Working Day

15 october, 2009 18:53

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a Government meeting

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a Government meeting
“It is necessary to continue to foster administrative reform, abolish the state’s unnecessary powers, minimise the number of inspections, and switch from the practice of giving authorisation to providing recommendations.”
Vladimir Putin
At a meeting of the Government

Prime Minister Putin's introductory speech:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

We will focus today on training local government employees, one of the most pertinent items on our agenda.

The number of municipal entities has grown twofold, resulting in rejuvenated governments. So far over 617,000 people are employed with local governments, 24,000 of whom work as mayors.

Ordinary people's quality of life largely depends on these officials' qualification, experience, and professional skills. It is at the level of local government that the issues that most directly affect people's lives are addressed, including ensuring electricity, heating, gas and water supplies, transport service, waste disposal, and landscaping.

I would like to remind you that a law affecting local government took effect on January 1. This law holds mayors personally responsible for providing quality services to people.

Meanwhile, there is no fully-fledged system for training and retaining municipal government employees. There have been isolated efforts, but they are not comprehensive.

I believe that federal ministries must provide assistance to local governments on this issue, assume responsibility for coordinating our efforts and making them more methodical, and ensure close cooperation with education institutions that train personnel for municipal authorities. I would like to ask that we pay special attention to training local government employees in towns that rely on a single industry, where the effectiveness of municipal authorities' performance is especially critical, and where competent and well-educated people are needed to deal to apply fresh approaches to new challenges. We all understand that it is especially relevant today, during the crisis.

First of all, we need to work out a unified set of requirements for retraining, advanced training and on-the-job training for local government employees. Such requirements already apply to federal civil servants. In my opinion, similar provisions should be drafted for municipal civil servants.

As a whole, it is necessary to define crucial government policy priorities for improving the professional skills of local government officials. With this in mind, I would like to request that the Ministry of Regional Development work with other concerned agencies to draft an appropriate programme.

I would like to draw your attention to another issue we are going to consider today. Some time ago, I asked the Prosecutor General to examine regulatory and supervisory agencies that have the power to authorise various kinds of activities.

During our recent meeting, the Prosecutor General reported the results of these examinations. I asked Mr Chaika (Prosecutor General) to speak on the results of these examinations at today's Government meeting.

We have managed to abolish a lot of unnecessary Government activities in recent years, including inspections, revisions, licensing and other useless hurdles to people and businesses. But the report by the Prosecutor General's Office shows that there are still a whole lot of problems.

There are still a lot of instances when officials impose irrelevant requirements on companies seeking to receive a license, such as collecting expert certificates, supporting documentation, and references.

Moreover, regulatory and supervisory measures have turned into a profitable business that involves hiring crony firms and organisations.

There is a vicious practice of delegating government responsibilities for providing fee-based services to lower organisations. This would be a minor evil, but these functions are delegated to businesses affiliated with officials. And of course, these "compulsory" services are overpriced.

A lot of pseudo-expert and quasi-analytical bureaus benefit from these practices. Blatant misdeeds were revealed, including secret bribery of officials and employees at government agencies. It is not considered disgraceful to receive contributions from the companies that officials are supposed to be overseeing.

I should add that corporate celebrations paid for by the businesses that are being regulated and supervised are seen as normal. This must not be allowed.

I expect all the heads of government agencies to analyse the facts that the Prosecutor General's Office collected thoroughly.

We need to finish approving regulations for government responsibilities as soon as possible.

The scope, essence and timeframe for administrative procedures must be clearly outlined, and the principles for setting prices for government services must be established.

It is necessary to continue to foster administrative reform, abolish the state's unnecessary powers, minimise the number of inspections, and switch from the practice of giving authorisation to providing recommendations.

We have been discussing this issue at length, but little has been done so far. I have recently visited the Far East to inspect the construction of facilities for the APEC summit. If one looks at the number of examinations that must be carried out, they'll see that paperwork takes up so much time that there is no time left for the work itself.

In addition, there is a common trend: after the opportunities for inspecting small and mid-sized businesses were restricted, regulatory agencies rushed to inspect the remaining establishments.

Getting control of this issue is certainly in the interest of Russians, and will relieve people and businesses from unnecessary work, thus revitalising government effectiveness and reducing corruption.

Let's get down to work.