Supporting scrutiny in wartime in Ukraine 

The sun coming through the dome of the Parliament of Ukraine, with the Ukrainian flag flying above
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Supporting scrutiny in wartime in Ukraine 

Post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) is the practice of monitoring the implementation and evaluating the impact of laws. The aim is to ensure that laws benefit citizens in the way originally intended by lawmakers. In Ukraine, WFD has been supporting the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU) to continue this important work despite the war.

Post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) is the practice of monitoring the implementation and evaluating the impact of laws. The aim is to ensure that laws benefit citizens in the way originally intended by lawmakers. In Ukraine, WFD has been supporting the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU) – the country’s parliament – to continue this important work despite the war. 

WFD, through its programme in Ukraine, has been working to help ensure the meaningful involvement of citizens in PLS processes on a planned, systematic, and comprehensive basis. In June 2023, participants at a WFD workshop on post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) in Ukraine emphasized that alongside methodological rules, legal and procedural changes would also be needed to achieve the full potential of PLS in the long term.  

The Law of Ukraine on Law-Making, which reforms and changes the entire cycle of the legislative process, and on which the parliament has been working for many years, was adopted on August 23, 2023.  

Among the numerous innovations introduced by this law is the mandatory preparation of public policy documents (namely, green and white papers) and the implementation of legal monitoring, which includes an assessment of the effectiveness of adopted legislative acts.  

The law is due to come into force after the end of the war, which is currently difficult to predict. However, very important that work is already underway in the VRU to prepare for the implementation of the law.  

Primarily, committees of the VRU are carrying our PLS inquiries and PLS practice is spreading within the parliament. For example, in addition to the 5 committees WFD’s programme works closely with the Committee on Youth and Sports took the initiative to evaluate the law of Ukraine on the basic principles of youth policy.  

Parliamentary staff are increasingly interested in learning about PLS practices and their application by other parliaments. WFD’s programme has received requests for best practices and procedures to learn about. At the moment, WFD is supporting the PLS pilots of the four committees of the Verkhovna Rada, calls for evidence from the public are open on the committees’ websites until the end of 2023.  

It should be noted that the practice of implementing these pilots is somewhat different, as provided for in the law, but such practices are formed by the committees themselves and, if they are deemed appropriate, can be subsequently enshrined at the level of the law. For example, committees for analysis usually chose a law that is valid for only 1 year or two years maximum, while the Law recommends that the PLS act be in effect for at least 3 years. That is, the work on the right solutions continues, despite certain accomplishments. 

WFD also supports the committees’ follow-up work on the inquiries that were launched last year. The working group of the VRU Committee on Energy, Housing, and Communal Services has met 3 times since June this year to hear the government and ministries’ reports on the development of sub-laws required for the implementation of legislation on energy efficiency. Summing up the meeting, the chairman urged the executive to look for solutions that encourage people to change and lay the foundations for energy-efficient behaviour. 

At the end of the year, the Committee on Social Policy and Protection of Veterans' Rights will hear from the Ministry of Labor and government agencies about their implementation of the recommendations adopted by the committee in April based on the results of PLS. The recommendations included: 

  • increase legal certainty and develop legal regulation on the use of flexible working hours, remote and home-based work;  
  • recommendations aimed making sure that relations between an employer and employee are in line with relevant law, transparent and accountable;  
  • train employees with the digital skills necessary to properly organise and execute work remotely.  

Finally, to ensure a common understanding of processes, and unified and sustainable practices, parliamentary stakeholders need methodological recommendations. Thanks to the programme, a group of staff at all parliamentary levels is gradually being formed in the Verkhovna Rada who will be able to lead in this process with the support of WFD. 

Democratic processes like PLS will be essential to Ukraine’s resilience and democratic recovery. Despite the war, as well as PLS, WFD continues to work with parliament on a range of initiatives, including improving support to law drafting, full policy cycle, hybrid and online procedures, and co-operation between parliament and the government.