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National service centres for municipalities

Sitra suggests that the IT, HR and financial administration services of municipalities and municipal federations should be organised within service centres owned by the municipalities. One company would focus on IT services and the development of electronic services. Another would develop financial and HR processes and management reporting.

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Sitra suggests that the IT, HR and financial administration services of municipalities and municipal federations should be organised within service centres owned by the municipalities. One company would focus on IT services and the development of electronic services. Another would develop financial and HR processes and management reporting.

In the first half of this year, Sitra has co-operated with more than 20 municipalities and municipal federations as well as the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and the state administration to the effect that the team responsible for planning service centres can now provide business plans for two national service centres.

Reorganisation of support functions for municipalities will make it possible to steer resources from administration to social and medical services and other core functions.

On 1 October 2009, the Sitra Municipal Programme will organise a seminar at the Finlandia Hall for higher municipal officials and elected officials as well as central municipal opinion leaders and experts. The purpose of the seminar is to provide information on the service centres.

From a myriad of systems to joint development

The IT service centre offers a shared integration platform with open interfaces, enabling the IT systems of municipalities and municipal federations to interact. Both existing and new solutions and services, used by one municipality or shared by several, can be connected to the platform. A service centre will have improved purchasing power and a better position when negotiating new purchases. The service centre will also provide municipalities with centralised user and development support.

Focused support functions will improve the quality of the services and control the increase of costs. The aim is to support the improvement of processes and information systems, enabling more efficient electronic services. Municipalities will perform less overlapping tasks, and municipal IT services will be easier to organise.

Comparable information from consistent reporting

The biggest single benefit of the financial and HR service centre will be the availability of standardised, valid information on the expenses and revenues of municipalities to be used in the planning and decision-making processes. Examples of these include management reporting services.

Valid, comparable and current information and forecasts of the municipal economy help create an overall picture of the status of a municipality. The economies of scale, development of best practices and cost savings resulting from lighter administrative structures will release resources for municipal core functions.

Negotiations to be launched

The corporations to be established will be owned by municipalities alone. Each municipality will pay a sum of money based on its population. The payment will be EUR 1–2 per capita. Involvement is fully voluntary. Shareholding municipalities are also free to purchase services from other service providers.

Presently, negotiations with municipalities and municipal federations on whether they wish to join the corporations to be established next spring are being launched based on the business plans. Municipalities must respond to Sitra’s invitation by the end of October. The negotiations are expected to last six months.

Sitra has carried out preliminary negotiations with financers on the capitalisation of the corporations. Sitra will also function as a partner for the corporation owned by municipalities. The location, personnel and composition of the board, among other things, will be jointly decided on by the municipalities acting as founding shareholders.

The operation of the service centres will be coordinated with the service efficiency programme of the 20 biggest municipalities and the electronic services and democracy programme (the SADe programme) of the Ministry of Finance.

The municipalities and municipal federations included in the preparation of business plans for the service centres are: Espoo, Helsinki, Hämeenlinna, Imatra, Jyväskylä, Jämsä, Kaarina, Kajaani, Kotka, Kouvola, Kuopio, Kuusamo, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Mikkeli, Oulu, Pello, Raasepori, Raisio, Rovaniemi, Tampere, Turku, Vaasa, and Vantaa.

Further information

Kimmo Haahkola, Business Director
Tel. +358 50 380 8603, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi
Kari-Mikael Markkanen, Development Director
Tel. +358 40 552 9534, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi
Antti Kivelä, Executive Director
Tel. +358 40 482 7435, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi
Johanna Pellinen, Communications Manager
Tel. +358 40 561 2551, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi

Information is also available from the speakers giving comments in the seminar of 1 October 2009
Comments on information management:
Teppo Sulonen, Director, Information Management, City of Tampere
Markku Lumio, Mayor, City of Vaasa
Comments on financial and HR administration:
Ari Mäkinen, CFO, City of Turku
Heikki Nuutinen, Financial Director, City of Kuopio

For more information on the project and the progress of negotiations, see also www.sitra.fi/kunta .

Published