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Finland

Training Regional Administration in Open Government Principles (FI0029)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Finland National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: NA

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Finland Design Report 2017–2019

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Updating the open government principles in co-operation to also cover the regional administration actors. The material from the open government support package is used in the training as is also especially the experiences and practices of the region’s municipalities.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

7. Organising training to actors of the regional administration about open government principles and ways of working.

 

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

“Updating the open government principles in co-operation to also cover the regional administration actors.

The material from the open government support package is used in the training as is also especially the experiences and practices of the region’s municipalities.”[Note : Finland National Action Plan 2017-2019 (in English), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/finland-national-action-plan-2017-2019-all-languages/.]

Start Date: N/A

End Date: N/A

Context and Objectives

This commitment seeks to provide regional authorities with information and ways of working for improving participation and influencing opportunities for citizens and making these opportunities user friendly. The commitment seeks to expand principles of open government to cover new administrative structures created by the Regional Government, Health and Social Services Reform. The training package on these issues is organised by the Association of Local and Regional Authorities from March 2018 to December 2019.[Note : Avoin hallinto -uutiskirje/Kesäkuu 2018 https://avoinhallinto.fi/assets/files/2018/07/Uutiskirje-kes%C3%A4kuu-2018.pdf] This commitment aims to make use of the best practices and results documented in the open government support package.

The commitment aims to ensure inclusion of regional actors in open government once the regional reform has been implemented. It concerns the inner workings of the government and lacks a public-facing element. Overall, the commitment is not directly relevant to OGP values, as it does not elaborate on the goals of open government cooperation or the training. Therefore, as written, it is unclear what the potential impact this commitment could have in terms of opening government practice.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends either not carrying the commitment forward or increasing the ambition of the commitment by using any new regional administrative structures as a flagship for OGP values and activities.[Note : Minna Sirnö, Head of Arts Promotion Centre Finland, consultation 3.3.2017, p. 24, https://avoinhallinto.fi/assets/files/2017/06/Lausuntoyhteenveto-III-toimintaohjelma.pdf.] The ways of working of the regional administration could be based on and mounted to OGP values. If the commitment is carried forward, the government could ensure that it has a clear public-facing element along with specific measurements and milestones that are relevant to OGP values.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

7. Organizing training to actors of the regional administration about open government principles and ways of working.

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

“Updating the open government principles in co-operation to also cover the regional administration actors.

The material from the open government support package is used in the training as is also especially the experiences and practices of the region’s municipalities.” [47]

Start Date: Not identified

End Date: Not identified

IRM Design Report Assessment IRM Implementation Report Assessment
  • Verifiable: Yes
  • Relevant: Unclear
  • Potential impact: None
  • Completion: Complete
  • Did it Open Government? Did not change
  • This commitment related to the Finnish government’s plans to expand open government principles and ways of working to cover regional administrative structures created by the Regional Reform. This reform was interrupted by a change of government in spring 2019, but the pilot regions continue to exist as local strategic partnerships. As noted in the 2017-2019 IRM Design Report, the commitment was not directly relevant to OGP values, as it lacked an explicitly stated public-facing component. [48]

    As part of this commitment, the Finnish government organized open government training in four out of eight pilot regions in co-operation with the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. [49] The government also updated its existing open government principles to cover regional administration actors. [50] At the end of the implementation period, the status of this commitment was fully completed.

    The impact of the outlined measures on access to information, civic participation, or public accountability is difficult to verify. [51] While the government and region-level communication and civic participation possibilities during the Regional Reform were generally perceived positively, [52] the implementation of this commitment did not lead to demonstrable changes in open government. In one of the pilot regions, a working group overseeing the development of regional democracy and participation sought to establish regional participatory bodies (including councils and advisory boards for young people, elderly people, and persons with disabilities) after the Regional Reform was discontinued. However, the regional steering group decided that establishing such bodies was not possible due to the absence of sufficient resources. [53] This lack of resources has led to significant job losses and other cost-saving measures in regional administration, following the discontinuation of the Regional Reform. [54] In terms of this commitment, the lack of government success to pass the public sector reform, combined with the lack of clear problem-solution framing in the commitment text, contributed to its limited results.

    By implementing this commitment, the Finnish government created limited participation opportunities to inform and engage citizens during the Regional Reform. However, because these measures were limited to this now-defunct reform, they have not improved the status quo.

    [47] Open Government III Action Plan (2017-2019): Finland, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Finland_NAP_2017-2019_EN.pdf [48] 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 [49] Avoimen hallinnon III toimintaohjelman toimeenpano: Järjestetään maakuntahallinnon toimijoille koulutusta avoimen hallinnon periaatteista ja toimintatavoista, https://avoinhallinto.fi/toimeenpano/jarjestetaan-maakuntahallinnon-toimijoille-koulutusta-avoimen-hallinnon-periaatteista-ja-toimintatavoista/; Johanna Nurmi, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Finance (Finland), 6 February 2019. [50] Johanna Nurmi, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Finance (Finland), 6 February 2019. [51] Paula Karppinen, Regional Development Manager, Kainuu Region, 9 November 2019. [52] Transparency International – Finland, 30 October 2019; Paula Karppinen, Regional Development Manager, Kainuu Region, 9 November 2019. [53] Paula Karppinen, Regional Development Manager, Kainuu Region, 9 November 2019. [54] ‘Pohjois-Karjalan Siun sote -kuntayhtymä aloittaa yt-neuvottelut, vähennystarve 200 henkilötyövuotta’, Helsingin Sanomat, 31 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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