The core values in central government communications are openness, reliability, impartiality, intelligibility, interactivity and service-mindedness. These values should be taken into consideration daily when planning and executing communications.
Preparations and decision making must be open and transparent. Public authorities are expected to report on their activities proactively and on a timely basis. Public authorities are encouraged to disseminate information on their work products widely.
- Openness stems from the organisational culture. Bold initiatives and the example set by management help encourage the whole work community.
- By engaging experts in public debate, government organisations become better-known to the public.
- Openness makes public administration more transparent and intelligible.
- Key public documents produced by public authorities must be available online and be actively utilised for communications purposes. Before any documents are released, attention must be given to the protection of privacy and confidentiality.
- Public authorities supply open data for public use. This in turn opens possibilities for new services. Open data also makes it easier to evaluate the activities of public authorities.
- When information is published authorities must comply with copyright regulations and the recommendations on the use of open-source licensed software.
Reliability is at the very basis of all authorities’ activities. All information that is disseminated must be accurate, clear and adequate. Neutrality and impartiality are the cornerstones of communications.
- Trust in authorities’ communications is earned every day. Information on each matter is given by the competent authority.
- Reliability should not be compromised at the cost of speed.
- Any significant misinterpretations by the public must be promptly corrected.
- Availability of accurate authoritative information needs to be guaranteed online.
Different viewpoints are taken into consideration equally in communications. Communications serves all stakeholders equitably.
- Citizens, organisations and companies must have a fair chance to form a general view of each issue at hand. Different viewpoints, the background to issues and the impact of decisions need to be communicated. Public authorities must also tolerate critical discussion.
- Different media channels are used in various ways in order to ensure equitable communications. For example, using the social media as the only means of communications is generally not sufficient.
- By making sure online services are e-accessible and readily available, we provide citizens with equal opportunities to act and be involved.
- Communications must be equal in terms of language. All relevant information produced by public authorities must be available in both Finnish and Swedish. Consideration must also be given to the language-related rights of the Sámi and those using sign language.
- Authorities must be prepared to communicate in a wider range of languages to ensure access to information by foreign nationals residing in Finland.
- The need to communicate in plain language or simplified Finnish is also more common than before.
Public authorities must ensure the language used is clear, appropriate and understandable. The prerequisite of successful communications is intelligibility.
- A clear and appropriate language is a basic skill required of all public officials. Organisations must remember to make sure these skills are maintained.
- Citizens have the right to access public information related to them in a form that they can easily understand. This is a fundamental point of legal protection.
- The target group and the objective are taken into account in decisions on the ways of communicating.
- Visual elements help make communications easier to understand and raise interest. High-quality graphics, images, video clips and animations are powerful tools that help clarify messages.
Communications are inherently interactive. This means being receptive to new things: the wider the discussion and cooperation before and during preparation, the better the outcome.
- New technology and the shared democracy e-services (demokratia.fi) open possibilities to engage with citizens and other stakeholders. These are an important asset for organisations.
- Interaction before and during preparations makes it easier to execute things swiftly. Inviting feedback on execution and communications helps assess the impact of the communications.
- Public authorities use social media in their work. They should be visible on the forums where people are present and active.
Communications are service-minded. Open public communications are an essential part of the services that public authorities provide.
- Public authorities must be able to recognise target groups and their expectations. Communications should raise interest and be timely.
- Service-mindedness is highlighted in all interaction.
- Experts must be reachable on all issues for which they are responsible.
- Experts give interviews and supply background information to the media.