (NGOs, public authorities and local governments) have joined the project, with a total number of more than 27,000, which gives an idea of ​​project coverage.

One of the elements of the «I Have a Right!» project is providing Ukrainians with free legal aid (FLA). The Law on free legal aid was approved back in 2011. Primary legal assistance, which generally means legal information, advice and clarification, is provided free of charge to all citizens of Ukraine in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine. Since January 1, 2013, free secondary legal aid centers have emerged in Ukraine, which protect vulnerable groups. These centers provide the following services: protection, representation of a person in the courts, drafting of procedural documents. Under this system, the Ministry of Justice provides opportunities for citizens belonging to vulnerable categories, including ATO participants, minors, victims of domestic or gender-based violence, to receive free legal assistance at any of 551 points across Ukraine. In general, free secondary assistance centers perform two main functions: the first is a state-guaranteed lawyer for all detainees in criminal and administrative cases, and the second is free legal aid to categories of citizens defined by law.

The Ministry is working  on increasing access to legal services. Ukrainians can now contact the Legal Aid Centers in person by calling the FLA hotline or the Ministry of Justice hotline. Access to legal aid for people with disabilities has increased in 2018 — translators are being employed to work with visitors at the FLA centers. Work is underway to develop access through online tools, including chatbots. From the start of the work to the third quarter of 2018, more than 1 million 360,000 citizens contacted legal aid centers and bureaus, more than 530,000 calls were made to a single contact center, and nearly 460,000 received legal protection. As of 2019, there are 23 regional centers and 84 local secondary legal aid centers and 428 legal aid offices. 6760 lawyers and about 1500 full-time lawyers are involved in the work. The budget for ensuring the formation and functioning of the FLA system in 2019 is UAH 390.5 million; budget for payment of services and reimbursement of attorneys’ fees for the provision of GDP — UAH 337.7 million.

The Ministry has achieved legislative success in combating domestic violence and harassment (bullying). In 2018, the Family Advisors project was launched. There are already 5 offices of Family Counselors working at FLA centers in Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv, Mykolayiv and Rivne. In 2019, Family Advisors will appear in every region of Ukraine. Paralegals or Public Counselors became additional helpers for victims of domestic violence. In 2017, the Law of Ukraine On Prevention and Countering Domestic Violence was adopted and fully implemented in January 2019, and in January 2019 the Law of Ukraine On Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Countering Bullying (Enactment). According to the second law, there are already first precedents — court decisions on the prosecution of offenders and their parents for the revealed facts of bullying.

Another direction the Ministry focuses on is the de-bureaucratization of the administrative service system. In 2017, the first OpenSpace civil registration center in Ukraine was established in Kyiv, collecting the 12 most popular services provided by the city’s civil registration offices. In particular, baby birth registration, filing for marriage, name change, reissue, and more. Citizens can get most services online through the Online Justice House website. This has significantly increased the accessibility and closeness of administrative services to citizens. In 2018, the Ukrainians received access to the service of express registration of marriage “Marriage in a Day”. Now you do not have to wait for a month to get married, you can do it in a day with a minimum package of documents (passport, identification code and certificate of termination of the previous marriage, if any). It is a pilot project operating in 75 locations.

The reform of the state registration system and the function of state registrars working with key real estate registers and the register of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs became useful for business reform in 2014. This function has been delegated to a broader range of people, including those not employed by the state, but related to local authorities. Thus, the number of state registrars has become much larger (up to 8,000 people), and notaries have been given access to state registers. Has this improved your business situation? It has. The queues disappeared, the service became better.

Another major change is the internal reform of the ministry. The Ministry of Justice has succeeded in substantially updating the provision of working conditions for all employees of the central office and regional offices of the Ministry of Justice. In particular, the ministry introduced a new approach to public administration, results-based management, aimed at achieving measurable results. It should ensure effective strategic planning for key Ministry reforms. Among the strengths of the approach are the definition of results in the medium term, consistency in the implementation of priorities and effective coordination of structural units.

As part of the development of the ministry, four policy-making directorates have been formed and have become a way of attracting many high-quality professionals to the ministry:

  • Directorate on human rights, access to justice and legal awareness
  • Directorate on strategic planning and European integration
  • Directorate on legal policy in the field of judiciary and related legal institutions
  • Directorate on administrative policy

In 2018, the Ministry of Justice actively reformed the State Criminal-executive Service and completed the “Passport of the penitentiary system reform in Ukraine” (its development began in 2017). The passport envisages the recruitment of new staff by raising wages and drafting legislation in accordance with European Union norms. The document fundamentally changes the concept of the system, because for the first time since Ukraine’s independence, we say that the purpose and mission of the penitentiary system is rehabilitation and re-socialization, not punishment.

