Civil Network OPORA has been monitoring the distribution of subventions on social and economic development, allocated from the state budget for a few years in a row. We also wrote about MPs striving to get re-elected into the Parliament using budget funds. In this article we have analyzed how subventions from oblast budgets and the budget of Kyiv are distributed between local councillors to finance the realization of voter requests. 

What is a voter request? 

According to Article 17 of the Law of Ukraine on the Status of Local Council Members, voters can make requests to members of local councils representing them, when there is a meeting dedicated to the needs of the district or the territorial community, or a council member presents a report. Voter requests must be supported by a half of meeting participants. 

Voter requests, which need a council or an executive body to take a decision on it, or require financial or other material expences, are presented by member of local council to the council itself or its bodies. A council analyzes requests and takes decisions on their implementation. 

Voter requests are taken into consideration when developing plans and programs for economic and social development of the corresponding territory, local economic programs, budgets, and making decisions on other issues.

Local council members informs the voters about the results of consideration by the council and its executive bodies, and their personal involvement in the organization of voter requests’ implementation.

In short, voters submit requests to a council member, and he/she shall realize them and provide regular reports. Council members can get budget funds on realization of these requests, if needed.

How it Works

In some oblasts, the realization of voter requests is governed by oblast programs (Zaporizhia, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr oblast councils), sub-programs (Poltava and Ivano-Frankivsk oblast councils), or by special decisions of a council (Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy oblast councils), which budget a certain amount for implementation of voter requests (used in 7 oblasts). However, such programs are not used in other regions.

These programs are usually used to direct the funds on financial assistance; construction, reconstruction and repair of objects in social and cultural sector; strengthening of the material and technical base of state institutions and improvement of territories. These funds are allocated to local budgets as a subvention from an oblast budget.

There is a program in Kyiv oblast, which allows council members to provide only material assistance to the voters using oblast budget funds. 

Now, everything in detail

Let's start with subventions.

The procedure used for their distribution is very similar  in all cases. However, there are some differences.

Council members submit petitions to the head of oblast council with proposals for allocation of funds, indicating how they are going to be used. Petitions shall be submitted together with applications from heads of local self-government bodies, local executive bodies, institutions, establishments etc, indicating financing targets, recipients, and amounts. Such procedure is effective in Zaporizhia, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Sumy and Chernihiv oblast councils. 

In other cases, for example in Poltava Oblast Council, such proposals shall be submitted by rayon administrations, executive committees of local self-government bodies, and main managers of oblast budget. These proposals must be agreed with members of oblast council.

Dnipropetrovsk oblast has a somewhat different approach. Subvention is distributed in proportion to the total number of councillors or based on submissions from factions. It is used based on proposals of oblast council members. A councillor, representing a certain city, raion or UTC, decides on the use of subvention funds, and submits a properly written proposition, containing functional and economic classification codes of expenses to the corresponding local council.

What happens next

Apparatus of oblast council apparatus summarises proposals. Then, they are submitted to an oblast state administration and to the standing committee of oblast council on the matters of budget. These institutions prepare their conclusions and recommendations. Based on these conclusions, the executive apparatus of oblast council prepares draft decisions on program changes, and oblast administration - draft decision on the corresponding budget changes for the current year. Councillors then vote on the adoption of the corresponding decision. Oblast budget funds are directed to local budgets in a form of subventions. 

What numbers are we talking about?

Dnipropetrovsk oblast has the biggest amount budgeted for realization of voter requests in 2019 - UAH 90 million. Poltava is on the second place with UAH 85 million budgeted. The third place is taken by Zaporizhia oblast council, which had budgeted almost UAH 59 million for 2019. 

As for the average amount per councillor, Poltava oblast is on the first (with just over UAH 1 million). Dnipropetrovsk oblast is on the second place (UAH 750 thousand), the third place is taken by Zaporizhia (almost UAH 700 thousand).

 

#

Local self-government body

Total number of council members

Program name

Allocated in 2019 (UAH)

Average amount per councillor (UAH)

1

Kyiv City Council

120

Solution program from members of Kyiv City Council

social and economic problems, realization of electoral

programs and voter requests for 2016 - 2019

128286900 

1069057

2

Dnipropetrovsk oblast Council

120

Subvention from oblast budget to budgets of cities,

raions and united territorial communities for implementation

of voter requests by members of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Council

90000000

750000

3

Poltava Oblast Council

84

Territorial Development Fund under the

local self-government development program

in Poltava oblast for 2018-2020

85000000

1011905

4

Zaporizhia Oblast Council

84

Assistance program for realization of representative functions by

members of Zaporizhia Oblast Council

58646507

698173

5

Chernihiv Oblast Council

64

Assistance program for realization of representative functions by

members of Chernihiv Oblast Council for 2019-2020

19500000

304688

6

Sumy Oblast Council

64

On some issues of using oblast budget funds

when realising representative functions by members of

Sumy Oblast Council in 2019

12800000

200,000

7

Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast Council

84

Local self-government development program

(subprogram “Oblast Council Fund for realization of representative functions by councillors”) for 2016-2020.

