Archive for April 2nd, 2012


Reforming the administration – A NGO invitation

April 2, 2012

Well, like him or not, and as a character I am not overly fond, but as an administrator he is very good, Prime Minister Azarov is certainly talking the right talk.  Obviously there is an election coming up and the talk is of course partially aimed at influencing voters and those in-State actors who can influence voters as well.  We should expect nothing less.  All sitting governments up for reelection do the same thing.

Anyway, Mr Azarov has issued an appeal to NGOs in Ukraine to assist the government in ridding itself of unnecessary administrative organs.

As he rightly states, “This work is not because we want less work, but because many administrative services are completely unnecessary.”  Quite true but only half the issue.  Not only is much of it unnecessary, but a lot of it that can be justified is overly complex and never situated in the same place, requiring different documents in a certain order, stamped and signed in a tour–de–bureoucratic organs before returning to your first port of administrative call, for them to conclude the most simple of official documentation matters.

Much of it is simply repetitive when production of document “A” would prove your have already have/done 99% of what is required for the production of document “B”.  Why repeat the entire process again?

Far too many administrative State organs have a requirement to be in the mix for simple document production  when there is no real justification for them to be part of the process at all.

I am quite sure an academic/NGO study of the Ukrainian administrative model could shrink it by a further 20% over and above any shrinkage already carried out by the government.

Cynically I am also quite sure the government are quite aware of this but want to involve NGOs and civil society in the run up to an election in an effort to get them “on-side” as much as possible.  After all, there are numerous neighbouring States that have made the administrative transition from USSR bureaucracy to a more modern administrative system who would be only too pleased to share their experiences with Ukraine.

If it were not an election year, you would suspect that tax-payer funded jollies to these nations to investigate their new administrative systems would have been the preferred governmental methodology.

However, it is an election year, the invitation has been made and any NGO worth the title will actively engage with the government given such an open invitation.  A foot in the door and collaboration over this makes it easier to gain access through the same door when pushing other issues the government is not so willing to action.

Let us hope it is an opportunity not only seized by the civil society active in Ukraine, but also the diplomatic missions of those nations with embassies and consulates here as well.  Who better to give advice over bureaucracy in other nations and their systems than the bureaucrats from other nations?

Mr Hague, FCO, UK Ambassador to Ukraine and boiler room staff in Kyiv, you all hail from possibly the oldest established civil service in Europe if not on the planet.  Choose a subject, for example tax and tax administration, and promote our experience and systems to the government of Ukraine.  As much as I dislike paying tax as the next person, our UK system is far easier to cope with than that of Ukraine as a tax payer.  I have experience of both.

This must be a golden opportunity to get very friendly with the current Ukrainian government if the UK government chooses to take it.

Go on FCO – I dare you to make a positive difference to every Ukrainian by showing the current Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers a better, more streamlined and efficient way in an administrative area of your choice.

Gauntlet publicly thrown down Mr Hague and chums!

(As an aside, Valeriy Khoroshkovskyi, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine is in the interrogation seat at Chatham House tonight (1730 – 1830 BST) for a grilling on Ukrainian foreign policy by my esteemed and astute fellow Chatham House members.  If he says anything unexpected I’ll let you know over the course of the next few days.)

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