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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 13 2013: I just really dont think "Governments" are the solution federally or locally. I Live in Chicago which, as far as local governments go, is the most corrupt in America. A good government is much like a good economy in that it works the best when people have both freedom and faith in the system. I dont know Ukraines deal but if there isnt a level of legitimacy in your government there is no hope. As corrupt as politics is here In Illinois, at least 4 of the last 7 governors have been indicted and two are in prison. I say that because it re enforces the notion that nobodys above the law. When people feel like the governments untouchable they become disillusioned. Media and organizations a good way to spark change.
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      Apr 15 2013: Hi, Keith, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think governments are our reality, so we just have to find the best way to deal with them. If we doubt their legitimacy, the only thing we can do is to permanently monitor and control them. We are going to use the civil society organisations for this purpose. And we'll definitely involve media, sure. Hopefully, we'll be able to demonstrate the change.

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