In Ukraine, Kropyvnytskyi, Kyiv and Ivano-Frankivsk are the most transparent cities. They have the highest transparency and openness rates according to the pilot study conducted by Transparency International Ukraine and the Institute of Political Studies. The assigned experts examined 25 regional centers as well as cities like Mariupol, Sievierodonetsk and Bila Tserkva. Kropyvnytskyi scored 54.9 points, Kyiv – 54.45 points and Ivano-Frankivsk – 54.3 points out of 100 possible points. The top five cities also include Mykolayiv and Lviv, which scored 50.1 and 48.1 points respectively (the full ranking is available here). In June 2017, the 100 largest cities in Ukraine will be ranked using this methodology.
The cities were ranked based on 91 indicators in 13 areas of activity. The study involved such indicators as the work of local authorities, public access and participation, procurement, housing policy, budgeting and public contracts, grants and finance allocation, social services, human resource issues, professional ethics and conflict of interests, land use and construction policy, municipal enterprises, municipal property and education.
Unfortunately, the research demonstrates that the transparency leaders scored only half of 100 possible points in the transparency ranking. This clearly shows that the overall transparency of Ukrainian cities leaves much to be desired.
To help municipalities improve transparency levels an combat corruption on the local level, 15 training sessions and seminars for activists, government officials and journalists will be held.
These training sessions will particularly focus on the areas with the lowest scores. Then, 15 local initiatives will receive sub-grants to increase transparency in their towns. Program members will be selected on a competitive basis. At the end of the project, the transparency level will be assessed in order to identify particular means and initiatives which increase transparency and the position of a city in the ranking system.
“Today, the process of decentralization is in place. Local regions receive more financial resources. If accountability is not improved at the local level, it may lead to increasing rates of corruption. To avoid these threats, we will rely on public initiatives to increase transparency in their cities. Without these actions, all the benefits of decentralization will be in vain,” said the head of the Building Transparent Cities in Ukraine project of Transparency International Ukraine, Kateryna Tsybenko.
“We have invited 25 representatives of city councils to cooperate. Many of them have responded positively. This is a good sign that the local authorities are ready to increase transparency and ensure public access to all important processes in addition to areas covered by the law. The goal of these actions is to improve the fight against corruption, as people wish, and improve the public control. This month, we’ve invited 75 municipalities to cooperate and obtained the initial stage results of the pilot study,“ explained the expert of the Institute of Political Studies and the main researcher of the project, Oleksandr Solontai.
Kropyvnytskyi received the highest scores. It obtained the first place because information on the Kirovograd City Council official website, redesigned in 2016, is well-structured and available to the public.
The new site is easy to navigate, its information is easy to follow, and there is an access to many documents issued by the local authorities as well as the local community issues discussed. However, there are no the latest trends such as the online tracking system of public transport on the site. It was ranked the top city but its scores could be higher.
Results of the study will be an important tool for local authorities to improve transparency of their cities. When similar projects were conducted in Slovakia, the cities had improved their transparency from 40% up to 47%.
Understanding these research methodologies and explanations, which helps to understand why a certain city was scored this way, the local authorities will have instructions on how to improve the transparency rating of their city. The project team is ready to help local authorities and representatives, for instance, give some advice and guide their actions if they are going to use this tool to improve the transparency of their cities.
The website transparentcities.in.ua/en allows visitors to review the results of the study, its methodology, compare scores of the cities including top cities in each of the 13 areas examined by the research.
The project “Building Transparent Cities in Ukraine” is supported by the UN Democracy Fund.