Trial programme to enable SONGOs to access government funding

The Ministry of Economic Development introduces a trial programme enabling socially orientated NGOs (SONGOs) to access Government funding




As instructed by Vladimir Putin, the Russian Government is introducing a trial programme to provide phased SONGO access to Government funding set aside for social service provision, according to the Ministry of Economic Development. The programme is intended to run from 2016-2020.


There are plans to road-test the programme in a number of pilot regions which will enable the necessary know-how to be developed in order to facilitate the transfer of different types of social services to NGOs, as well as providing access for the third sector to Government funding. It will ensure that NGOs have phased access to such funding so that they can provide social services to the population. In his address to the Federal Assembly, the Russian President argued that NGOs needed to be trusted more with issues such as help for the elderly and the disabled and support to children and families, while at the same time calling for NGOs to have access to Government funding. Putin added “NGOs often work more effectively and efficiently and with far less red tape, as well as having a genuine concern for people”.


The programme’s aim is gradually to increase the availability, quality and diversity of social services by extending SONGO participation in the implementation of relevant federal and municipal programmes, said Artem Shadrin, Director of the Department of Social Development and Innovation at the Ministry of Economic Development. As Shadrin explained “The programme’s main tasks are to create the necessary conditions for facilitating SONGO access to the provision of social services to the population, develop NGO potential in this area and coordinate the work of relevant agencies in making sure this happens”.


Shadrin stated that implementing these objectives would involve a package of measures to improve existing legislation, as well as developing a regulatory and legal framework, methodological support, and providing an analysis and dissemination of best practice, all of which are designed to help support SONGOs across all social sector areas. Shadrin also believes that infrastructure, resource and innovation centres within the social sector play an important role in providing phased SONGO access to Government resources. We must do our utmost over the next year or two to help NGOs attain the necessary level of ability and skills in undertaking system-based work, he added.


A number of programme activities will initially be undertaken in pilot regions to enable SONGOs to gain phased access to Government funding. Best practice acquired in these trial areas will be disseminated to other regions across Russia. The Ministry of Economic Development says that implementation of this programme will increase the availability and quality of social services, as well as extending the choice of service provider, improving the effective use of Government resources, and increasing transparency within the system that provides these vital services.


The programme will also create a rating system for regions on how they have helped SONGOs gain access to social service provision and implemented support mechanisms for SONGOs, as well as introducing specific mechanisms for providing these services. Data gathered from these ratings will help in determining whether regional authorities can help SONGOs entering the social service market for the first time, according to Elena Topoleva, a member of the Public Chamber, as reported in “Izvestia”


In an interview with “Izvestia”, Artem Shadrin emphasised that the rating system would be based solely on quantitative indicators, including “the proportion of NGOs working in the social sector that receive Government funding, as well as an assessment of the effectiveness of a range of different SONGO support mechanisms. This will be the most comprehensive set of objective data yet obtained using the Federal Tax Service’s Government funding statistics and reports”.


Author: Georgy Ivanushkin






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