What are interregional resource and communication platforms (hereinafter — IRCP), what are their main objectives and functions, what are the first steps to arrange IRCP activities and how to plan communication with partner networks and local stakeholders? — these and other initial steps for platform launch were discussed by specialists and partners of the legal aid in Ukraine during the two-day strategic session in Kyiv. The event was held with the support of the Ukrainian-Canadian Project Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine.
Thus, five IRCP were established in 5 cities, namely, Lviv, Dnipro, Odesa, Kharkiv, and Kyiv. As expected, depending on the resource support of these platforms, they will be launched in the second half of this year. Each platform in each of these cities will become a certain “information hub” (“liaison”, “center”) for other neighbouring and nearby regions, a place for communication and networking between people united by shared ideas in the field of law and justice.
Today, the first steps of IRCP activities and strategic priorities of their subsequent functioning are being actively planned.
It was discussed in the capital by the newly appointed platform managers and staff (Lviv IRCP — manager Barbara Kaliuzhna and head of one of the departments Ivan Pakhota; Odesa IRCP — manager Iryna Bondarenko; Kharkiv IRCP — manager Rostyslav Rosolovskyi; Dnipro IRCP — manager Yanina Tarasova), managers and specialists of the Coordination Center for Legal Aid Provision (Director Andrii Vyshnevskyi, his deputies – Serhiy Trotsenko and Oleksandr Baranov, Head of the Department for the Human Resources and Information Technology Development in the Field of Legal Aid Alina Hladka and her Deputy Vitaliy Liamichev; Deputy Head of the Department for Coordination of the Legal Aid Provision Oleksandr Hryb); regional and local centres for FSLA (Deputy Director of the Regional FSLA Centre in Odesa region Yuliya Lisova, Director of Chervonohrad local FSLA centre Nataliya Kostyshyn, “integrator” of Vinnytsia local FSLA centre Natalia Stets; “Communicator” of the Regional FSLA centre in Zaporizhzhia region Olena Kachura; “quality manager” of the Regional FSLA centre in Kherson region Maksym Mahda); and Manager and Team Leader of the Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine Project Oksana Kikot and Ivanna Ibragimova.
In addition, the participants discussed the experience of the LA system at the regional and local levels in terms of developing partnerships and interaction with the stakeholders.
Natalia Stets told about the experience of her centre in the field of building efficient cooperation with the bodies of local self-government, executive authorities, and non-governmental organizations; the monitoring of legal needs of the citizens and the creation of a paralegals’ network.
Olena Kachura talked about the experience of informing the public and implementation of communicative steps for various target audiences related to the right to LA and exercise of these rights, including the establishment of permanent partnerships with the media.
Maksym Mahda shared his experience in the field of the networking of a professional community of quality managers engaged in monitoring the FSLA quality, practices of sharing information between them and organization of training events for lawyers.
The event participants agreed that this experience was a good foundation for a respective analysis of already gained networking experience and a projection on the future platform operation.
“The territory of freedom and personal development”, “hub” of information and people gathering”, “generating ideas and spreading good practices”, “agents of innovative practices”, “a network of legal knowledge” — this is a vision the event participants stated with regard to the mission of the platform’s work.
Participants of the working session discussed main areas of the IRCP activities. In the latter, they included such activities as the development of partnerships for networking at the interregional level, study of community legal needs, gathering best practices in the field of law and justice and sharing them with various target groups, study of the needs of professional LA system communities and stakeholders in the field of training and development, holding awareness raising and communication events for the public.
The initial steps needed for preparations based on the IRCP activity areas were also defined during the meeting. In the coming months, there will be missions of IRCP managers organized to the regions with a view to identifying successful practices in the operation of FSLA centres with various stakeholders (such as local self-government bodies, non-governmental organizations, media, etc), identification of the needs for training and holding related meetings with different professional groups within the LA system. The meeting participants formulated a vision of the methodology of these missions and relevant time frames.
Let us remind you that the establishment of the IRCP is included in the midterm Government Priority Action Plan for 2017-2020. In particular, it is proposed to consolidate the respective priority in 2017: ensuring continuous monitoring of citizen legal needs, the functioning and regular update of an open database of digital consultations on legal issues and the launch of five interregional resource and communication platforms — in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odesa, and Lviv — which should become a basis for the infrastructure of the legal knowledge management system. This priority was also included in the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Justice for budget year 2017 and two budget periods following the planned one.