On November 27, Transparency International Ukraine held a public discussion about the role of public councils in the government. Actual members of public councils, including lawyers, experts and social activists, participated in the event.

The aim of the event was to not only draw attention to problematic issues with cooperation of the public with executive and local government agencies, but also to share successful cases where institutions were transformed.

Activists talked whether public councils could make public officials work better, how to establish cooperation with them and whether the role of a watchdog was always productive.

“Representatives of civil society are usually convinced that being a watchdog is the most effective way to reach your goals. However, TI Ukraine’s experience shows that each situation is special. Sometimes, we were able to obtain the needed result working as a friend or a partner of the institution as opposed to a watchdog. Though, of course, sometimes nothing would happen without a strong public stance on our behalf,” says TI Ukraine’s Head of Legal Kateryna Ryzhenko. 

Head of the Public Council under the ARMA Hlib Kanevskyi said that many crises and problems in the Agency could have been prevented had the officials listened to the public council more, especially concerning the work of the tender committee.

“The ARMA took into account only those recommendations it deemed necessary. If there were any differences of opinion, those recommendations were not considered. But when you put your intellectual effort into helping a public agency which doesn’t really listen, people burn out. As the head of the public council, I was finding it increasingly hard to motivate people,” said Kanevskyi.

In November, the Asset Recovery and Management Agency announced recruitment of a new composition of the Public Council. The vote was supposed to take place on December 2, but the competition will be extended. To keep up with the news, follow TI Ukraine on Facebook.

The event has been held with the financial support of the European Union. The content of the material is the sole responsibility of Transparency International Ukraine and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Representatives of civil society are usually convinced that being a watchdog is the most effective way to reach your goals. However, TI Ukraine’s experience shows that each situation is special. Sometimes, we were able to obtain the needed result working as a friend or a partner of the institution as opposed to a watchdog.

Kateryna Ryzhenko, Head of Legal, TI Ukraine