The Ministry is currently in transit. Long-term priorities will be determined by the new minister. If the existing priorities remain, the ministry will continue its work on education, raiding prevention, development of free legal aid, formation of the state executive service.

Ministry of Infrastructure

Volodymyr Omelyan

What were your main goals for your ministry during 2015-2019?

The main goal was to determine the correct trajectory for the development of the transport sector and to accelerate its growth.

We won’t get the effective results if we try to reform each sphere separately, according to its own rules.

That is why we have defined general rules: open market, free competition, professional management, orientation to world trends and gradual transformation of Ukraine into a passenger and freight hub in Eastern Europe. These principles are the cornerstone of the development of the aviation, port, rail, road and postal industries.

I pride myself in the innovation in transport, the development of the electric car market, the introduction of e-services and e-ticket. We started these projects from scratch.

In three years, we managed to turn the principles that initially seemed to be slogans and promises into reality.

The processes that will be decisive for the development of the Ukrainian infrastructure for the next ten years are already moving forward. And I’m personally happy that we were able to both determine the trajectory of development and give it an acceleration.

What did you do to achieve this goal?

We created the mechanisms that will require minimum involvement from the state officials. These mechanisms are both transparent and effective.

We created the National Transport Strategy until the year 2030. Both the Government and our European partners approved it, and I had presented it on various international events. Everything is clear: Ukraine is moving towards infrastructural integration with Europe, putting maximum focus on the international transport corridors; Ukraine is boosting the internal mobility of its citizens;  Ukraine is opening its infrastructure for the companies from all over the world, bravely introducing the public-private partnership, and becomes the center of innovative development in the field of transport and infrastructure.

The National Transport Strategy for 2030 is the Transport Constitution. If everything is done on time and in full, in 10 years Ukraine will have a completely different transport system.

What did we achieve:

  • All the spheres under jurisdiction of the Ministry show 12% to 50% annual growth.
  • We passed ICAO, IMO, EASA international audits successfully. This confirms the compliance of flight safety and navigation in Ukraine with international standards and agreements.
  • The Road Fund was established and is in operation. The road industry has secured funding for the first time. In 2016-2019 more than 10 thousand km of roads were restored. These are 20% of roads that are under the management of Ukravtodor;
  • Over 20 rail routes to the EU have been launched. 30 new General Electric locomotives already in Ukraine are the first arrival of locomotives in Ukrzaliznytsia in the last 10 years.
  • Kyiv Boryspil Express is running. The Beskidsky tunnel was put into operation.
  • The updated Ukrposhta ranked 33rd in the World Postal Union’s ranking among 173 post offices in the world. More than 4,000 offices have been computerized, nearly 600 cars have been purchased to upgrade the fleet, and 174 new offices have been opened. Ukrposhta has become a competitive player in the market.
  • Liberalization of bus transportation. FlixBus low-cost company has entered Ukrainian market.
  • Development of electric transport — 20 Ukrainians switch to electric vehicles every day.
  • Increase by 18% of transshipment of cargo in seaports in the context of military aggression of the Russian Federation, port dues reduced 20%, more than 3.5 billion UAH invested by the administration of seaports in the development of port infrastructure, we began the concession of ports of Olvia and Kherson. The Maritime Administration is established and operational.
  • Inland waterway traffic in the three years increased by 112%. For the first time in 6 years dredging has begun on inland waterways.
  • Digital infrastructure and cybersecurity have become areas for public policy making. The Ministry of Infrastructure is a leader in disseminating open data and creating products for citizens and businesses.
  • We prepared quality legislative framework (almost 20 new laws in the field of infrastructure) along with business, Ukrainian and foreign experts;
  • I take special pride in our aviation. Passenger traffic at Ukrainian airports increased by 100%. 14 new airlines started operating in the Ukrainian market. A SkyUp airline was created. More than 10 regional airports have been restored, runways are being built in Odessa and Dnypro. The share of low-cost flights in the international flights reached 30%. 10 euros per flight to EU countries has become a reality. Ticket prices on the domestic flights now start from 500 UAH.
  • Boryspil International Airport ranked first in the rating of the ACI Europe in terms of passenger traffic growth among airports serving between 10 and 25 million passengers. Passenger traffic through Danylo Halytsky Lviv International Airport increased by 3 times.

