After the events of 2013-14 in Ukraine, the list of tools and the degree of influence of business and the public on the processes of development of legal and regulatory acts and decision-making by the authorities has significantly increased. Today, these tools include:
- formal (provided by law) mechanisms of public consultation on public policy and draft legal acts drafted by executive authorities and the parliament; and
- informal platforms (discussion platforms that operate on a regular basis under business and industry associations, expert platforms, etc).
The mechanism of public consultation on state policy and draft legal acts
Consultations on policy and draft acts developed by the executive authorities
According to the CMU Resolution on Approval of the Procedure for Involving Citizens in the Development and Implementation of State Policies, consultations with the public are mandatory for drafts of: legal acts that have great social significance and are related to the rights and obligations of citizens, as well as acts that provide for privileges, benefits to certain categories of economic entities and delegation of powers of executive bodies or local self-government bodies; regulatory acts; and state and regional programmes of economic, social and cultural development and decisions on the status of their implementation.
The organisation and conducting of consultations with the public is initiated by an executive body, which prepares proposals for the implementation of state policy in the relevant field, or is the main developer of the draft legal or regulatory act.
Public consultation should last for at least one month, and will be conducted in the form of:
- public discussion (direct form) - conferences, public hearings, roundtables, meetings, meetings with the public, public reception rooms, all forms of debate and discussions; or
- study of public opinion (indirect form) - conducting sociological research, analysis of media materials to determine the position of various social groups, analysis of comments and suggestions expressed in the appeals of citizens.
The public website ‘Civil Society and Government’ (http://civic.kmu.gov.ua/consult_mvc_kmu/news/article) and the websites of executive authorities are used for public consultation in the form of electronic consultations.
For coordination of public consultations and monitoring of consideration of public opinion, the permanent collegial elected consultative and advisory bodies - public councils - work under the executive bodies. They consist of public officials, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and industry associations, experts, etc.
The results of the consultations shall be summarised and taken into account in the development of relevant policies and regulations, but they are not legally binding.
According to the Law on the Principles of State Regulatory Policy in the Field of Economic Activity, each draft regulatory act with an appropriate analysis of regulatory influence should be made public with the aim of obtaining comments and suggestions from individuals and legal entities and their associations.
Consultations regarding the draft acts developed by the Rada
The Rada’s procedural regulation determines the following forms of public consultation: parliamentary and committee hearings; and functioning of working groups under Rada’s committees.
Parliamentary hearings are held with the aim of studying issues of internal and foreign policy of the state, which are of public interest and require legislative regulation. Proposals for holding parliamentary hearings shall be submitted to the Rada by subjects, who are empowered with a right of legislative initiative.
Representatives of relevant executive bodies, leading specialists in a particular field, representatives of NGOs, business, etc, can be invited to participate in the hearings.
As a result of hearings, the Rada shall adopt resolution approving recommendations that should be taken into account by public authorities, enterprises, institutions and organisations irrespective of subordination and forms of ownership.
Committee hearings concern a narrower range of issues than parliamentary hearings - they can discuss specific issues and draft decisions. Representatives of the public, the expert community and business are more actively invited to participate in the committee hearings, which provides them with additional means of influence.
In order to harmonise the provisions of specific draft regulations, working groups can be set up under the Rada’s committees, which may include various stakeholders (the public, businesses, experts, etc).
A number of influential platforms function on a permanent basis that were created by business or expert communities, which are places for open discussion of certain draft legal acts with decision makers or other stakeholders. The official positions of these platforms with respect to various regulatory issues is an important factor in influencing the position of the state, as they represent a concentrated and consistent expression of the position of business, experts and opinion leaders.
These platforms include the American Chamber of Commerce, the European Business Association and the Reanimation Package of Reforms, which is an expert initiative.
In addition, in advocacy, the role of industry associations, which represent individual segments of production and service sectors, has grown significantly lately. The state is increasingly bringing industry associations into the discussion of relevant draft decisions.
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