The opinion of citizens about the decentralization reform and its results

Opinion polls
Views: 836
28 October 2020

The nationwide survey was conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation jointly with the sociological service of the Razumkov Center from August 14 to 19, 2020, via face-to-face interviews at the respondents’ place of residence. 2022 respondents aged over 18 y.o. were interviewed in all regions of Ukraine, except for Crimea and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, according to a sample representative of the adult population according to the key socio-demographic indicators. The theoretical sampling error does not exceed 2.3%. The survey was funded as part of the MATRA project of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

This publication includes the data from the earlier studies conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in August 2016, June 2017, and August 2018.

The event “BETWEEN ACTIVE PARTICIPATION AND PASSIVE RESISTANCE. The opinion of citizens about the decentralization reform before the local election” is conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation as part of USAID/ENGAGE activity, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pact in Ukraine. The content of the materials presented at the event is the sole responsibility of Pact and its partners and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United States government.

47% of respondents believe that following the implementation of the decentralization reform on the national level in 2015 and the resulting growth of revenue in local budgets have not delivered any change. 27% believe that the changes for the better took place, and 12% believe that that the changes for the worse took place. 14% of the respondents had no opinion on the matter.

The residents of the Central region gave the highest proportion of responses that recognized that positive change has taken place (31%), and respondents in the East were the least likely to observe any changes (54.7%). Compared to the data from 2020, the data from 2016 to 2018 shows that a higher proportion of citizens used to believe that no change had taken place (61-67%) and fewer people who noted positive changes (16-18%).

Ukrainians that indicated that they saw positive change often pointed to the quality of roads (61%), landscaping and state of the house territory (27%), the development of public spaces (23%), the public transportation services (23%), and the quality of municipal services (17%).

The areas where respondents noted changes for the worse are medical services (69%), the quality of roads (29%), aid for the vulnerable groups of the population (28.5%), and the corruption of the local government (28%).

A significant proportion of citizens (28.5%) believes that the transfer of power to local clans is the direct result of the decentralization reform (28.5%). 22% of respondents believe that the reform has accelerated the deterioration of village and city communities, 15% believe that the reform has expanded the opportunities to influence local authorities, and 13.5% noted the improvement of social services. 28% of respondents had no opinion on the matter.

As far as the participation in the decision-making processes of the local government goes, 45% of respondents are willing to vote in elections, 20% are willing to volunteer to improve landscaping, and 11.5% are willing to join the voluntary organization of citizens.

76.5% of respondents are aware of the parliament’s (Verkhovna Rada) legislation that increased the size of territorial unites (rayony) – more specifically, 29% know the precise territorial units in their region (oblast), and 47.5% do not know the particulars of the legislation. Every fifth respondent (21%) is not aware of the legislation.

36% of respondents have not yet determined their attitude towards the enlargement of the territorial units and need more time to evaluate the impact of the reform. 30% do not support the enlargement of the territorial units; 16.5% support the measure.

SURVEY RESULTS

  1. Since the decentralization reform was initiated in 2015, the revenues of local budgets grew significantly. Do you believe that things have changed for the better (improved quality of the governmental services, landscaping, etc.) during this period?

 

August 2016

June 2017

August 2018

August 2020

Yes, change the better

16,2

16,5

18,2

26,8

No, no change 

67,2

55,4

60,8

46,7

Change for the worse

8,4

16,4

13,9

12,1

No opinion

8,2

11,7

7,2

14,3

  1. If you note changes for the better, what area do these changes concern?

 

August 2016

June 2017

August 2018

August 2020

Housing provision

1,2

4,4

2,3

5,3

Quality of roads

-

64,0

-

61,0

Payment to state employees (teachers, doctors, etc.)

5,2

13,8

8,5

12,3

Aid for low-income citizens

7,3

10,0

8,0

11,4

Business opportunities

4,5

2,1

4,8

6,9

Medical service

3,3

3,7

11,1

14,2

Crime reduction/prevention

15,5

11,0

13,3

9,8

Public transpiration

23,0

20,6

20,6

23,4

Anti-corruption measures of local governments

4,5

3,4

4,9

6,9

Ecology

4,2

3,6

4,5

5,0

Safety in case of an attack (terrorists, foreign actors, etc.)