What did the shareholders gain as a result of these policies being implemented?

We focus on citizens and businesses that work or plan to work in Ukraine. These are our stakeholders.

If we use this concept in its usual meaning, then we have built an operational system. Yes, it can and should be corrected, but in general it is viable, effective — the results speak for themselves.

I am convinced that success in infrastructure awaits Ukraine if the principles and approaches we have laid down — openness, systemic approach and consistency — will remain effective:

And the key is that the state, together with stakeholders, creates rules for an efficient economy and transparent competition, and controls their compliance, without any interference. Everything else is provided by business and citizens.

The Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services

Hennadiy Zubko

Main goal of the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services

Hennadiy Zubko: If we are going to Europe, then our local self-government and governance must comply directly with European standards.

The first goal we pursue through decentralization reform is to change the country’s management system. It is a transition from the Soviet system to a European democratic system of governance, where at the basic level there are finances, powers, responsibilities and, most importantly, formulation of a development strategy and its implementation.

The second goal is to change the system of administrative and territorial structure. The overarching goal is to make communities at the grassroots level capable, to unite them by population size, wherever possible, and thus to create a grassroots unit that can be delegated. Having formed a baseline, it is necessary to move to the sub-regional level — that is, to transfer the power to the local level.

The third objective is sectoral decentralization, a new quality of service in communities. If we are introducing a new Ukrainian school, there must be a new educational space; new healthcare needs adequate infrastructure, transport, equipment; administrative service centers must become the new face of government; New emergency response system — rescuers, police station and medical help must be concentrated in one place.

Our three main goals are: a new system of governance, a new administrative and territorial structure, sectoral reforms of decentralization. But the ultimate goal is human development. These reforms can also be conducive to the investment climate. Business comes where there is infrastructure, but business will never come where there is infrastructure but no people.

What did the ministry do to achieve these goals? 

Hennadiy Zubko: We have prepared a legislative framework that allowed us to transfer finances to the local level at the end of 2014, and in 2015, we adopted the laws on voluntary community association and the law on inter-municipal cooperation, when communities begin to conclude agreements and speak about joint provision of services. These could be water services, waste management, road maintenance, regional waste disposal centers, and security functions — for example, one community has a rescue station that can provide services to other communities.

The adoption of the Territorial Planning and Financial Decentralization Act (through the budget code) has enabled us to form 924 amalgamated territorial communities and create 1,356 communities more in the future. Today, all have direct financial ties with the central government, receive funds, transfers, but most importantly – they already raise money themselves, they have their own tax base. Also, 33 cities, by law of voluntary affiliation, took adjoining territories and became ATCs. As a result, almost 30-40% of the area is ATCs, 10 million residents live in ATCs, and if we take the combined territorial communities and cities of regional importance, it is already almost 67% of the total population.

It is very important how the amount of funds in local government changed. We started in 2014 with 68 billion own local revenues, and in 2018 we ended up with 234 billion. We already 267 billion, but I think in fact we will reach 290 billion  by the end of the year. These are all local budget revenues.

52% of Ukraine’s total budget is local funds. These are their own revenues and transfers. The state now has less money than the local level. And that is normal, that is what we are going for, that’s the approach of the European country. In 2014, it was only 35%. This can be used as an indicator of a success of the new management system.

In 2014 we transferred our finances, our revenues to the local level, and started to increase state support. This is important because this way we support the state’s priorities — energy efficiency, infrastructure, educational institutions and health care. Local government may not have enough money to build a kindergarten, school, hospital or outpatient clinic. Therefore, here, because of these funds, we also motivate the state program. More importantly, these are co-financing projects and, if we talk about sectoral decentralization, we can make demands. New school demands a new educational space, infrastructure (a playground, auditoriums, training workshops). But the most important thing — these all need to follow the principles of energy efficiency, inclusivity and security.

That is, through t state financial support, we are also introducing new approaches to the educational space, to the centers of administrative services. For example, we have developed the U-Lead project, the VULYK software that allows the ASCs to be linked to other ministries, we have developed requirements for security centers where rescuers and emergency help and police stations can also be located, and we have developed primary healthcare requirements for the outpatient clinics.

