A new school year started a few days ago. Oksen Lisovyi, the Minister of Education said in late August that most children should study offline, of course, if their schools had equipped shelters.
Offline school or kindergarten often mean solicitations for financial contributions. “We must urgently collect UAH 700 each, for classroom repairs because our school “acceptance” is in August”, “UAH 3000 for a shelter” — real stories from parents on social media. However, it is the responsibility of local budgets to ensure repairs and general maintenance of schools and kindergartens. How to check what has already been bought for an educational institution? What else will they buy? And what did the school ask funds for in general? Here is our guidance on how to navigate this.
Prozorro for procurements
Here what you can check on Prozorro:
- What was ordered for your school or kindergarten?
For example, upcoming furniture deliveries, the exact list of operations for shelter repairs, or catering arrangements.
- How much it will cost?
- What businesses were awarded contracts?
For example, this summer local government officials in Dnipro received notice of suspicion in fraud during the purchase of furniture. Schools received desks that did not meet the requirements, but they were still accepted and paid for. Losses are estimated at approximately UAH 3 million. When parents know exactly what is to be delivered or repaired, they may quickly notice inconsistencies and sound the alarm.
To find the right procurement, you may use:
- EDRPOU code of a local Department of Education,
- EDRPOU code of a school, if it arranges procurement on its behalf,
- school name and address.
The simplest way is to filter orders by EDRPOU code on Prozorro. You may also filter by year or date of publication to see the most recent procurement.
Another option is to select procurement on BI Prozorro analytical module. It looks more complicated but it also has more different filters, and there’s option to download information to a single table, view charts and vendor information and so on. There you can select “12. Procurement stage (2022-2023)”, and then “Tenders/Lots”.
You will see the most popular filters on the right, expand the list to see them all. At the bottom, you can limit tenders by time. All filters you check will appear on the top panel. At the top right, you’ll also find some basic instructions to help you understand this tool. To save the table, right-click on it and select “Download as”.
Also, you may search by school name or address — try to filter out the search results by lots. This information will assist you in refining your search within the Department of Education’s procurement records and in identifying contracts made by other institutions. For instance, the procurement of an alarm button installation for the kindergarten in the village of Prolisky in the Kyiv oblast was arranged by the Department of Humanitarian Development and Public Health. And the kindergarten shelter in Krasne Pershe village was procured by the Executive Committee of Obukhiv Town Council.
What you should pay attention to in tenders:
- Product characteristics and terms of services and works. For example, what dishes should be prepared by a contract awardee in a children’s food tender? Please note that the less detailed the requirements for the ordered goods, services, or works, the higher the probability of getting something of poor quality. However, too detailed description may mean that the criteria have been adjusted for a specific vendor.
- Prices. Be careful when comparing tender prices with those on the internet — the contract price may include delivery, deferred payments, and so on.
- Contract deadlines. When shall a vendor finish repairs or deliver new books?
You can learn more about how public procurement works in general now, what procedures and rules exist in one of our previous materials.
You may check if an order is paid on Spending portal. There you will also need to filter out the necessary payments by EDRPOU code of an entity that spends budget money to an educational institution.
More information is available on request
Some accessories or repairs may be not available on Prozorro now, but they may be pending. To find out what expenses are planned for the next months, you may write a request for public information. The request may be addressed to a school or a education authority, depending on a contract giver. You may create a request on Dostup do Pravdy (Access to Truth) or using templates.
Also, sometimes in response to the question of why it is necessary to cover certain needs of the school, parents hear that “they do not give money from the budget” or “the city/village does not have funds”. Indeed, local budgets cannot cover all requests at once. However, urgent needs have higher priority. And here it is worth finding out whether a school or kindergarten even asked to allocate funds for it.
Educational institutions draw up budget requests before each new budget year: there they describe how much money they need and why. It happens that school and kindergarten leaders do not specify all the needs of the institution in such requests: they rely on the help of parents, do not believe that money can be allocated, or simply do not know how to plan expenses correctly. However, if the Department of Education doesn’t receive accurate and transparent budget requests, it may remain unaware of the actual needs. And accordingly, it will not allocate budget funds for them.
You can also find out information about requests from an educational institution through a request for public information.
The best ways to make contributions
You may make a financial contribution to support your school or kindergarten if you want to. But it is only your choice. Not because the parent committee told you to do so, not because you should, but because you feel like doing that.
A secure option to do that is to transfer money to a treasury account of an educational institution, local government, or the District Department of Education. You may specify the transfer details, for example, repairs of the gym at School No. 2. That money will also be spent through Prozorro.
What else can be done to help the school, as well as how to help allocate funds for school needs, can be found in the special handbook for parents.
If you have any concerns regarding potential corruption in procurement or if you require guidance on effective monitoring, please don’t hesitate to reach out to DOZORRO.
The publication was written with the support of USAID/UK aid project “Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services/TAPAS.”
This material was co-authored with Kateryna Rusina, DOZORRO TI Ukraine Communications Manager.