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Finland

Publishing State Procurement Data to Citizens (FI0027)

Overview

IRM Review

IRM Report: Finland Design Report 2017–2019

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Publishing openly in the net the information regarding what the state buys, with what money and from where. The state procurement data will be published in spring 2017 as open data. At the same time an open service will be created with access to everyone and where citizens and businesses can follow almost in real time the use of public money in state procurement. The contents of the service are the public data of procurement where it can be seen what state organisations are procurement and from where.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

5. Publishing state procurement data to citizens

 

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Publishing openly in the net the information regarding what the state buys, with what money and from where. The state procurement data will be published in spring 2017 as open data. At the same time, an open service will be created with access to everyone and where citizens and businesses can follow almost in real time the use of public money in state procurement. The contents of the service are the public data of procurement where it can be seen what state organisations are procurement and from where.”[Note : Finland National Action Plan 2017-2019 (in English), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/finland-national-action-plan-2017-2019-all-languages/.]

Start Date: Not identified              

End Date: Not identified

Context and Objectives

Although Finland ranks among the top 10 countries for the Open-Useful-Reusable Government Data Index,[Note : Open-Useful-Reusable Government Data Index (OURdata), 2017,
https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/government-at-a-glance-2017/open-useful-reusable-government-data-index-ourdata-2017_gov_glance-2017-graph139-en.]
open data on state procurement were not available before spring 2017. The information published under this commitment has been available to everyone in accordance with the Act on the Openness of Government Activities,[Note : Act on the Openness of Government Activities 21.5.1999/621, https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1999/19990621.] but access to these data required a separate request for information from an individual organisation. This publication of state procurement information as open data is thus an innovative endeavour in Finland and internationally.[Note : “Julkiset, avoimet hankinnat,” Juho Pursimo, Analyst for the Finnish government’s central purchasing body Hansel Ltd, https://www.hansel.fi/blogi/2017/11/29/julkiset-avoimet-hankinnat/.]

This commitment aims to make state procurement data truly open and transparent, as well as visualize it in a clear and understandable manner, and to make it easier for individuals and organisations to assess whether the use of public funds is efficient and fit for purpose.[Note : Satu Grekin, Head of Business and Competition Affairs, The Federation of Finnish Enterprises. Email interview 11.02.2019.] The government discloses its procurement data on the level of individual invoices, and the data do not cover, for example, contracts.

Currently, the data cover nearly all government accounting units, except for the Ministry of Defence, whose procurement data are not public.[Note : Finnish Central Government Procurement Spend, open data, https://www.avoindata.fi/data/en_GB/dataset/valtion-virastojen-ostolaskut.] The procurement data are available in non-proprietary open data format, granting it 3/5 stars on the 5-star deployment scheme for Open Data.[Note : 5 Star Open Data, https://5stardata.info/en/.] The database is aimed to be updated weekly, although it seems to be done manually, and thus this target is not always met.[Note : The log of activities shows that the dataset was updated six months ago, then again two months ago, https://www.avoindata.fi/data/en_GB/dataset/activity/valtion-virastojen-ostolaskut.] Additionally, procurement data are visualized on the website Explore State Spending (tutkihankintoja.fi).[Note : Explore State Spending, https://tutkihankintoja.fi/?lang=en.] This website provides accessible information on buyers and suppliers across multiple procurement categories.

Publication of government procurement data as open data was already included under Commitment 2 in Finland’s previous action plan, which was completed in September 2017. The novel part of the present commitment is the addition of the open access service (tutkihankintoja.fi). The government could have increased the ambition of the commitment by independently evaluating the usability and impact of this service and by setting targets to improve its performance. The commitment is concrete and measurable, but because it was partially included in the previous action plan and already implemented, its potential impact is coded as minor.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends collecting feedback from stakeholders and end-users to ensure the continuing development of the visualisation along with the readability and usability of the open data. According to a CSO representative from the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, the current situation is satisfactory.[Note : Satu Grekin, Head of Business and Competition Affairs, The Federation of Finnish Enterprises. Email interview 11.02.2019.] Additionally, the commitment could be expanded to cover the procurement data of municipalities, regions, and incorporated public services.[Note : Tommi Niinimäki, Chairperson of Transparency International Finland, consultation 3.3.2017, p.54, https://avoinhallinto.fi/assets/files/2017/06/Lausuntoyhteenveto-III-toimintaohjelma.pdf.

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IRM End of Term Status Summary

5. Publishing state procurement data to citizens

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Publishing openly in the net the information regarding what the state buys, with what money and from where. The state procurement data will be published in spring 2017 as open data. At the same time, an open service will be created with access to everyone and where citizens and businesses can follow almost in real time the use of public money in state procurement. The contents of the service are the public data of procurement where it can be seen what state organisations are procurement and from where.” [31]

Start Date: Not identified

End Date: Not identified

IRM Design Report Assessment IRM Implementation Report Assessment
  • Verifiable: Yes
  • Relevant: Access to information
  • Potential impact: Minor
  • Completion: Complete
  • Did it Open Government? Major
  • This commitment outlined the Finnish government’s plans to make state procurement data available as open data and make this data accessible through an online service (openprocurement.fi). The procurement activities of the Finnish government are public under the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, excluding strategically sensitive accounting units such as the Ministry of Defence. Government procurement information has previously been available to the public by request only. [32]

    This commitment was completed in September 2017. [33] The publication of procurement data as open data was part of a commitment in Finland’s second action plan (2015-2017), which explains the expeditious completion. [34] The new part of the present commitment is the addition of the online service (openprocurement.fi), which improves the accessibility of the raw data for persons who do not wish to query large datasets themselves. As a result, individuals and organizations are able to access government procurement information without having to submit access to information requests.