6,7

3,1

5,6

5,0

School education

6,4

9,6

6,8

8,1

Pre-school education

6,7

7,0

5,4

8,9

Traffic jam issues

9,7

1,7

2,9

5,1

Job provision, unemployment issues

1,8

2,3

2,9

4,1

Aid for vulnerable groups (retirees, persons with disability, etc.)

7,0

5,3

9,7

15,7

Housing and public utilities service

23,3

23,3

21,6

17,5

Public spaces

22,1

25,2

17,7

23,5

Illegal construction

3,3

2,0

2,7

1,8

Attracting investment

11,8

8,0

8,0

9,5

Landscaping, state of the house territory

57,3

29,6

45,6

27,1

Other

18,2

6,6

14,8

2,9

No opinion

2,1

-

4,4

2,8

  1. If you note changes for the worse, what area do these changes concern?

 

August 2016

June 2017

August 2018

August 2020

Housing provision

15,2

14,7

4,0

8,6

Quality of roads

-

38,0

-

28,9

Payment to state employees (teachers, doctors, etc.)

27,5

18,2

10,7

18,4

Aid for low-income citizens

41,5

34,7

21,9

21,0

Business opportunities

15,2

8,6

6,1

18,4

Medical service

63,2

52,6

42,8

68,8

Crime reduction/prevention

17,0

22,4

14,8

26,7

Public transpiration

8,8

13,0

13,3

19,9

Anti-corruption measures of local governments

46,2

37,7

19,6

28,3

Ecology

17,0

10,0

5,9

11,9

Safety in case of an attack (terrorists, foreign actors, etc.)

9,9

13,4

4,1

13,6

School education

20,5

12,4

12,1

25,8

Pre-school education

15,8

7,9

2,9

15,7

Traffic jam issues

7,6

9,5

3,5

10,3

Job provision, unemployment issues

56,7

39,2

27,7

36,9

Aid for vulnerable groups (retirees, persons with disability, etc.)

52,6

44,1

35,3

28,7

Housing and public utilities service

35,1

26,1

24,9

21,0

Public spaces

3,5

2,5

4,1

6,0

Illegal construction

7,0

8,9

4,7

8,6

Attracting investment

5,8

5,5

5,6

9,6

Landscaping, state of the house territory

14,6

12,4

17,8

13,7

Other

4,1

5,4

3,8

5,0

No opinion

2,3

-

8,7

1,0

4. How has decentralization (the relegation of governmental functions to local authorities) impacted citizens?

 

August 2016

June 2017

August 2018

August 2020

New opportunities for citizens to engage with the governmental decision-making emerged

20,6

24,0

22,8

15,3

The process of internal migration from villages and certain cities has accelerated

14,7

15,9

21,7

22,2

The quality of governmental services has improved

21,0

17,7

12,1

13,4

Local clans took over

26,8

28,7

22,7

29,7

Other

2,4

4,4

1,2

6,7

No opinion

34

24,8

31,6

28,1

5. In what way are you willing to participate in the decision-making process in your city/village/community?

 

August 2016

June 2017

August 2018

August 2020

Become a local deputy candidate

4,5

13,0

8,6

12,3

Vote in the local elections

29,2

41,7

46,0

45,2

Participate in public discussions

17,1

18,9

16,3

10,0

Attend the local government sessions

9,1

13,3

10,3

6,5

Take part in NGOs that promote local self-governance

8,9

11,9

10,8

8,3

Join public advisory units of governmental offices

5,7

8,7

8,2

6,7

Take part in manifestations, protests, pickets, etc.

6,9

7,1

7,2

7,5

Join voluntary organizations of citizens (house, street, city block committees)

10,4

13,7

7,0

11,4

Participate in efforts to improve the state of the house territory

24,0

15,4

16,6

20,0

Assist orphanages, families with multiple children, shelters, etc.

10,4

7,7

6,2

8,2

Donate to communities

4,0

2,0

1,8

2,8

Other

0,4

0,3

0,1

1,1

None of the above

35,3

30,3

29,2

28,5

No opinion

11,4

8,3

6,8

6,6

6. Do you know of the initiative by the Cabinet of Ministers and Verkhovna Rada (parliament) to increase the size of the territorial unites?

