Ukraine Business Ombudsman Council

Overview

Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman Council (BOC) is now the primary channel for companies to report unfair business practices. It was formally established in May 2015 as a result of discussions with various stakeholders and its development was overseen by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Basel Institute on Governance.

A variation on the HLRM, the BOC operates as an independent institution. Its multi-stakeholder Supervisory Board includes representatives from the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, international organisations (EBRD, OECD) and independent business associations.

The BOC is already helping to boost transparency and trust in business practices in Ukraine. Between May 2015 and December 2017, the BOC received more than 2,900 complaints. More and more cases are being submitted, mostly by SMEs, with a satisfaction rate of around 95%.

The direct financial impact on businesses in Ukraine to date [September 2018] is estimated at over UAH 13 billion (USD 459 million).

How the Ukrainian BOC Works

Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman Council shares many of the HLRM’s defining features. Alerts are received, assessed and, if appropriate, brought to the attention of the relevant authorities during regular or on-demand meetings. It takes around three months to process a complaint. As an independent body, businesses and individuals regard the BOC as trustworthy.

The system benefits all parties. For example, the BOC can gain clarifications for businesses about laws and regulations, as well as inform authorities about their potential misinterpretation. The Council can also make recommendations to authorities and agree on how to rectify wrongdoings within a specified timeframe. The implementation of BOC recommendations by authorities is currently around 87% – significant considering it does not have official enforcement powers.

Algirdas Šemeta (Ukraine Buisiness Ombudsman) Introduces the Business Ombudsman Council

Algirdas Šemeta, the Business Ombudsman, explains the direct financial impact of the work of the Business Ombudsman Council for Ukraine has on a visit to the EBRD.

Presenting the Business Ombudsman Council Ukraine

HLRM Ukraine timeline

Sep. 2012

  • Discussions between EBRD and Ukraine’s government on an anti-corruption initiative begins.

April 2013

  • Fact-finding mission by Basel Institute to Ukraine commissioned by EBRD.

Jun-Jul, 2013

  • Multi-stakeholder group discusses key elements for an MoU framework on anti-corruption initiatives and an HLRM-type mechanism.

Nov. 2013

  • Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine approves draft MoU. Victor Yanukovych refuses to sign it.

Spring 2014

  • Re-engagement on the MoU with the new Government of Ukraine.

May 12, 2014

  • Signature of MoU on the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Initiative, which established principles for creating a business ombudsman institution

May to July 2014

  • Multi-stakeholder meetings to establish Business Ombudsman and legal framework.

Nov. 26, 2014

  • Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine issues Resolution n. 691 to establish the Business Ombudsman

Dec. 22, 2014

  • Appointment of Algirdas Semeta, former EU Commissioner and Minister of Finance of Lithuania, as Business Ombudsman.

May 2015 - Present

  • BOC begins operations in May 2015. Activities and impact of the BOC are made public on the BOC’s website. The BOC has actively participated in the elaboration of a draft law to strengthen its institutionalisation. The bill is pending parliamentary consideration.