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Olena Ursu

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Local governments provide better services when they engage citizens in co-designing and improving the service

Fullly agree with Beth Noveck: transparency of the Government itself does not change anything and does not solve the local problems without combining it with the next step - meaningful citizens' participation and collaboration for the chage.

In Ukraine where I'm from 54% of citizens are fully or mostly unsatisfied with the quality of administrative service provision. Reasons include complexity of the administrative procedures; lack of proper information from the authorities; lengthy terms of service provision; uncomfortable work schedules of the administrative bodies; and many others. But can citizens influence this situation?

Effective mechanisms of raising citizens’ concerns to provide their feedback to the local authorities and, most importantly, to make sure that this feedback is translated into the real actions to improve the quality of service provision, are still lacking.

One of the models which was experimented in L'viv municipality is a "Secret Client" model within which the organised groups of volunteers attend the administrative bodies to get some service and then report to the municipality through the active local CSO with their recommendations for improving the quality of this service.

There is also a number social innovation projects helping to engage citizens for constructive monitoring and oversight on administrative service provision in the couontry.

Our idea is to collect the most efficient models of engaging citizens by the local governments for the sake of improvement of the administrative services they provide.

We are sure that the TED community accumulated rich knowledge on the topic, which you could help us to reach. Please tell us about all experiences which you may recommend as a smart practice of public oversight on administrative service provision, be it Web 2.0 based initiatives or real-life exercises accomplished in your countries. We will be sincerely grateful for all thoughts and ideas you share with us.

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  • Apr 1 2013: Olena, in essence, you would be taking away the power and control from the administrators. Don't the administrators get kickbacks or bribes, to arrange details that would benefit some more than others? That's what happens here. If gov use intelligent actions in one place, the general public might demand the gov use those same actions everywhere. It takes oversight to bring about what is best. People in power won't allow that. You have a good idea.
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      Apr 1 2013: Thank you very much for your support, Jim, it's really important for us as the project team at this stage. In our Ukrainian public administration system local governments are responsible for the administrative service provision to citizens not only in part of their own responsibilities as defined by legislation, but also in part of the state responsibilities delegated by the central government. So actually all the interaction with the citizens takes place through the local governments. With the help of public oversight we hope to improve the administrative service provision to the citizens of at least 15 Ukrainian municipalities. Thanks for your contribution!
      • Apr 1 2013: Interesting Olena. I hope it works great. It would be the first time gov limits its own power. The problem is, the top gov will be limiting local governments power and in so doing, local governments will want to help to limit the top officials in return. That would be great. It will be interesting to see how far it goes. Please keep me informed if you can and thank you. I love it!

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