On the 8th of February public debate on new version of law of Ukraine “On social services” took place in the Ministry of Social Policy. It is a significant step in reform of social services delivery system in Ukraine. Caritas Ukraine is actively involved in the process.
The debate on new version of law of Ukraine was initiated by Department of social services of Ministry of Social Policy, Coordination and expert council on social policy in Center of advanced social research of Ministry of Social Policy (MSP) and National academy of sciences (NAS) of Ukraine, Subcommittee on reform of social services of Committee on forming state policy in sphere of social services delivery to seniors, disabled individuals, homeless citizens and other vulnerable population categories of Civil Council in MSP. Over 30 representatives of non-governmental and international organization, international projects participated in public debates; Caritas Ukraine was among them.
There is much discussion on reform of social services delivery system in Ukraine, however, yet, there is no complex and consistent approach for solving of strategic issues of further social development of the country. Caritas Ukraine actively joined this process in 2012: firstly, we carried an integrated analysis of medical, social and legal fields of activity; afterwards, we got involved in process of changing and enhancement of national social services delivery system for vulnerable population categories.
In “Strategy on combating poverty” that was adopted by President of Ukraine decree on August 15, 2001, the leading fields of reform were stated:
1. Intensification of target orientation of state social assistance;
2. Certain fringe benefits to population should be replaced for social services;
3. Transition from budgetary financing of relevant state establishments to program financial support on competitive basis of civic organizations that will provide such services;
4. Handover of responsibilities on planning, financing and organization of social services delivery to bodies of local governance.
These four points are essential for transformation of post-Soviet social care that still exists in Ukraine in modern system of social services delivery. In 2003 Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the law of Ukraine “On social services” that became basic for implementation of objectives on development of social services delivery system, though none of these four points was executed and sphere of social security lags behind the realities of Ukrainian society for some dozens of years.
Among existing problems in the sphere of social services delivery, first of all, it is worth to mention an underdeveloped legislative basis that regulates range of issues in this sphere. There are also: insufficient quality and efficiency of services; social injustice; low level of services’ target orientation; high administrative expenditures; lack of transparency; actual absence of standards system; imbalance of budget establishments network in sphere of social services delivery and its powers; multilevel hierarchy of budget establishments network; lack of financial support to institutions in sphere of social services delivery; low efficiency of financing mechanism in accordance with finance plan that isn’t related to the results of budget establishment activity in sphere of social services delivery; absence of legal regulation of administration activity in budgetary establishment on management of revenues from entrepreneurial activity that leads to ineffective use of this money; limitations of rights of social services client on choosing the service provider etc.
“Concept on reforms of social services system” was adopted in 2007; it foresaw implementation of four main objectives. “Concept on reforming of social services system wasn’t implemented to the full extent because of absence of legislative regulation of various issues, in particular, forming social procurement, designation of needs of administrative and territorial unit in social services, their types and quantity; planning and delivery of social services taking in consideration defined needs and implementation of standardization of named services” it was stated in “Strategy on reforms of social services delivery system” from August 8, 2012, № 556-р, adopted by Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine that also called off the Concept.
Reform of social services delivery is still going on. In 2012-2013 Ministry of Social Policy adopted range of regulatory acts that favor reducing state involvement and raise the efficiency of social services; there is an on-going discussion on implementation of social procurement and wide involvement of non-governmental organizations as social services providers.
In their speeches during public debate on new version of law of Ukraine “On social services” on February 8 participants pointed out that multidivisional system of state and communal establishments and facilities acts in sphere of social services delivery (Centers of social services for families, children and youth, Territorial centers of social services and their activities are regulated by two laws: “On social work with families, children and youth” and “On social services”. An important objective of the reform is to unify these two laws, but the most important task is to secure this reform on regulatory level, notably:
– securing equality of all social services providers, regardless their form of ownership;
– securing interests of social services recipients;
– active involvement of representatives of social services recipients and non-governmental providers in process of defining needs, evaluation of quality and monitoring of social services delivery.
“New version of law “On social services” will be targeted at reform of social sphere and will take in consideration the best achievements of current legislation. In the course of draft law elaboration Caritas Ukraine and other non-governmental and international organizations were involved, therefore, new version includes proposals and the best experience of efficient social services providers and real needs of recipients,” notes Dzvenyslava Chaykivska, head of Caritas Ukraine lobbying group.
Members of public debate on new version of law of Ukraine “On social services” supported efforts of Ministry of Social Policy on reform of social services delivery system and involvement of non-governmental providers of social services and communities of recipients in defining needs, evaluation of quality and delivery of social services. Working session of Coordination and expert council on social policy in Center of advanced social research of Ministry of Social Policy (MSP) and National academy of sciences (NAS) of Ukraine was planned for February 12 in order to include proposals presented during public debate on February 8. Afterwards, the bill will be passed to Department of social services of Ministry of Social Policy.