Business Ombudsman Council in Ukraine
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 is regularly updated on the BOC website and already runs into hundreds of millions of US dollars.
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.
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 Šemeta, 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.
October 2019: Marcin Święcicki takes over from Algirdas Šemeta as Business Ombudsman.
- Working Paper 19: High Level Reporting Mechanisms in Colombia and Ukraine (2015) (English)
- Memorandum of Understanding for the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Initiative (12 May 214) (English)
- Cabinet Resolution No. 691 establishing the Business Ombudsman Council (26 November 2014) (unofficial English translation)
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Support in implementing a HLRM
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