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Finland

Open Government Strategy (FI0031)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Finland Action Plan 2019-2023

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Finland Design Report 2019-2023, Finland Implementation Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Open government actions have previously been taken in Finland based on two-year action plans. The action plans have been founded on commitments and practical support measures. The Open Government Strategy will determine the direction of the work in the long term and the objectives that will be used as the basis of building future action plans. The Open Government Strategy will be used to promote stronger trust between citizens and the government.

The Open Government Strategy and its preparation will contribute to all four OGP initiatives (transparency, citizen participation, accountability and technology & innovation).

Preparation of Open Government Strategy of Finland
The Open Government Strategy will be prepared as part of the public administration strategy that is mentioned in the Government Programme of Prime Minister Rinne. The Open Government Strategy will constitute one of the chapters of this strategy. The Open Government Strategy will be prepared alongside the Action Plan on Democracy Policy.

The strategic work will take into account the changes in the operational environment, which will concern electronic services, communication and exchange of opinions in particular. Developing digital connections
will, on the one hand, introduce new opportunities for communication, action, participation and influence, but on the other hand they are channels that make it possible to actively erode decision-making processes and trust, with means including the spreading false information, cyber attacks and harassment of system operations.

As part of the strategic work, it will also be explored how improved strategic observation of civil society in the work of the various ministries could be realised and when the profit goals are monitored and profitability measured. As part of the strategic open government activities, support is offered for the preparatory work of the ministries’ NGO strategies and their updates. NGOs report that ministries with existing strategies have achieved good results. The regional rounds mentioned in Commitment 1 are also used for dialogue on the open government strategy.

The openness training that will be prepared on eOppiva will be used for communications and dialogue on the strategy.

The Open Government Strategy is also one of the OECD recommendations on open government.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

2. Open Government Strategy

Main Objective

“Open government actions have previously been taken in Finland based on two-year action plans. The action plans have been founded on commitments and practical support measures. The Open Government Strategy will determine the direction of the work in the long term and the objectives that will be used as the basis of building future action plans. The Open Government Strategy will be used to promote stronger trust between citizens and the government.”

Milestones

Preparation of Open Government Strategy of Finland. The Open Government Strategy will be prepared as part of the public administration strategy and alongside the Action Plan on Democracy Policy. As part of the strategic work, it will also be explored how improved strategic observation of civil society in the work of the various ministries could be realized. Support is offered for the preparatory work of the ministries’ NGO strategies and their updates. The regional rounds and openness trainings mentioned in Commitment 1 will be used for dialogue on the open government strategy.

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Finland’s action plan at https://avoinhallinto.fi/assets/files/2019/09/ENGLANTI_Avoin-hallinto_IV_toimintaohjelma_FINAL_240919-1.pdf.

Commitment Analysis
The action plan states that open government activities in Finland have so far been driven by practical support measures in two-year OGP action plans but lack a long-term strategic vision. The government, therefore, plans to adopt an open government strategy as part of its public administration strategy, which would become the basis for future OGP action plans. This is the first time an overarching open government strategy would be created in Finland. According to the Ministry of Finance, the strategy is planned for a 10-year timeframe, but the strategy may be renewed and updated in five years depending on developments in society. [29] As the strategy’s goals and priorities will be determined as a result of consultations with different ministries, government agencies, and civil society stakeholders, the commitment is relevant to the OGP value of civic participation.

According to the action plan, several ministries have civil society strategies to guide their cooperation with CSOs and citizens. The new open government strategy is intended to support these ministry-level strategies by setting common longer-term goals for the development of open government more broadly. [30] The Ministry of Justice regards a coherent strategy as a useful tool for the whole administration. According to Niklas Wilhelmsson, the Ministry of Justice regularly engages external stakeholders in their work but still has room for improvement in developing public services in closer collaboration with the public. [31] Wilhelmsson believes a common strategy would facilitate disseminating good engagement practices more widely within the administration and help find new ways of communicating with citizens and stakeholders. The development of a common open government strategy, therefore, could support a more systematic approach to fostering government openness. However, the impact of this strategy will largely depend on the issues that it will address, the ambition of the goals set for the next 10 years, and the monitoring mechanisms that are put in place to ensure implementation.

Although the priorities of the strategy and its mechanics of implementation are yet to be determined at the time of writing, the Ministry of Finance has started collecting stakeholder input for the strategy. A public consultation has been launched on the otakantaa.fi platform [32] and ideas are being solicited from CSOs during the regional meetings conducted as part of Commitment 1. The strategy will also be discussed in the Open Government working group. [33]

[29] Email communication with Katju Holkeri, 26 April 2020.
[30] Ibid.
[31] Interview with Niklas Wilhelmsson, Ministry of Justice, 20 April 2020.
[33] Email communication with Katju Holkeri, 26 April 2020.

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, Public Participation

  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

Open Government Partnership