Public service work during the war and the post-war period: the sixth dialogue on the Integrity and Governance project took place

On May 12, Aspen Institute Kyiv held discussion “Public Service: Chalenges” the sixth discussion within the Integrity and Governance project. The purpose of the dialogue was to outline the priority areas of public service in the short and long term and ways to increase its effectiveness in ensuring good governance in the country during the war and postwar periods.

In April, the President of Ukraine launched the National Council for the Recovery of Ukraine from the effects of war. Public administration was one of the priority areas for the further development of Ukraine in the postwar period. As part of the dialogue at the Aspen Institute Kyiv, politicians, high-level civil servants, and representatives of non-governmental and international organizations discussed the most critical issues of public administration and civil service. Based on the results, a list of topics will be proposed for further elaboration of decisions, -making which will be submitted to the National Council for the Recovery of Ukraine from the War.

The main thesesthesis of the discussion were:

  • A model of public administration that will be effective for Ukraine. After all, the configuration of the civil service will depend on this model.
  • Training and retraining of specialists for further work on harmonization of domestic regulations to EU standards. According to some participants in the dialogue, the best solution now may be to agree on the possibility of internships in European government agencies for Ukrainian civil servants who have gone abroad.
  • Optimization of the structure and quantitative composition of the civil service by reducing inefficient functions and where there is concentration of power. It is especially topical in the context of decreasing GDP.
  • The role of civil servants in the war and postwar periods. How should officials act when their cities are on the front line or under occupation. On the one hand, any work of a public servant during the territory occupation means cooperation with the enemy. On the other hand, there is a need to provide the population with basic services. A possible solution may be to define clear criteria for collaborationism. In this context, it is also crucial to preserve the flag and symbols of the state for which the civil servant works.
  • Legislation during wartime and in the future. The Ukrainian legal framework is quite extensive, which often complicates flexible decision-making. It is worth reconsidering what really needs to be regulated by law and what can be decided by the government or local authorities. An example is the EU, which has subordinated its decisions to the global goal of helping Ukrainians and has delegated each country to address this issue in its own way. Discretion and trust for the civil service were also discussed.
  • Reforming ministries. Ministries need more autonomy to make decisions that do not require government approval. This could significantly increase institutional efficiency and effectiveness by eliminating the need for lengthy approvals and over-reporting.

Roman Kobets, Ph.D. of Hryhorii Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, moderated the event.

We are grateful to the participants of the dialogue for their sincerity and impartiality in discussing an important topic. Thank you to our colleagues from the EU4PAR project for their support in organizing the event.

The event was held within the framework of the Integrity and Governance project, which is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy, as well as with the support of the EU4PAR project and the Reform Delivery Office of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.