We have started the process of combining the features of medicine and rescuers — as the ambulance needs twenty minutes to get to the patient. Currently, local government does not have access to emergency help, and there is also no way to create a rescue station in each community. For example, the Odessa region is very stretched, and there are 12 emergency stations, but each station still has its own units. We want to bring them together with rescuers — they have the same requirements for WHO and safety standards. We have already released the first requirements for such security centers. There is still a great desire to unite them with family doctors, because this is exactly how it works in Germany — the family doctor is assigned not only the territory where his residents have signed the contract with him, but also secured sections of the road. If there is an emergency, he can provide first aid before the arrival of the ambulance. We also have a dream that our aviation will be restored, so that a person from the countryside can be quickly transported to the regional center. This is a great security feature that is needed locally.

What did you really manage to change for the stakeholders?

The main reform stakeholder is an average Ukrainian family. Kindergarten, school, medical and social services — a person must experience a completely different quality of these services. For example, at administrative service centers — its employees should quickly accept the documents and promise that in three days everything would be ready; in the outpatient clinic the patients should receive a consultation without delay, not be sent to the district center.

Other stakeholders are field managers, leaders of new amalgamated territorial communities and their teams. Local leaders are now able to grow as they make their own decisions, plan budgets and programs, and these are the opportunities for social and career growth. I believe that today the young blood of Ukrainian politicians is in local government. They are now working on the front lines and when they come to parliament, they will be effective: they are competent in local government, education, healthcare, attraction of investment, they know how to gain the trust of citizens.

The last stakeholder is business. Small, medium and large local businesses heavily depend on whether local governments are interested in increasing investment and job creation.

Which of your plans remained on paper only?

First of all, we did not have time to adopt amendments to the Constitution — among other things, about the prefects. Unfortunately, the draft law did not reach the second reading. These changes would have guaranteed the establishment of European governance principles in our country. The prefect is unrelated to the funds, but when the law or the rights of citizens are violated, he interferes, involving both law enforcement and all control units. It ensures that local government exercises both its own powers and delegated powers — because it is important to understand that on the one hand, we give local government both the means and the capabilities and the powers, and on the other hand we have specific red lines. This issue is especially raised when inactivity occurs. A striking example is the Lysychansk City Council, which does not allocate water, and the utility cuts off electricity and water supply. They do not break rules, they simply do nothing. Inaction causes the state to intervene. This is why adopting constitutional amendments is important.

What number of prefectures is planned?

Under the Constitution, we have 25 regions and the Republic of Crimea. What is not regulated by the Constitution is the number of districts into which the regions are divided. For example, there are 26 districts in the Zhytomyr region, which are absolutely unnecessary, as a community with a head, a council and a council has already emerged. There are currently 4 districts in Zhytomyr region. And there will be 4 prefects and a regional prefect. But this does not mean that the regional prefect manages the districts. They are all subordinate to Kyiv and have the same powers.

The regional prefect will deal with issues that must remain at the regional level: labor protection, secondary technical education, environmental issues, social protection. In other words, communities will have front offices that will provide services and a back office will be located at the regional level.

I think that their prefects should be appointed by the president, because they will ensure the safety, protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms, compliance with the legislation of Ukraine in local self-government, issues of coordination of security bodies. The next step is to secure the financial resources that we have delegated to the field and to enforce state oversight of the implementation of these principles.

He has a right, for example, to turn to the court if the local self-government makes a decision that contradicts the Constitution or human rights according to the Constitution.

By the way, I can give an example. In France, the prefect cannot work in the territory where he was born or worked for more than 7 years — they rotate every 3 years. This is to ensure that he is independent of local business and makes independent conclusions. We propose to introduce 5 year limit in Ukraine, as well as rotation.

What should your successor do?

First of all, the roadmap we have developed must be completed. 17 draft laws are still in the Parliament — changes to the territorial administration, final separation and consolidation of powers of local self-government and provision of these powers with financial resources, adoption of the law on service in local self-government bodies, on state oversight of the exercise of delegated powers and powers of local self-government. Prefects, too. Also, sectoral decentralization must be continued.

Ministry of Education

Hanna Novosad

What were the main goals of the Ministry of Education?

I worked with two teams, with two ministers. Serhiy Kvit prioritized higher education and the Law on Higher Education, passed in 2014, which became the first major systemic draft law after the Maidan. The first significant changes began in higher education — the introduction of organizational and academic autonomy of higher education institutions. Financial autonomy has been more difficult, and it has not yet taken place.

For Lilia Hrynevych, the priority was school, and her arrival in the ministry was marked by introducing the concept of a new Ukrainian school aimed at reforming school education. In 2017, an Education Law was adopted that made it possible to substantially change the basic principles in school education.

