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Salus populi suprema lex . Marcus Tullius Cicero

Public participation in formation and realization of state policy
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 10:51
public participation

Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights envisages that everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country. Article 38 of the Constitution of Ukraine envisages that everyone has the right to participate in public affairs.

In order to implement the constitutional right of citizens to participate in public affairs legal mechanisms and norms are developed.

On November 03, 2010 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted the Resolution № 996 “On the public participation in the formulation and realization of state policy”, which approved the Regulation for public consultation during the formation and realization of state policy (Regulation) and the Model (Typical) Regulations on the public councils to governmental authorities.

Public Consultations

Under provisions of the Resolution № 996, one of the form of public participation in formulation and realization of state policy is public consultations.

The goals of these consultations is to involve citizens’ participation in public affairs, enable them to free access to information about the activities of executive bodies, ensure openness and transparency of these bodies.

According to art.3 of the Regulation public consultations take place on the following issues:

- Social and economic development of the state.

- Implementation and protection of rights and freedoms of citizens.

- Political, economic, social, cultural and other interests.

Public consultations take place in obligatory order on the following issues: (art.12 of the Regulation):

- Drafts of the legal acts that have social significance, which are related to the constitutional rights, liberties, interests and responsibilities of citizens, as well as acts, which provide privileges or restrictions for businesses and civil society, and are related to implementation of local authority.

- Draft of the regulations.

- Projects of national and regional programs of economic, social and cultural development, decisions on their implementation.

- Reports about money (funds) spending.

Public Consultations are organized and conducted by executive body, which is the main developer of the legal draft act.

Public consultation plans

Executive bodies have a duty to prepare the annual tentative plan for public consultation (art.6 of the Regulation) taking into account the main tasks defined in the program documents and plans.

These plans should be approved before the beginning of the year, published on the official websites of the executive body or made publicly available in another acceptable way.

Civil society can initiate public consultations on the issues which are not included in the plan, by preparing suggestions to public councils or directly to executive bodies. If such proposal is received from at least three civil society institutions consultations, should be conducted in obligatory order.

Public consultations

Public consultations are conducted in the following forms:

- Public discussions;

- Public opinion research.

Public discussions can be organized in the following forms:

- conferences, forums, public hearings, roundtables, meetings, public meetings;

- TV and radio debates, Web conferences, electronic consultations.

Public discussion begins with the publication of notification about the meeting, the period, determined by executive authority which shall be not less than a month.

Governmental website “Civil society and government” and official websites of the executive bodies are used for carrying public discussions in the form of electronic consultation.

The public can submit their suggestions and comments both orally and in written form, send them by email to the responsible person, to the governmental website “Civil society and government” and the official website of the executive body.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine envisaged in this Regulation a duty of executive bodies to publish (make publicly available) public proposals and comments received within public discussion procedure on the governmental website “Civil society and government” and on official web sites of the executive bodies within five working days after their receipt.

As a result of public discussions executive bodies have an obligation to prepare reports that, among other things, include: information on the public proposals received by the executive body, consideration of proposals and comments from the public, decision on taking them into account or rejecting, providing grounds and reasons for the rejection. (art.20 of the Regulation).

Results of public discussions should be made publicly available on the website of executive body and in other appropriate way not later than two weeks after their completion.

It should be noted that The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine does not specify or define any procedure for consideration of public proposals and the basic criteria for taking into account or rejection of public opinion. It is important to foresee special procedures to avoid the situation when reasons for rejection of public opinion depend on the position of a single person, responsible for public consultation process. It is important to envisage responsibility of the governmental body as well as personal responsibility for carrying public consultations procedures by the law. Breaking material and procedural rules in this sphere should result in nullifying of specific legal acts by the court or superior body which has to be also envisaged by law.

 

Prepared by Andriy Petriv 

Member of Council of EACLA