Law on socially useful services
The Federation Council believes that the adoption of this law will help improve the accessibility and quality of social services. The Council approved the federal law on “Providers of socially useful services” which grants NGOs new status, as well bestowing on them certain benefits and preferences. The law should come into force on 1 January 2017.
“Many socially orientated NGOs (SONGOs) are already involved in charitable work and look for financial sponsorship that is not always easy to access. The new status of “providers of socially useful services” will enable NGOs to receive State funding for this work”, said Galina Karelova, Vice-Speaker of the Federation Council, as reported by the Novosti news agency. She went on to say that the law would increase the availability and quality of services, as well as opening up new opportunities for the development of a joint private/ State partnership.
“NGOs will be able to offer “proper socially useful services”, provided they have done so for more than a year, are not “foreign agents”, have no tax or fee arrears, or other arrears in payments required under Russian law. However, the Federation’s Public Chamber has already pointed out that competent authorities at present have no criteria by which they can make a judgement on what constitutes “proper socially useful services”.
Once the law is adopted, State Duma deputies plan to draw up a number of regulations which will set out additional support measures for NGOs classed as “providers of socially useful services”.
Author: Georgy Ivanushkin