Russian Govt publishes rules on ‘providers of socially useful services’
The law recognising NGOs as “providers of socially useful services” came into force on 1 January this year.
The Government has now endorsed the rules recognising NGOs as “providers of socially useful services” and on the requirements for maintaining a register of such organisations. The relevant Order, which is now on the Government’s official website, also contains a list of agencies which will be responsible for monitoring the quality of socially useful services provided.
Under the law, “a provider of socially useful services” is a socially orientated NGO (SONGO) which has provided good quality services for one year or more, is not classified as a “foreign agent” and has no tax or fee arrears, or any other arrears in payments required under Russian law.
The law states that decisions on classifying NGOs as “providers of socially useful services” will be taken by Russia’s Justice Ministry. A register will be “created based on documentation provided by SONGOs and federal executive agencies which will assess the quality of services provided, as well as providing a framework for including or removing NGOs from the register”, says the Government’s official website.
“We’ll continue to develop mechanisms that help SONGOs access the social services market”, said Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister, at a recent meeting with his Deputy. The Government believes the Order will enable SONGOs to provide high quality social services on an equal basis with other business agencies operating in the sector.
This Government Order firmly establishes the federal regulatory basis for NGOs as “providers of socially useful services” whose success will depend on the level of support and guidance they receive from regional authorities and NGOs, according to Elena Topoleva, Director of the Agency of Social Information and member of the Federation’s Public Chamber.
“Many innovations have emerged in recent times to facilitate NGO entry into the social services market. Now it’s up to federal social Ministries and departments to provide the necessary support in this area”, said Topoleva. She also believes that experience of “pilot” regions could be used in identifying obstacles and difficulties to the introduction of this new “provider of socially useful services” status.
During his annual address to the Federal Assembly, Vladimir Putin called on NGOs to be fully involved in providing social services, to remove all barriers to the development of volunteerism and to support SONGOs. He also instructed his executive agency representatives in federal districts to “monitor financial support from State budgets to NGOs in providing socially useful services.