To sum it up, higher education and school were the two priorities two post-Maidan ministers have worked on.

Speaking of the goals of Sergiy Kvit and his team, these were the times after Maidan, after Tabachnyk, and everyone wanted decentralization. Nobody wanted the ministry to decide everything individually — from who gets the state-funded spots in the universities, to who has the curriculum approved. This trend towards decentralization of powers and autonomy was decisive.

The goal was to make universities free, to give them the opportunity to create their own educational policies — but within state standards. It was a big task, and to some extent the team handled it. Unfortunately, in two years they did not have time to reform the funding system. This is one of the tasks that remains on and needs to be addressed.

The main goal of school reform is roughly the same — to allow schools and teachers to be more autonomous, less dependent on ministries, and also regional and district education departments. To empower teachers to work more creatively, and to help local communities and authorities manage the school networks, organize the learning process, and manage the funding.

Educational content is another important pillar of the reform. We have begun to update state education standards, shifting them from a knowledge-oriented approach to a competency approach. Such a standard was adopted on the basis of primary education, now the state standard is being prepared for basic secondary education based on 5th-9th grades, and new educational programs are being developed accordingly.

The biggest challenge we have started working with is teacher training and changing their approach to teaching. This will take more than a tear. Making high-quality content is one thing, but it won’t make much of an impact if there’s no one to teach.

What did you really change for the stakeholders?

Speaking of schools, our main client is a graduate student, a future citizen who needs certain competencies, knowledge and willingness to face various challenges. Children who went to the first grade this year and have started their second grade in September are completely covered by the reform and will have completely different competences and less theoretical knowledge than their predecessors upon leaving high school. So far, the school reform has only covered primary education, and we cannot say that we have reached all the students.

As for parents, who are our stakeholders too, we aim to create a new safe space in school, a place where children will have no reasons to fear. Schools often become traumatic experiences for children, they don’t feel safe there. With the change in teaching approach and the study space parents are less anxious to leave their children at school.

Other stakeholders, again, if we’re speaking of schools, are the teachers. We began the policy of de-bureaucratization for them — less reports, less paperwork, less bureaucracy, more time for professional activity and improving themselves as a teacher. The law also provides for a change in approaches to professional development. The regulatory framework has already been developed, even though the process has not yet started. We are trying to demonopolize the market of advanced education institutions, to remove outdated Postgraduate Education Institutions and to allow teachers in the voucher system to take courses — for example, in Kyiv School of Economics — to obtain normal practical knowledge, to improve in other institutions.

Principals have become less dependent on regional education departments. In general, local authorities have more power and more money to directly manage the school network.

When it comes to higher education, it is much more complicated: the “ultimate beneficiary” is a well-prepared student who enters the labor market and has to quickly use the knowledge and skills he or she gained to reach success.

It is hard to say, whether the quality of education has already become higher, because there are no instruments equipped to determine that.

Outputs are all correct, but we don’t have a full understanding of how they work yet. The same authonomy — when the university is free to develop its own programs, construct the educational process as it sees fit or deems necessary, as the students want or imagine it — this freedom does not stimulate that.  If the university is inert, that’s the loss for its students, too. On the other hand, students were given more powers in self-government, they could influence the organization of the process in higher education, participate in management, elect a rector, have a budget for student self-government. Many student organizations utilize these possibilities.

What are the main results of your work?

First, if we begin from the top, we started the real education reform boosted by the state support and funding. It demanded a lot of political effort on the Minister’s part.

Second, the ministry has lost its all-encompassing management function and delegated authority to those directly involved in the educational process.

Third, the content of education was changed from knowledge-oriented approach to competency approach.

What have you failed to do?

Higher education funding has not changed, the approach to financing has remained, the old system of government procurement has remained and this significantly hinders the development of higher education. Universities do not have the motivation to develop, money is used inefficiently.

We didn’t have enough time to reform the Academy of Sciences — of course, it is not only the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, the Academy is a self-governing organization — there were no decisive steps to reform the institution, which is the main consumer of most of the funds for science. It also seems to me that we had no time to “anchor” the reform of school education. Only elementary school and only two classes — there is a risk that it is not something that will be rolled back, but can slow down the dynamics, there will be no money for the reform. There was not enough resources — both human and monetary — to launch this reform faster.

The further we move the reform, the more investments we need. Reforming elementary school is one thing. But reforming middle school where there are different teachers for separate subjects, who need to be prepared and trained accordingly, and where the study space needs to be reequipped, needs significantly more effort and costs.


The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations

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