Ministries’ Permanent and State Secretaries discuss digitalisation of public administration in a joint meeting at the House of the Estates
On Monday 25 October, the Permanent Secretaries and State Secretaries of the ministries met for their first joint meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In their meeting at the House of the Estates, they discussed the state of play and objectives with regard to digitalisation in public administration.
In his opening speech, State Secretary Henrik Haapajärvi from the Prime Minister’s Office noted that the public sector can play a variety of roles in promoting the digital transformation in Finland. As the population ages and the need for services increases, digitalisation should be used to improve the productivity of work. At the same time, it is important to make sure that digital services for citizens are user-friendly. One of the key issues in the coming years will be artificial intelligence and ensuring that it is used ethically. Haapajärvi stated that Finland needs a shared vision for advancing the digital transformation.
During the meeting, the Permanent and State Secretaries also heard the views of various experts. In international comparisons, Finland is among the leading countries in the world when it comes to the use of digitalisation. That said, development and international competition are accelerating, which means we need to work continuously to develop our competence and sustainable infrastructure. We must also support the digital transformation of businesses and work towards the citizen-driven digitalisation of public services that takes different groups of people into account.
The Government Programme sets several goals with regard to the digital transformation and the data economy, and a number of projects are under way to achieve them. Nevertheless, we still need to strengthen cooperation and coordination in this arena. The discussions noted that Finland needs both a common strategic vision and concrete steps. When drafting legislation on digitalisation, particular attention must be paid to information security and anticipating the future operating environment. We must also ensure that sufficient resources are in place for developing digitalisation over the long term, maintaining solutions and strengthening our competence.
Ministerial Working Group promotes digitalisation in public administration
The meeting of Permanent Secretaries and State Secretaries helped lay the groundwork for the new Ministerial Working Group on Developing the Digital Transformation, the Data Economy and Public Administration, which was appointed in September. The working group will be responsible for guiding and directing the development of public administration, the digital transformation, the data economy and information policy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the movement towards digitalisation. According to the sustainability roadmap drawn up by Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government, digitalisation is one of the main ways we can increase public sector productivity and achieve cost-effectiveness.
One of the tasks of the ministerial working group is to draw up an assessment of the current situation and a vision for digitalisation in Finland. This work is in line with the goals of the European Digital Strategy, which seeks to harness digitalisation to serve people and businesses and support the objective of making Europe climate-neutral by 2050.
The ministerial working group will be chaired by Minister of Local Government Sirpa Paatero in matters concerning public administration. In other matters, Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka will serve as Chair until March 2022, followed by Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä until the end of September 2022.
Inquiries: Henrik Haapajärvi, State Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, tel. +358 9 1602 2006
Laura Eiro, Director General, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 295 342 166
Jarkko Levasma, Government Chief Information Officer, Director General, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 295 530 117