The Transparent Cities program (Transparency International Ukraine) presents an adapted study of the work of city councils during the war. This is not a linear continuation of traditional Transparency Rankings — this year, the team assessed only 70 cities out of the usual 100 according to the updated criteria. Instead of the usual points and ranking, we now consider the status of the city (“transparent,” “partially transparent,” and “non-transparent”) and the level of indicator implementation. The research has been conducted with the financial support of the European Union.
According to the results of the study, Dnipro, Lviv, and Mukachevo have the status of “transparent”. Vinnytsia, Volodymyr, Zhytomyr, Kamianske, Kyiv, Kropyvnytskyi, Lutsk, Ternopil, Uzhhorod, and Chernivtsi are classified as “partially transparent”.
The average rate of indicator implementation in the study is 37.5%. The criteria that constitute the requirements of Ukrainian legislation show a higher level of implementation (47.8%). Overall, cities were less likely to implement those solutions that required significant resources, special digital skills, or opportunities, including financial ones (such as holding electronic auctions or online broadcasts of meetings).
It is important to understand that the research should be interpreted only contextually. Since the beginning of the full-scale war, the sphere of access to public information has generally regressed. Referring to security risks, cities suspended the work of official portals or restricted access to certain sections or pages. Therefore, the study does not aim to show the shortcomings in the work of local self-government bodies. Our task is to analyze the issues, identify best practices, and help local authorities become more capable in countering wartime challenges.
“Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine has become a real challenge and a test of resilience for all Ukrainian cities. And although part of the territory is still captured by the enemy, the rear Ukrainian cities, towns, and villages managed to withstand this blow. The world community pays great attention to Ukraine, already helping us and planning to support us in the process of reconstruction. A high level of transparency and accountability of local authorities is crucial for the efficient attraction of investments and the restoration of Ukraine,” — says Olena Ogorodnik, Transparent Cities Project Manager.
The program team developed its recommendations based on the analyzed data to enhance the capacity of cities and ensure the transparency and efficiency of local authorities:
- Creating services that most contribute to the adaptation of the population to the wartime challenges:
- publishing the list of residential premises owned by the communities;
- creating services and information pages for internally displaced persons;
- creating electronic services for housing registration;
- implementing services for online registration for social services;
- publishing lists of shelters in a convenient format (map) and updating them in a timely manner.
- Ensuring the most transparent accounting and distribution of humanitarian aid.
- Restoring the work of local open data portals and geoportals, publishing open data.
- Ensuring access to and participation of residents in management decisions.
The Transparent Cities program also formed a list of best practices that Ukrainian cities implemented during the war, and which proved their effectiveness. Namely: publication of information about shelters and information for IDPs, electronic submission of applications for housing, electronic appeals of residents through special city services, support for relocated businesses, reporting on the distributed humanitarian assistance, etc.
Access to information is a constitutional right of every person, and local authorities should promote it. Transparency is one of the key principles for the successful restoration of Ukraine, the continued support of international partners, and successful future European integration.
The research has been conducted within the project “Transparent Cities: E-Platform for Cooperation of Citizens and Local Governments for Accountability and Good Governance,” implemented with the financial support of the European Union.
Transparency International Ukraine is an accredited chapter of the global movement Transparency International, with a comprehensive approach to the development and implementation of changes for reduction of the corruption levels. TI Ukraine launched the Transparent Cities program in 2017. It aims at overcoming corruption at the local level and promoting the best practices of transparency and accountability.
The program annually compiles the Transparency Ranking of the 100 Biggest Ukrainian Cities. Over five years, the average transparency of cities has increased by 62.2%. Within the framework of the program, the Accountability Ranking of 50 Ukrainian Cities is also formed, which shows the actual state of accountability of local authorities. The average accountability of cities according to the results of 2021 is 16.5 points. Based on the ranking results, program experts provide recommendations and advise city councils on the implementation of best practices of transparency and accountability of local authorities. The studies of transparency and accountability are complementary and demonstrate a comprehensive level of openness of local self-government bodies.
In 2020, the Transparent Cities online platform was created, the main purpose of which is to promote an effective dialogue between the authorities and the community.