Standard 3.3.1. CSO Engagement in Service Provision and Competition for State Contracts

Existing legislation allows CSOs to provide services in various areas including education, healthcare, social services and creates basic preconditions. The LAF, enables associations and foundations to perform public authorization by transferring competences from a state institution, municipal bodies, Skopje municipalities, the City of Skopje and other public authorization bodies.

The three key laws in the area of service provisions were amended and improved in favor of associations and foundations. Firstly, the new Law on Public Procurement as the key law regulating the manner and procedures for providing contracts for public procurement aimed to improve shortcomings in the system of public procurement, and improved two key issues: besides the lowest price as the criterion for awarding tenders, other criteria  were added and the e-auction became optional. Other measures related to increasing the transparency of the process were adopted. Secondly,  the Law on Social Protection , according to which an association (but not foundation) may perform certain activities of social protection determined by this law  and if registered to  work in social care, was amended in a participatory manner. Thus, the changes included clear support and partnership with associations includedin providing  social service. Then, the Law on Free Legal Aid stipulates a possibility for the involvement of CSOs in providing pretriallegal aid. In 2019, a new law was adopted offering improved legal protection for citizens and introducing novelty and improvements in the process of funding the associations and the foundations which provide legal aid, by receiving  grants from the Ministry of Justice. Finally, the Strategy recognized the importance and the potential of CSOs  by setting measures for development of the models for cooperation with CSOs which provide services in  health care, education and culture, which have no progress in their implementation yet. 

0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment

There are cases of CSOs being awarded contracts for services in various areas in competition with other providers. According to the survey, 11 CSOs have received contracts for state service provision by the state. Also, the MLSP provided 151.5 million MKD (approx. 2,453,000 EUR) for support of CSOs in the field of social protection for different projects. Namely, three associations were selected: aily center for children in the street, psychological-social support of children at social risk, safe accommodation for victims of gender-based violence  and early treatment of children with autism. Furthermore, the funds from games of chance and entertainment games (70 million MKD or approx. 1,133,000 EUR) support: the annual program of the Red Cross, National Council of Disability Organizations of Macedonia, national disability organizations and the national coordination body for equal rights of persons with disabilities, as well as support for associations that help victims of family violence. Other examples of CSOs engaged in service provision include: supporting people at social risk to obtain daily meal “Site siti” (cooperation between MLSP and social entrepreneurship initiatives), daily center for Down Syndrome, centers for victims of sexual violence, NGO Poraka Nova-day care centers for people with special needs. There are still very few examples of CSOs being involved in developing and evaluating  services. However, when it comes to social and health services (HIV, tuberculosis, etc.) the MLSP and Ministry of Health have indeed worked with CSOs in developing the programs and support.

An important concept is the social entrepreneurship which is still in the introductory and institutionalizing stage. As part of the regulation it was increasingly used in 2019. The existing legal framework (LAF, the Law on Employment of  persons with disabilities, the Law on Cooperatives) enables the entities to participate in the social economy, however, it does not provide appropriate support. Namely, the first social enterprises in the country date since around 2008, with CSOs leading the way. The process of drafting a Law on Social Entrepreneurship restarted and the final draft text was set to be finalized by June 2019, together with a Strategy for social entrepreneurship which should have been finalized by November 2019.

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