NGO and other providers of social services
The Russian Ministry of Labour has calculated the number of NGOs providing social services
The Russian Ministry of Labour has analysed the implementation of Federal Law number 442 “On the principles of social services for citizens of the Russian Federation” in the Russian regions. The analysis shows that work on the creation of a register of social service providers has been completed in all regions of the Russian Federation. NGOs are included in the registers of 36 regions.
The main objective of the registers is the creation of one official source of comprehensive and reliable information about providers of social services working in different regions. A register exists for each of the Russian regions and includes, in particular, information on the names of social service providers; contacts and name of the director; a list of social services provided by type; cost of services; information on the total number of spaces allocated for services; and on the availability of spaces.
Organisations are included in the register on a voluntary basis, and retain the right to receive government funding and provide social services without being included. However some rights, privileges and funding opportunities are only available to organisations on the register. For example, organisations not included are unable to receive tax breaks or compensation for social services provided to citizens within the framework of individual programmes.
The Ministry of Labour’s analysis shows that the registers of 14 regions include more than 100 providers of social services. For example, the Republic of Bashkortostan’s register includes 211 providers, Samara region’s features 203, and Moscow’s 182. 67 regions’ registers contain fewer than 100 providers.
The registers of 36 regions include NGOs, with the majority of those (29) listing between one and five NGOs. In total 313 such organisations are registered. On the register of the Perm region, which is considered a leader in the social sphere, there are four NGOs – the same as Khabarovsk region. The regions with the most NGOs registered are the Republic of Bashkortostan (120), the Udmurt Republic (57), Crimea (47) and Leningrad region (20).
Individual entrepreneurs are included in the registers of some regions, including the Republic of Adygea, and the Bryansk, Smolensk and Murmansk regions. Commercial organisations also feature in the registers of a number of regions, including the Republic of Dagestan (1), the Altai region (1), and the Moscow region (3). According to information from the Moscow region, its register of suppliers includes six non-governmental organisations.
The Director of the Centre for Civic Analysis and Independent Research (GRANI Centre) Svetlana Makovetskaya explains the small number of NGOs included in the register of the Perm region by the fact that there are many commercial organisations amongst the private service providers there. Privatisation in the Perm region began over nine years ago.
According to the Perm region Ministry of Social Development, the systematic reform of the sector resulted in more than 50 NGOs beginning to provide social services, a 30% increase in the proportion of citizens receiving social services in the private sector, and a fourfold reduction in the network of state social service agencies. Savings from private sector involvement in social services were around 197m roubles, including 144m roubles from the transfer to home-based care. The competitive market environment has enabled the supply of targeted social services and the possibility for citizens to choose their own supplier. Overall, coverage of those requiring social services has increased by 75%.
Experts note that NGOs claim there are problems with entry into the register.
From the moment of a provider’s inclusion in the register it is responsible for the accuracy of the information held there about it.
Providers of social services may be included in a list of suppliers recommended to citizens as part of an individual programme of social services. These also include reference to type of social service, amount, frequency, and terms of provision. For citizens the programme is advisory in nature, while for providers of social services it is mandatory.
There is no guarantee for NGOs that they will be listed as recommended suppliers. However, registered non-profit organisations must guarantee their readiness to provide social services.
“It seems that NGOs which do not properly understand how to operate are wary. Many are trying to see how the law will work over the course of the year. There is another problem. The services provided by NGOs can be very similar to those provided by social services agencies, but they are not equal. Their services do not match the guidelines on budgetary services. Organisations do not know how to switch from the service they provide to that which is required. The issue is that people do not fully understand what kind of obligation they are able to undertake and what it will cost them over the course of the year. Therefore many are waiting”, notes Makovetskaya.
Elena Topoleva, mMember of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and Chair of the Public Council under the Russian Ministry of Labour, believes that this data presents a good opportunity to analyse the situation.
“Even this current small figure of 2-5 NGOs amongst each region’s social service providers is encouraging. NGOs speak of significant problems and barriers to registration, but this shows that some are already registered, already working and providing social services”, says Topoleva. In her words, some organisations have reregistered as NGOs with the agreement of the authorities in order to have more freedom of action. This may explain the large number of NGOs registered as social services providers in some regions.
Experts are also interested in the fact that the number of non-profit organisations in the register is much higher than the number of individual entrepreneurs and commercial organisations.
“NGOs operating in the field of social services in fact work more than businesses. The sector was previously not very attractive for commercial enterprises. As soon as market opportunities arose, service providers began to appear. As the market grows their numbers will continue to increase, particularly in comparison with NGOs. As soon as individual entrepreneurs and businesses realise that there is budgetary money available, they move in that direction very quickly”, notes Svetlana Makovetskaya.
Author: Yulia Vyatkina