Finland Design Report 2019-2023
- Action Plan: Finland Action Plan 2019-2023
- Dates Under Review: 2019-2023
- Report Publication Year: 2020
Finland’s fourth action planAction plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen... focuses on promoting sustainable open government practices, lobbyingLobbying transparency allows the public to ensure that there is diversity of participation and contribution to public decision-making. Technical specifications: Policies and actions affecting lobbying... transparencyAccording to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More, and open dataBy opening up data and making it sharable and reusable, governments can enable informed debate, better decision making, and the development of innovative new services. Technical specifications: Polici.... The government involved a more diverse group of participants in the action plan co-creation and shared the agenda-setting power with civil society. At the mid-term review of the action plan in 2021, the government could consider expanding lobby regulationGovernment reformers are developing regulations that enshrine values of transparency, participation, and accountability in government practices. Technical specifications: Act of creating or reforming ... and registration obligation to the local and regional levels and improve the openness of key datasets on government transparency and anti-corruption.
|Table 1. At a glance
Participating since: 2013
Action plan under review: 4
Report type: Design
Number of commitments: 4
Action plan development
Action plan design
The Open Government PartnershipThe Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, ensuring opportunities for citizen participation in public matters, and strengthen... More (OGP) is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM)The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is OGP’s accountability arm and the main means of tracking progress in participating countries. The IRM provides independent, evidence-based, and objective ... monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Finland joined OGP in 2013. Since, Finland has implemented three action plans. This report evaluates the design of Finland’s fourth action plan.
General overview of action plan
Finland’s fourth action plan has a four-year duration, which aligns the action plan with the government program and strategies relevant to open government. It largely continues the priorities of previous action plans, mostly focusing on improving public access to information and the understandability of government information to societal groups with special needs. The action plan also addresses several gaps in Finland’s open government landscape, notably the lack of information on which interest groups influence governmental decision making.
The government successfully broadened the circle of participants during the action plan’s co-creation, including local and regional stakeholder consultations with groups who had not participated in previous OGP processes. The consultations resulted in new ideas being included in the action plan, such as the regional open government tours or the NGO Academy Day, which provides a platform for civil society actors and government officials to network and learn from each other.
The commitments’ level of ambitionAccording to OGP’s Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should “stretch government practice beyond its current baseline with respect to key areas of open government.” Ambition captures the po... is diverse. While some constitute incremental improvements to the existing situation, the action plan also includes the ambitious commitmentOGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action... of setting up a lobby register to track the participation of interest groups in the government’s and Parliament’s decision-making processes (Commitment 3). If the register that emerges in the planned legislationCreating and passing legislation is one of the most effective ways of ensuring open government reforms have long-lasting effects on government practices. Technical specifications: Act of creating or r... is an obligatory instrument, and encompasses regional and municipal government in its coverage, and if it is accompanied by proper training and mechanisms for sanctioning non-compliance, this commitment could transform government openness in Finland.
Compared to the lack of verifiable milestones in the previous action plan, the fourth plan includes clearer descriptions of the planned activities along with timelines, responsibilities, and measures to assess their implementation. At the action plan’s mid-term review in 2021, the government could supplement activity-level indicators with outcome-level impact indicators to better monitor whether the activities help achieve the intended change in government practices.
Table 2. Noteworthy commitments
|Commitment description||Moving forward||Status at the end of implementation cycle|
|Commitment 3: Transparency Register
Develop a legal basis and an information system to set up Finland’s first lobby register after parliamentary preparation and consultation with civil society.
|During implementation, the Ministry of JusticeTo address barriers that prevent citizens from having their justice needs met, OGP participating governments are working to expand transparency, accountability, and inclusion into all systems of justi... could devote particular attention to securing easy online public access to information from the register and to training officials and lobbyists to use the system. The Ministry could also expand the registration obligation to local and regional levels of government.||Note: this will be assessed at the end of the action plan cycle.|
The IRM recommendations aim to inform the development of the next action plan and guide implementation of the current action plan. Please refer to Section V: General Recommendations for more details on each of the below recommendations.
According to the fourth action plan, the Government of Finland may consider including additional stakeholder suggestions in the action plan after the mid-term evaluation in 2021. Therefore, the key recommendations below aim to inform this mid-term evaluation of the current action plan, as opposed to the development and design of the fifth action plan.
Table 3. Five KEY IRM Recommendations
|Continue and expand the broad stakeholder engagement model used in the co-creation of the fourth action plan.|
|Supplement activity-level implementation indicators of the commitments with outcome-level results and impact indicators.|
|Develop a more systematic approach to improving information understandability and accessibility for groups with special needs.|
|Expand lobby regulation and registration obligation to the local and regional levels.|
|Improve the openness of key datasets on government transparency and anti-corruption.|
Leave a Reply