The effectiveness and success of decentralization reform depends on building of communication between reformers and community, involvement the community members in discussion of the process of community unification. It is equally important to set the regulatory support of such participation and implementation of relevant norms in practice.
Concept of reformation of local government and territorial organization of power in Ukraine defines the principles of openness, transparency and public participation as the main principles of local government reform and territorial organization of power. Created Offices of reforms conducted the main information-explanatory work among the population, local officials and deputies of local councils in each area.
However, the results of analysis of Association for community self-organization assistance show that:
- Public informational and awareness work was not systematic, work on clarification of decentralization through web portals and social networks was situational (only 79% Offices of reforms have pages in social network Facebook);
- lack of workforce in Offices of the reforms felt a great burden and was not always able to cover the entire region;
- In vast majority of communities there were not made the mandatory public hearings;
- In some areas, community representatives were not involved in the development of perspective plans of unification of communities.
- To continue informational and awareness work among the population, especially in remote from district centers settlements. Such work can be organized and held by public authorities, local government, Offices of reforms, public associations, community organizations, experts and local activists, volunteers who specialize in matters of decentralization and local government reform.
We should join all forces to increase the effectiveness of such work. It is necessary to intensify the work of established regional working groups on local government reform with the possible upgrading of their composition. This work should also involve community councils, created at regional councils and local state administrations. It is advisable to involve trade unions, employers, youth and students for whom it is important to study on decentralization, unification of communities. Regional councils should also be involved in this process, organizing public events, discussions, conduct outreach, placing Offices of reforms banners on the official site.
- In some regions of Ukraine, there is a need for changes to the perspective plans of unification of communities with a maximum input of positions of local residents.
Therefore, it (for example the Dnipropetrovsk) should begin work on amendments to these plans, involving the public; start the collecting constructive suggestions.
- 3. To fully take into account of the views of members of local communities on the topic of unification of the communities, should be implemented the Law of Ukraine “On local referendum”. In addition, at the legislative level is necessary to regulate the procedure for holding general meetings of citizens in the community, which will provide the legal regulation of one of the types of public discussions. This draft “On general meetings (conferences) of members of the territorial community of residence” was registered 03.24.2015 in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine under the number 2467. It also enables the conferences, which form could be chosen by local councils during the public hearings. In case of urgent needs, there could be conducted consultative referendum (poll). Although they do not have legal force, but they will reflect the mood of the population on the unification.
- There is a need of professional assistance for the development of united communities (in the preparation and implementation the strategy of development the area, forming the statues, shaping the articles of association, designing the community development projects, informational support of reform), which should involve Offices of reforms and other expert environment including public associations, think tanks.
- Great value on community involvement has political will at the national, regional and local levels. It is important that journalists, writing papers guided by reliable data and interviewed at several sides, spread best practices. The main thing is to avoid speculations on the issues of community unification, and this process has to be voluntary, quality and with implementation of mechanisms of local democracy, because this reform will affect almost everyone.
Note. In policy paper, except provided links, were used the materials from websites of the President of Ukraine, Verkhovna rada, Cabinet of the Ministers of Ukraine, central executive authorities, regional councils and regional administrations, NGOs.
 Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine from 01.04.2014 p. № 333-p “On Approval of the Concept of reforming the local government and territorial organization of power in Ukraine”: [electronic resource]. – Access mode: http://www.minregion.gov.ua/regional-dev/reformuvannya-miscevogo-samovryaduvannya-ta-teritorialnoyi-organizaciyi-vladi-v-ukrayini-643805/zakonodavchi-akti-shvaleni-kabinetom-ministriv-ukrayini-275073/rozporyadzhennya-kabinetu-ministriv-ukrayini-vid-01-04-2014-r–n-333-r-pro-shvalennya-koncepciyi-reformuvannya-miscevogo-samovry-189628/