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Governments for the Future


Change is more a permanent condition than a passing situation. The steering systems and structures of government have to thus work seamlessly, strategically and be agile. The organisations have to be able to be sensitive to change and have foresight in complex environments involving multiple stakeholders. In the Finnish state administration many large reforms and development projects are on the way to develop steering systems, structures, leadership, customer-orientation and a more joint administrative culture.

The Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office with the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra have launched Governments for the Future - project. The project held its kick-off meeting in London 19.6. - 20.6.2012. Five administrations have now been confirmed to participate in the project. The term of the project is 1.2.2012 - 31.1.2014.

Targets and the structure of the project

The goals of the project include with the four other administrations Austria, Scotland, Sweden, UK:

  • to share experiences about the central governments readiness to meet current and future challenges of the society and to map those concrete problems and development challenges that are most central and pivotal and common to the participating administrations;
  • to search through this co-operation for solutions as well as best practices to the main challenges;
  • to review the above-mentioned questions also from the point of view of citizens; and
  • to share internationally information about development work done in Finland to develop central government and political-administrative steering.

The project is divided into two phases. In the first phase (1.2.2012 - 30.5.2013) of the project the task is to map the views of the other participating administrations of what are the main challenges of central government reform and to agree on the challenges that will be included in the joint project. In addition, the task is to produce a summary review of Finnish reforms as background material for the workshops. A similar review will be produced from the other participating administrations. In the workshops the target is to determine what concrete solutions and tools can possibly be found based on the joint experiences of the administrations. Finally, it is essential to dialogue what solutions to these main problems can be found for each administration and what actions these solutions require taking into account the differences that arise from the different administrative customs and culture. Each participating administration will produce a review on the questions relevant to their administration and linked to the themes and will submit the necessary background material for the workshops.

The Ministry of Finance will be responsible for the practical running of the project in the first phase. Sitra will finance the expenses of the Finnish administration in this project. The Ministry of Finance will publish the report from the first phase.

Sitra will run the second phase (1.6.2013 - 31.1.2014) of the project. In the second phase a meta-analysis will be produced based on the administration summary reviews and the reported results of the workshops using the strategic agility framework. Sitra will publish the results of the meta-analysis. It is suggested that a central forum for disseminating the results would be a closing seminar organised jointly with the OECD.   

Themes of the workshops

The series of four meetings will be organized around broad themes of common interest, one theme to be a leading one in each. Preliminarily the following themes have been defined as tentative titles of the meetings:

1. Horizontal policy making and integration of financial and political steering;
2. Improving systematic use of evidence in policy making;
3. Role of the centre of the government; and
4. Innovations and learning capacity.

Cross cutting themes that are relevant to analyze in connection with the four chosen main titles are:

- Obstacles and constraints
- Role of politicians and civil servants/ admin interface
- Short/long term relationship

The meetings will be organised in October 2012 (Helsinki), in November (OECD meeting in Paris), in January 2013, in March 2013 and in May 2013.

Members of the Finnish steering group

Members of the project’s steering group are Director General Teuvo Metsäpelto (Chair, Ministry of Finance), Permanent State Under-Secretary Timo Lankinen (Prime Minister’s Office), President Mikko Kosonen (Sitra), Director Juha Kostiainen (Sitra), Leading Specialist Sari Heinonen (Sitra), Counsellor, Government Programme Monitoring Sirpa Kekkonen (Prime Minister’s Office), Senior Specialist Taina Kulmala (Prime Minister's Office), Financial Counsellor Katju Holkeri (Ministry of Finance), Legislative Counsellor Markus Siltanen (Ministry of Finance) and Assistant Linda Forsman (Ministry of Finance).

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Contact information

Financial Counsellor
Katju Holkeri
tel. +358 295 530087

Legislative Counsellor
Markus Siltanen
tel. +358 295 530263

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