Management of capable territorial communities. Polish experience


The process of voluntary unification of territorial communities in Ukraine began in 2015. Following the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On voluntary unification of territorial communities”, regional councils and civil–military administrations, in accordance with instructions issued by the Government of Ukraine, began actively developing and approving development plans to form new capable territorial communities.

On 31 August, 2015, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in first reading the draft law “On amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine (on decentralization of power).”

On 4 September, 2015 was adopted the Law of Ukraine “On amendments to some legislative acts on organization of first elections to local councils and election of village, town and city heads”, according to which, 159 new unified territorial communities were given the opportunity to elect heads and councillors. Starting from 1 January, 2016, unified communities received not only new powers and additional financial resources, but also the responsibility for social and economic development of the community.

After the unification process was over and the election of heads and councillors took place, many territorial communities wondered what to do next. As communities received new, extended powers it will also become necessary for them to create new administrative apparatus. Methodological recommendations of the Government of Ukraine, unfortunately, do not provide information on how should a new administrative apparatus look like. Government proposed model of the administrative apparatus for unified territorial communities, ignores the fact that the population of these communities will range from several thousand to several hundred thousands, and the area of ​​new administrative units will range from tens of square kilometres to the size of the entire district.

In such a situation, it is important to pay attention to the Polish experience of forming administrative apparatus on the lowest level of local self-government – gmina (municipality). Besides, the authors of the local self-government reform in Ukraine largely relied on the Polish model.

Data collected and systematized in the analysis can be used to further research on models of governance structure of the future capable territorial communities in Ukraine, as well as to serve as the basic information for anyone interested in the issues of local self-government reform.

The study resulted in the following conclusions:

  • Population \ area of the community directly affects the expenditures of public authority – the smaller the community, the greater part of its budget will be spent on administration.
  • There is no standard organizational structure of gmina’s administrative apparatus, but in almost all gminas there are common structural units.
  • Very effective tool for managing the gmina are “other organizational units”, which are not part of the gmina administrative apparatus. These units often include social welfare centres, cultural centres and libraries, economic and administrative departments of education, independent health care institutions, utilities and other services. These organizational units can be financed from various sources – subsidies and grants from the state budget, gmina budget, own revenues (as joint-stock companies).
  • Analysis of the structure of gmina’s budget expenditures showed that most of the funds were spending to maintain administrative apparatus, educational institutions, social care centres, cultural centres and libraries. However, with the increase in population, the part of the budget spent on gmina administration is decreasing and, in general, expenditure on education is increasing.

The result of this study are the following recommendations:

In the process of forming administrative apparatus and distribution of functional responsibilities between its authorities unified territorial communities of Ukraine should use:

  • as a model – averaged administrative structure and functions of structural units for each of the six types of gmina, modelled based on data from 41 gminas of Podkarpackie Province;
  • information on the forms of organization and funding sources of “other organizational units” that are not part of the gmina’s administrative apparatus;
  • information on gmina budget expenditures on administrative apparatus and “other organizational units”, in particular – the average share of budget expenditures, the average expenditures per capita, the average share of expenditures in gmina own income structure.

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