    The preliminary results of this commitment in opening government are positive. According to the Head of Business and Competition Affairs of the Finnish Association of Federation of Finnish Enterprises, the open access service has increased confidence in the professionalism of government purchases and the appropriate legal implementation of government procurement processes. [35] Since its commencement, the online service executed by Hansel Ltd has won multiple national and international awards, particularly for its user-friendly interface design. [36] While the 2017-2019 IRM Design Report stressed the overlap between the commitments of the second and third action plans regarding the publishing of procurement data as open data, the addition of a well-executed open access service has ensured the accessibility and usability of this information to both organizations and the general public. This practice could be extended to cover regions and municipalities. [37]

    Through the implementation of this commitment, the Finnish government has improved the accessibility of state procurement information and the channels to disclose it. This marks a major improvement in the status quo.

    [31] Open Government III Action Plan (2017-2019): Finland, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Finland_NAP_2017-2019_EN.pdf [32] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Finland Design Report 2017– 2019, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Finland_Design-Report_2017-2019_EN.pdf [33] Avoimen hallinnon III toimintaohjelman toimeenpano: Julkaistaan valtion hankintatiedot kansalaisille, https://avoinhallinto.fi/toimeenpano/julkaistaan-valtion-hankintatiedot-kansalaisille/ [34] Open Government II Action Plan (2015-2017): Finland, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/OGP_Action_Plan_Finland-2015_2017.pdf; Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Finland Design Report 2017– 2019, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Finland_Design-Report_2017-2019_EN.pdf [35] Satu Grekin, Head of Business and Competition Affairs, The Finnish Association of Federation of Finnish Enterprises, email interview, 10 October 2019. [36] Avoimen hallinnon III toimintaohjelman toimeenpano: Julkaistaan valtion hankintatiedot kansalaisille, https://avoinhallinto.fi/toimeenpano/julkaistaan-valtion-hankintatiedot-kansalaisille/; 2019 Interaction Awards, Best in Category: Facilitating communication between people and communities, http://awards.ixda.org/2019-interaction-awards/; Vuoden huiput 2017, Hopeahuippu: Innovatiivisuus, https://www.vuodenhuiput.fi/fi-FI/arkisto/53047/ [37] Satu Grekin, Head of Business and Competition Affairs, The Finnish Association of Federation of Finnish Enterprises, email interview, 10 October 2019.

    Commitments

    1. Improving Understandability and Inclusion of Government Information

      FI0030, 2019, Capacity Building

    2. Open Government Strategy

      FI0031, 2019, Capacity Building

    3. Register of Government Decision-Making

      FI0032, 2019, Anti-Corruption

    4. Open Data and AI Policy

      FI0033, 2019, Access to Information

    5. Supporting Everyone’s Possibility to Participate.

      FI0023, 2017, E-Government

    6. Clear Government Reforms and Services

      FI0024, 2017, Fiscal Openness

    7. Access to Information on Incorporated Public Services

      FI0025, 2017, Access to Information

    8. Access to Information Knowledge in the Public Administration

      FI0026, 2017, Access to Information

    9. Publishing State Procurement Data to Citizens

      FI0027, 2017, Access to Information

    10. Regional Reform Information

      FI0028, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

    11. Training Regional Administration in Open Government Principles

      FI0029, 2017, Capacity Building

    12. Clear Administration

      FI0019, 2015, E-Government

    13. Government as an Enabler

      FI0020, 2015, Access to Information

    14. Open Procedures

      FI0021, 2015, Access to Information

    15. Engage Children, Youth, Elderly

      FI0022, 2015, Open Regulations

    16. Enhancing the Openness of Preparatory Processes

      FI0001, 2013, E-Government

    17. Emphasizing Dialogue Skills in the Job Descriptions of Civil Servants

      FI0002, 2013, Capacity Building

    18. Strengthening Proactive Publishing and Communication

      FI0003, 2013, Capacity Building

    19. Promoting Participatory Budgeting

      FI0004, 2013, Fiscal Openness

    20. Increasing Openness and Customer Orientation in ICT and e-Services Development

      FI0005, 2013, E-Government

    21. Increasing the Number of Open and Online Meetings

      FI0006, 2013, E-Government

    22. Standard Language Titles and Resumes Will Be Drafted of the Government Proposals.

      FI0007, 2013, Capacity Building

    23. Visualization of Decisions

      FI0008, 2013, E-Government

    24. Training Will Be Organised for Civil Servants in Use of Clear Language and Plain Language In- Cluding Committing to Use of Terms Already Known.

      FI0009, 2013, Capacity Building

    25. The Comprehensibility of the Texts Produced by Public Administration Will Be Tested To- Gether with Citizens and Service Users.

      FI0010, 2013, Capacity Building

    26. Standardizing and Clarifying the Terms and Concepts Used in Public Administration and Ser- Vice Production.

      FI0011, 2013, Capacity Building

    27. The Comprehensibility of Customer Letters and Decisions Will Be Enhanced, Especially When Using Standard Texts.

      FI0012, 2013, Capacity Building

    28. Opening and Publishing New Data and Changing Existing Open Data Into a Machine- Readable Form.

      FI0013, 2013, Access to Information

    29. Clear Terms for Use of for Open Data and Knowledge

      FI0014, 2013, Access to Information

    30. Strengthening Skills Needed to Understand Combining Privacy and Open Data and Strength- Ening the Citizen’S Right to His/Her Own Personal Information “The Right to Be Anonymous”

      FI0015, 2013, Access to Information

    31. Tearing Down Barriers of Action of the Civil Society

      FI0016, 2013, Capacity Building

    32. The Proactive Presence and Accessibility of Civil Servants

      FI0017, 2013, Capacity Building

    33. Providing Tools and Training to Organizations

      FI0018, 2013, Capacity Building

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