Sitra surprised by the interest in service centres shown by municipalities
A total of 81 municipalities and 15 federations of municipalities have to date joined in the negotiations on establishing two service centres that will centralise information technology and financial and personnel management. The population of the municipalities that have committed to the negotiations covers half the country.
A total of 81 municipalities and 15 federations of municipalities have to date joined in the negotiations initiated by Sitra on establishing two national service centres that will centralise information technology and financial and personnel management.
The population of the municipalities that have committed to the negotiations covers half the country. The figure exceeded expectations.
At the start of October, Sitra’s Municipal Programme asked the municipalities to commit to the negotiations within one month. The interest caused by the invitation to take part in the negotiations surprised Sitra. Furthermore, 14 municipalities have requested a two-week extension for submitting a response, and this has been granted.
“The municipalities have clearly understood the considerable opportunities that could be gained from the integrated development and implementation of IT as well as personnel and financial management services”, says Executive Director Antti Kivelä.
The aim of the negotiations is to reach a decision on establishing two joint-stock service centres in spring 2010, which will be owned by the municipalities. The first services should be in production by the middle of next year.
Combining forces will create savings and a better service
As a result of the service centres, the overlapping work of the municipalities will be cut and the provision of information technology in the municipal sector will be enhanced. According to Sitra’s calculations, the improvement in productivity will reduce the expenditure of the municipalities involved by EUR 4–4.5 billion in 2010–2015.
“Genuine savings can be achieved if service processes are developed in an integrated way,” says Kivelä. The reorganisation of municipalities’ support functions will make it possible to direct resources from administration to care services and other core functions.
The negotiations will be carried out on the basis of business plans that Sitra drew up at the start of the year in cooperation with over 20 municipalities and federations of municipalities as well as with the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and the state. The municipality-specific negotiations will consider how and which services to be offered by the national service centre will meet the needs of each municipality or federation of municipalities.
The limited companies to be established will be owned entirely by the municipalities. Each municipality will pay a sum of money based on the population for its share in the company. The payment will be EUR 1–2 per capita.