7560000

90,000

8

Zhytomyr Oblast Council

64

Assistance program for activities of councillors,

 competitions and awards from oblast council in 2019

7200000 (under the program for these activities)

112500

9

Kyiv Oblast Council

84

Regional Targeted Program "Turbota" for 2016-2020

46034800

548033

About financial assistance

Kiev oblast has the Regional Targeted Program "Turbota"  for 2016-2020. This program allows members of oblast council to provide voters with financial assistance using oblast budget funds. It does not provide funds for the realization of voter requests by councillors, it provide only financial assistance. Oblast budget had a little over UAH 99 million for the realization of program, and a little more than UAH 46 million for 2019 in particular. 

Financial assistance is also provided by all mentioned programs, except for a current program in Zaporizhia Oblast Council. 

At the same time, some programs do not set a fixed amount which councillors can spend on financial assistance to voters, while such amount is clearly regulated in other programs. 

What about in Kyiv

The capital also has a program, which regulates the allocation of funds for the realization of voter requests. Its main purpose is to help members of Kyiv City Council to solve social and economic problems, and realise their election programs and voter requests for 2016-2020. 

The program budget totals a bit over UAH 557 billion, and UAH 128 million for 2019 in Kyiv in particular (just over UAH 1 million per councillor). 

The list of objects subject to financing under the program is quite large: starting with financial assistance to socially disadvantaged population groups and ending with repairs and construction aimed at housing reconstruction, improvement, improvement of material and technical facilities and premises of budget institutions of social and cultural sector in the city, etc.

What about procedures

Kyiv City Council is the main manager of funds. Non-governmental and charitable organizations, as well as charitable foundations that perform public reception functions of Kyiv City Council members, are recipients of budget funds. 

Budget financing is received by 120 public receptions (one public reception for each member of Kyiv City Council).

Funds on the realization of functions or provision of services are allocated based on appeals from members of Kyiv City Council to the Deputy Mayor - the Secretary of Kyiv City Council.

Each appeal shall be submitted with a letter from physical or legal entity addressed to a member of Kyib City Council, and documents that substantiate why this issue need to be solved, in particular:

  • directions of use of funds;
  • a legal entity to which they are to be allocated (full legal name);
  • amount of financing;
  • documentation that confirms the need for works or services.

Financial assistance is provided through public reception facilities or through a post office transfer based on an application from stakeholders.

Examples of PR

On 9 January 2019, the "VOLIA" Party published a piece of information with the headline "With the assistance of council member Oleh Atamanyuk from the "VOLIA" Party, schools in Kosiv raion received for their development around UAH 700 thousand from the oblast budget  in 2018 ." In particular, the material informs that a school in Sheshory (Ivano-Frankivsk oblast) received an interactive board and multimedia projector, a school in Pistyn bought 7 PCs and a notebook with oblast budget funds, and a school in Mykytyntsi installed a gym and bought sports equipment.

Member of Sumy Oblast Council Yurii Klymenko mentioned in his report for 2019 that he assisted in installation of a fence on Kateryna Zelenko street, as the parents of schoolchildren asked, to prevent kids crossing the road in dangerous places. As for the reports of Kyiv City Council members, they also contain detailed lists of objects they helped to attract financing to when realising voter requests. 

Internet portal "Berdychivskyi Pohliad" published information that oblast council member Oleh Pasichnyk from the Samopomich Union directed UAH 490 thousand to asphalt the Internatsionalistiv street in the city of Berdychiv in 2018.

Distribution of subventions from the state budget vs subventions from oblast budgets

The distribution of subventions from oblast budget has a number of positive moments compared to the distribution of subventions on social and economic development:

  1. The procedure of funds allocation is more regulated.
  2. The funds are distributed proportionally and evenly between all the councillors and, respectively, between the constituencies they represent.

What about drawbacks?

  1. The distribution of subventions is realized “manually”. We don't know for sure, if the voters really submit requests to members of oblast councils, according to the law on the status of local council members, or they decide themselves, which objects need to be financed.
  2. Councillors are not required to submit information proving that financing for an object is provided to realise voter requests. 
  3. Funds, allocated for the realization of voter requests, can be used by councillors for campaigning or promotion purposes, to get reelected to the corresponding local self-government body. 
  4. Some voters receive financial assistance on behalf of a councillor, at the expense of funds, allocated for the realization of voter requests. This is especially dangerous in before and during local elections, when such practices may be seen as a misuse of budgetary administrative resources or may have features of voter bribery. 

Conclusion

Although the right on realization of vote requests is provided by the law, it would be reasonable to refuse it in the future and hold public consultations, allowing citizens and stakeholders to participate in the formation of local policies and decision-making. In particular, public consultations can help to determine which local infrastructure objects need to be financed, and how they can be improved to give the community maximum benefits.  

For comment, please contact: 

Anatolii Bondarchuk, OPORA's Analyst
Andriy Savchuk, Data Analyst at OPORA

info@opora.org.ua
044 591 44 44