The most advanced yet Public Service Center has opened in Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv, currently providing over 400 administrative and social services through the one-stop-shop concept that has previously proven successful in Odessa and Mariupol. A further 50 services will be added over the coming months.
The Center is the first to operate as a regional structure and will be available to the entire population of 2.7 million in the Kharkiv region, as well as other citizens of Ukraine.
Sales manager Anna came for three different services: to obtain a birth certificate for her child, to register her address and to request child subsidy. “I immediately received a ticket and spent 15 minutes in line,” she said. “Then I spent about 10-15 minutes consulting with the administrator. It was fast and high quality. They responded to all my questions.”
|President Poroshenko opens the Kharkiv Public Service Center|
This latest opening is the result of 18 months of development and construction that IDLO has supported alongside the Kharkiv Regional State Administration, the Kharkiv City Administration, and USAID through the Ukraine Confidence Building Initiative. IDLO developed the advanced concept for the Kharkiv Center and assisted with legal support, technical guidance and training. With capacity to receive 2,000 visitors per day, the Kharkiv Center is almost twice as large as the other two.
“You will no longer have to walk around in circles; here, you will be able to receive more than 450 services in one place. Without long queues, many customer-friendly services will be provided, including biometric passports. Not only residents of Kharkiv but citizens from any corner of Ukraine will be able to register, go through the relevant procedures and obtain a biometric passport of a citizen of Ukraine,” said Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Biometric passports – key to the introduction of unified biometric controls on Ukraine’s borders with the EU as of 2018, which are expected to improve Ukraine’s counterterrorism capabilities – are just one of many services provided by the Center in Kharkiv. Citizens are able to launch companies, transfer real estate ownership, request birth and death certificates, obtain national ID cards, get permits and licences, and register marriages. They can even access social services, such as pensions, subsidies and financial aid.
Retiree Victor came to the Center to apply for a recalculation of his pension. “It was fast,” he commented. “Employees know how to perform their jobs. I was called, consulted and my problem was resolved quickly.”
|Citizens can receive over 400 public services in the same place|
The Public Service Centers are emblematic of Ukraine’s decentralization process, an initiative launched by the government in the aftermath of the 2013-2014 Maidan revolution to reduce state control in Kyiv and increase powers at the regional level.
Gradually, local governments are being granted financial independence to determine their own budgets in accordance with local priorities. The concept of the Public Service Centers is of significant interest to them, given that public services are one of the most important forms of interaction between citizens and state institutions, and oftentimes shape citizens’ perception of state efficiency. Delivering corruption-free public services quickly and conveniently is key to convincing Ukraine’s citizens that positive change, affecting ordinary people, is taking place in their county.
“I was passing by and decided to come in and ask for the photo to be replaced in my national ID. I waited for five minutes. Everything was done quickly, nicely and politely. I wish there were more Centers like this one,” commented Oleg, a 45-year old engineer after his first visit to the Center.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the United States Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, praised the Kharkiv Center as symbol of effective collaboration: “This Center is a great example of success that can be achieved when public institutions on the national, regional and local levels cooperate and follow common goals such as improving service quality and eradicating corruption.”
IDLO has been working in Ukraine since 2015 to contribute to the country’s sustainable development and the return of confidence in public administration, justice and the rule of law by enhancing the capacity and integrity of institutions. IDLO’s program ‘Supporting Criminal Justice Reform in Ukraine’ is supported by the United States Department of State.
Photo credit: IDLO