Simpler procedures for NGO to register as social service providers’
The presidential administration has discussed changes to a package of regulations governing non-governmental organisations (NGOs) “providing socially useful services”.
The Russian Ministry of Justice has presented amendments to existing legislation which will simplify the process of obtaining the status of “social service providers” for NGOs. According to the Ministry’s proposal, organisations striving to obtain the status will be able to receive the decision about whether they fulfil the necessary criteria to be considered social service providers from the regional authorities. Current rules stipulate that only federal authorities can award NGOs the status of social service provider.
The law on NGOs providing social services was enacted on 1 January 2017. According to the law, social service providers are defined as socially-oriented NGOs which over the course of a year or more deliver high quality social services, do not carry the label of “foreign agent”, and do not have any outstanding tax debts, levies or other payments in accordance with Russian law.
Federal and regional organs of the executive branch have agreed to manage the simplified procedure for awarding organisations the status of social service providers until the Ministry of Justice’s amendments enter into force, explained Elena Topoleva, a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. She emphasised that NGOs are already able receive decisions independently from the regional authorities.
‘It is very important for us to try and understand how all this will work. Such a system is so far unprecedented. NGOs which meet the criteria must try to be included on the register of social service providers. The Public Chamber is prepared to monitor this process and help organisations,’ stated Topoleva.
In his annual state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly, President Putin urged NGOs to provide social services as much as possible, to take down all barriers and develop volunteering, and to support socially-oriented NGOs. He also authorised his special representatives in federal districts to “monitor the financial provision to persons of the Russian Federation from the budget” for activities concerning social service providers.