Statements on government proposals
The Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis is tasked with issuing statements on government proposals and on their regulatory impact assessments. The Council may also issue statements on the impact assessments of other draft legislation, including significant decree-level provisions or the regulatory impacts of EU legislation. The Council does not conduct impact assessments, but it analyses the assessments that have been conducted and makes suggestions for improving impact assessments. The Council issues 20 to 30 statements each year.
Impact assessments related to legislative drafting provide information about the impacts of different regulatory options. The aim is to provide decision-makers with reliable information about the different options and their consequences. Good impact assessments contribute to better regulation.
The Council is an impartial and independent body. It selects the government proposals on which it will give a statement. The Council's work is based on guidance that has been issued and is being updated on a regular basis on how the impacts of legislative drafting and proposals should be assessed.
The analyses are not binding on the ministries. If a government proposal has been considered by the Council, a note of this procedure will be made under the item 'preparation of the matter'. The proposal must also include a mention of how the Council's statement has been taken into account. The statements issued by the Council are public.
The Council analyses how the impacts of draft legislation have been assessed. The Council adopts a holistic perspective for the analysis, and in its statements takes into account the economic and environmental impacts and impacts on public authorities, as well as other societal impacts.
The Council may put forward proposals for improving the quality of legislative drafting and, following the entry into force of statutes, assess whether the impact of legislation has been as intended. The Council will submit a report of its activities every year.
Submitting government proposals for analysis
The draft government proposal is sent to the Registry of the Prime Minister’s Office ([email protected]) and to the Council’s secretariat ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected]). The proposal submitted for analysis should be as final as possible, which means that any modifications that arose from the consultations should also be included. A draft proposal that is submitted for analysis is a public document. The period of about four weeks for conducting the analysis begins when the government proposal arrives at the Registry. The processing time varies on a case-by-case basis, depending on the scope of the proposal and the Council’s workload.
Cooperation with administration
The Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis discusses the quality of legislative drafting with the meeting of permanent secretaries. The Council consults the meeting of permanent secretaries on projects that are considered particularly important and informs the meeting about its general observations concerning the development of legislation.
The Council and its secretariat meet with representatives of the government ministries on a regular basis. Typical topics discussed at these meetings include the Council’s general observations on legislative drafting and impact assessments. The Council has also received some feedback of a general nature on its activities and statements.
During the present and previous government term, the Council’s secretariat has regularly attended the meetings of the working group on streamlining legislation. The knowledge network for impact assessment, established quite recently, is chaired by a Senior Adviser for Regulatory Impact Analysis. Senior Advisers for Regulatory Impact Analysis also serve as expert members in the process to reform the impact assessment guidelines, and they have participated as experts in the activities of the working group for improving law drafting. In addition, the Council was represented in the working group of the Ministry of Justice tasked with the preparation of the new instructions for drafting government proposals (HELO).
The Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis joined the umbrella organisation of its European sister bodies RegWatchEurope at the very start of its work in summer 2016. In RegWatchEurope the focus is on influencing the work done in the EU and on cooperation with OECD. The Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis chaired RegWatchEurope in 2019. The outcome of Finland’s chairmanship was assessed in the Annual Review 2019.
The Council’s chair Leila Kostiainen and its secretariat have attended many events and meetings related to the activities of RegWatchEurope. Cooperation with other European councils has offered excellent opportunities for peer learning and increased contacts with international expert bodies working on better regulation.