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Munk Centre

Mykhaylo Svirin
(Academy of Public Administration, Odesa, Ukraine)

"Transparency and Openness of Public service in Ukraine"

Mykhaylo Svirin of the Academy of Public Administration of Ukraine (Odessa branch) was the first Visiting Scholar of the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine. During his stay at CREES in September, Dr. Svirin conducted research on procedures and legal regulations governing public access to information in Canada. On September 19, he gave a presentation on "Transparency and Openness of Public Administration in Ukraine," in which he spoke about the strong and weak sides of existing Ukrainian legislation in this field. He noted that by adopting several major laws on access to information, the Ukrainian Parliament has created a legal basis for openness of public administration. The weakest link has been the lack of a well-developed mechanism for implementing these laws in Ukraine. In some cases, implementation is rather difficult beecause some laws are more "romantic" than realistic. There is also no data on how these laws are being implemented. Usually Ukrainian officials do not record public information requests, especially those made by telephone. Finally, there is no information related to the financial side and, in particular, the cost of such implementation. In his presentation, Dr. Svirin argued for a system that monitors and ensures enforcement of access to information legislation similar to the systems in the US and Canada, and that includes annual reports on the execution of these laws, parliamentary hearings, and reports by non-governmental organizations. As was stated, the Ukrainian people are not aware of the existing legislation. Ironically, surveys indicate that even public servants do not fully know the citizens' rights, the duties of officials, and the relevant administrative procedures regarding transparency.

Larysa Iarovenko, Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine

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