Duma committee recommends adoption of law on SONGOs
The draft law includes the provision of informational support for ‘providers of socially beneficial services’ and establishes the reporting period for subsidies.
The State Duma Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organisations recommended passing the draft on additional support for socially-orientated NGOs at the first reading. The Committee believes that the proposed measures will contribute to furthering the role of the non-profit sector in providing socially beneficial services and could stimulate the emergence of new regional NGOs.
The draft, which determines the reporting period for subsidies to NGOs, was submitted to the Duma in November 2016. According to the document, these grants should be for a minimum two-year period. The draft’s authors also recommend allowing state and municipal TV and radio broadcasters to offer free airtime to non-profit organisations. Print and online publications are invited to provide space for NGOs to publish informational materials.
“If NGOs are given the status of providing socially beneficial services, they thereby receive a ‘certificate of quality’ for their work. This means that they use their budget effectively, in a targeted manner, and that there are no complaints or criticisms from those to whom they provide services. It also means that subsidies may be provided for a longer period, without the need for doubt about whether quality will be maintained”, says one of the document’s authors, State Duma Deputy Olga Batalina (United Russia).
The main incentive for many NGOs is a special preferential procedure for access to government funding, believes the deputy. “It is precisely this procedure we are introducing in this draft. In order to be listed as a provider of socially beneficial services, an NGO should perform throughout the year to the same standard as government agencies. In such a case it would not be necessary for the NGO to apply annually for subsidies, as grants would be in effect for two years”, emphasised Batalina.
Previously the government approved a list of services which can be carried out by NGOs registered as providing ‘socially beneficial services’. Besides this list, which includes 20 points, the government also approved the criteria for assessing the quality of services provided.