Yes, and I know of the territorial units in my region

28,8

Yes, but I do not know the details

47,6

No, no knowledge of the initiative

21,0

No opinion

2,6

7. Do you support the initiative by the Cabinet of Ministers and Verkhovna Rada (parliament) to increase the size of the territorial unites?

Most certainly, yes

5,0

Yes

11,6

Not sure – I will need to evaluate the impact of the initiative

36,2

No

8,2

Most certainly, no

22,1

No opinion

17,0

SURVEY RESULTS BY REGION

  1. Since the decentralization reform was initiated in 2015, the revenues of local budgets grew significantly. Do you believe that things have changed for the better (improved quality of the governmental services, landscaping, etc.) during this period?

 

West

Center

South

East

Yes, change the better

28,7

31,0

15,8

24,1

No, no change 

49,2

39,7

46,5

54,7

Change for the worse

4,4

16,9

14,5

11,1

No opinion

17,7

12,3

23,2

10,2

  1.  If you note changes for the better, what area do these changes concern?

 

West

Center

South

East

Quality of roads

21,3

15,6

9,2

16,4

Public transportation

6,3

5,8

7,1

6,8

Housing and public utilities service

2,5

4,8

5,8

6,0

Public spaces

2,9

8,1

3,8

8,1

Landscaping, state of the house territory

6,5

8,6

7,5

6,0

3. If you note changes for the worse, what area do these changes concern?

 

West

Center

South

East

Quality of roads

1,3

7,0

2,5

6,4

Medical services

3,8

14,7

17,5

11,3

Anti-corruption measures of local governments

1,7

8,3

4,6

3,4

Job provision, unemployment issues

3,5

6,4

5,4

7,1

Aid for vulnerable groups (retirees, persons with disability, etc.)

1,5

6,2

4,6

6,6

4. How has decentralization (the relegation of governmental functions to local authorities) impacted citizens?

 

West

Center

South

East

New opportunities for citizens to engage with the governmental decision-making emerged

24,0

15,5

8,8

10,4

The process of internal migration from villages and certain cities has accelerated

15,0

21,7

32,4

25,0

The quality of governmental services has improved

17,5

13,4

13,7

9,8

Local clans took over

18,5

26,9

24,2

46,6

Other

4,4

9,5

2,9

6,2

No opinion

31,5

28,6

37,1

20,3

5. In what way are you willing to participate in the decision-making process in your city/village/community?

 

West

Center

South

East

Become a local deputy candidate

18,1

13,9

10,8

5,6

Vote in the local elections

47,9

47,4

39,4

42,4

Participate in public discussions

8,8

9,9

6,7

12,6

Attend the local government sessions

5,8

5,8

4,6

9,0

Take part in NGOs that promote local self-governance

8,5

9,7

5,4

7,0

Join public advisory units of governmental offices

4,8

5,7

4,6

10,5

Take part in manifestations, protests, pickets, etc.

7,7

6,4

4,6

10,0

Join voluntary organizations of citizens (house, street, city block committees)

11,0

10,8

10,8

13,0

Participate in efforts to improve the state of the house territory

18,8

12,6

32,4

26,2

Assist orphanages, families with multiple children, shelters, etc.

12,3

7,1

3,7

8,1

Donate to communities

8,5

9,7

5,4

7,0

Other

0,4

1,2

2,1

1,3

None of the above

27,1

27,1

24,6

33,5

No opinion

6,7

5,6

12,1

5,3

6. Do you know of the initiative by the Cabinet of Ministers and Verkhovna Rada (parliament) to increase the size of the territorial unites?

 

West

Center

South

East

Yes, and I know of the territorial units in my region

27,9

29,4

27,4

29,3

Yes, but I do not know the details

52,9

41,1

51,9

50,4

No, no knowledge of the initiative

16,0

27,7

18,7

16,9

No opinion

3,1

1,8

2,1

3,4

7. Do you support the initiative by the Cabinet of Ministers and Verkhovna Rada (parliament) to increase the size of the territorial unites?

 

West

Center

South

East

Most certainly, yes

8,1

5,1

2,5

3,4

Yes

16,5

11,6

7,5

9,0

Not sure – I will need to evaluate the impact of the initiative

36,9

36,0

34,4

36,5

No

8,8

6,4

10,0

9,6

Most certainly, no

12,3

26,2

25,7

23,2

No opinion

17,5

14,8

19,9

18,3