System of transparency in local government in conjunction with the accountability to citizens enhances responsible behavior of the authorities in the regions. Therefore, the evaluation of different indicators, which are the basis of the transparency of local authorities is important both for the public and the regional business sector to the public. These indicators in Slovakia became very positive because of the improved management in municipalities. Slovakia experience shows that the system works, say to s "Apostrophe" the Director of the Institute for economic and social reforms INEKO, Slovak Republic, Peter Golas.
If you provide such detailed information on the transparent work of local authorities to the people for consideration (ratings of transparency of municipalities), it should be really clear and user-oriented. When people understand this information, then they are interested in studying, they also want to express their opinion. And we have an example from our experience in Slovakia, where we have introduced regional ratings. Once we have published this ranking, and indeed, soon the behavior of the municipality started to improve. For example we have published the financial transparency indicators in 2010, and then the municipality started to look for management that really cares and handles the finances of the municipality.
We also have this experience that when these figures were published, the regional authorities began to monitor expenses more closely. It only encourages improvement of the services for citizens. The same situation with the indicators of transparency in the regions. Once we began to monitor the transparency of local governments and that created a platform for positive change among municipalities, and created competition between them, and it contributed to the best performance, improved the transparency, and therefore, influenced the ratings. Competition is one more important thing. Since we published the rating of competitiveness of regions, we provide the best information for investors. So they study the best investment opportunities in the regions. And the most important thing about this is the raise of living standards for ordinary citizens.
In Ukraine there is the problem of public control of local governments. And there is no sufficient official control from the Central government. This relationship has not been established due to the spectrum overlap, or simply because they there was no time for it. It is therefore very important to develop information tools, collecting and publishing indicators. This gives the public some power, as it begins to understand what is really going on in the municipalities. If you have such control on the ground, you reduce the risks, and you will also learn about the responsibility of management in emergency situations, such as you had with the bridge in Kyiv. The worst situation is when nothing is being done. And then suddenly you learn that you have a collapsed bridge in the city, problems with traffic began. And this situation is not resolved easily. It is much better when you provide information regularly in the database, and people know what is happening, what processes are taking place in their town now, and they can control it, not only when experiencing an emergency. What we need to know more about Ukrainian regions are their differences, weaknesses, from the point of view of potential areas for investment.
We learned that infrastructure is one of the weaknesses of the whole country, and the situation with the transport infrastructure is especially difficult. There is a problem in another area – education. And there's also different level of development of the industry in Ukrainian regions. For example, well-developed f industry in Eastern Ukraine, but in other regions it is much lower. It is important to assess multiple indicators, and concentrate on this analysis to propose a strategy to improve the situation in each specific region. It is also important for the citizens to have serious and credible information. If the information provided to the citizens is confusing or not user friendly, then nothing will be solved. The most important thing is the reliability of information that is easy to understand and to compare, then it will only be a service to local authorities. We offer several sites where you could obtain such information.
The publication of the information is also very useful, as well as the video of the inhabitants of the regions on the website - they sympathize more, and they become involved. For instance, the residents of the village published some video, and the people of this one did not. That’s how they become more involved in the process of monitoring of the performance of municipalities and its transparency. The preparation of the report, analysis for each region will be our first steps in Ukraine: the weak and strong sides, weaknesses, and recommendations. It is main thing for the preparation of the strategy for the regions. We would be happy if the authorities were also involved in this process and would use in the future the base recommendations in the regions. We intend to do this projects in Ukraine during one year and we plan to create a portal, see how to the situation change will in a year. For us it was a reward to see that you are running a competition between regions, and it influenced the improved ranking, it would also help to introduce the necessary measures, having improved the transparency and management of the municipalities. Therefore, we create two teams of activists to work with the municipalities for the implementation of indicators for the best rating.