Presentation of the policy paper “Concept of ‘End-to-End’ Legislative Process”

On December 06, 2017 the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center (2, Khreshchatyk Str.) hosted a presentation of the Policy Paper “Concept of ‘End-to-End’ Legislative Process”.

The event was organized by the Agency for Legislative Initiatives within the framework of the USAID RADA Program: Responsible, Accountable, Democratic Assembly implemented by the East Europe Foundation.

The event was attended by:

  • MP Dmytro Lubinets, Secretary of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Rules of Parliamentary Procedure and Support to Work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine;
  • Oleksandr Zaslavskyi, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives.

During the 4th and 5th sessions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the VIII convocation, 1506 bills were registered, of which only 12% have been approved. This testifies to the fact that the parliament is overwhelmed by the “legislative tsunami”, i.e. a situation where so many bills are registered that deputies are physically unable to deal with them.

The ease with which MPs of Ukraine can register bills, regular violations of parliamentary procedures, lack of established long-term planning practices and stable communication between the legislative power actors result in the wide-ranging chaos of policymaking that hinders Ukraine’s sustainable and steady development.

Thus, the development of an effective system for policy formulation, approval, harmonization, assessment, and review remains extremely topical for both the political leadership and Ukrainian society as a whole.

The policy paper “Concept of ‘End-to-End’ Legislative Process” contains an analysis of existing practices, an overview of international experience, as well as proposals as to the concept of the “end-to-end” legislative process reform focused on strengthening coordination between legislative initiative actors. This is set out in the first recommendation of the Roadmap on Internal Reform and Capacity-Building for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine prepared by the European Parliament’s needs assessment mission led by Pat Cox.

MP Dmytro Lubinets, Secretary of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Rules of Parliamentary Procedure and Support to Work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, argues that “legislative spam” is a result of every MP’s desire to submit his personal legislative initiative, because for the public perceives the number of bills registered by an MP as the indicator of his effectiveness. One way out of this situation is to restrict the legislative initiative so that a bill could be submitted only by a group of MPs consisting of at least as many persons as the smallest faction of the current convocation of the Verkhovna Rada.

“This safeguard will automatically ensure a decrease in the number of draft laws, hence the effectiveness and quality of the Verkhovna Rada will ipso facto increase.”

“The problems of the legislative process in Ukraine to a large extent stem from wrong practices of enforcement of framework regulations rather than from imperfections of these regulations,” said Dmytro Lubinets.

According to Mr. Lubinets, one of the factors undermining the effectiveness of the legislative process is political PR – a situation where committee hearings (especially when attended by the media) turn into a political show instead of a meaningful discussion. This results in significant delays in the process of reviewing bills, taking years for a bill to be submitted to the session hall after its registration. As a result, a large number of critically important draft laws are ping-ponged from one deputy committee to another for years. Another problem is posed by the process of considering amendments when amendments already approved for voting are again put to vote in the session hall by MPs.

“There are no mechanisms to prevent this MP “spam”, hence important bills are not adopted, as a result people expect radical changes from parliament but the changes do not happen”, summed up Dmytro Lubinets.

Presenting the study, Oleksandr Zaslavskyi, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives, pointed out that from October 2015 to January 2016, European Parliament’s needs assessment mission headed by Pat Cox had been working in the Verkhovna Rada and had come up with the Report and Roadmap on Internal Reform and Capacity-Building for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. On March 17, 2016, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Resolution based on this document containing 52 recommendations for improvement of the work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in terms of its institutional capacity, improvement of the quality of the legislative process, ensuring compliance of the legislation with the EU regulations, etc. The first and most important recommendation is to develop an “end-to-end” concept of the legislative process.

The policy paper “Concept of ‘End-to-End’ Legislative Process” examines the legislative process in the context of communication of legislative initiative entities. Special attention is given to the problem of delimitation of the powers of legislative initiative entities, as well as gradual disturbance of the balance of the constitutionally mandated design of policy development. The study analyzes the mechanisms of cooperation of legislative initiative entities in the legislative process, as well as observance of procedures for consideration of bills. It examines the role of committees and mechanisms for monitoring, assessing and reviewing approved decisions. Much attention is given to alternative variants of improving the legislative process.

Mr. Zaslavskyi elaborated on the changes needed to improve the legislative process “end-to-end”, including:

  • drafting and adopting the Law “On Regulations” involving the introduction of relevant amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine in order to ensure the effective distribution of the sphere of regulation of laws and by-laws;
  • stipulation in the Rules of Procedure of the requirement to get the set number of 20 signatures of MPs for the registration of bills or introduction of letters of support for registered bills so that they could be considered in the session hall;
  • limiting the number of bills to be submitted for discussion during the week, for example, to 10 bills;
  • introduction of a mechanism of the political harmonization (first of all for compliance with the Coalition Agreement and the Government’s Program of Activity) of legislative initiatives;
  • ensuring that Government should draft regulations for implementation of the law before the law is adopted as a whole or that Government should give a reasoned explanation why no such regulations need to be drafted;
  • ensuring that any legislative initiative should include a monitoring and evaluation plan approved by the Main Committee of the Verkhovna Rada;
  • introduction of a single platform for all legislative initiative entities to register, log and track all regulations.

For additional information, please contact Iryna Cherpak at tel.: +38067 242 80 91.