How to achieve citizen-focused decision-making?

Opportunities offered by digital solutions in the development of the legislative process


Lea Konttinen, Jenni Ala-Peijari, Markku Harrinvirta, Henna Hiilamo and Anna Välimaa



Sitra has compiled an extensive and internationally rare, comprehensive and combined dataset on the legislative process of the government and Parliament. This publication is based on the analysis, modelling and the conclusions of this dataset, as well as on several dozen interviews with officials, MPs and members of the public. The aim is to give as clear and complete picture of how laws are made in Finland and how the legislative process could be made smoother.

This study, the related analysis and the conclusions highlight the voice of the people. We examine how the management of the legislative process could be made more systematic and knowledge-based. People’s needs, opinions and opportunities to participate must be better integrated into the different stages of the legislative process.

It is the task of public authorities to promote the openness of decision-making, public participation and engagement. These roles can be developed, for example, by using digital tools linked to the legislative process. New digital solutions could promote transparency and facilitate the legislative process and decision-making.

In this study, we present the idea of a service that would allow the public to follow the course of the legislative process. This is a prototype that illustrates how citizen engagement in legislation could be put into practice.

However, point solutions alone are not enough: government needs to develop the performance and manageability of the legislative process as an integrated whole. This requires the public authorities to have a holistic understanding of the legislative process and the opportunities presented by digital solutions.

Our recommendation is to develop the legislative process towards a citizen-centred culture. The public must be able to participate in decision-making other than by merely voting in elections. Monitoring laws and participating in decision-making should be made easy for people. In addition, a range of democratic innovations need to be integrated into the legislative process.

The constitutional rights of people to participate in decision-making and be informed about the legislative process must be strengthened by government, Parliament and the administration. The latter must actively inform the public about the progress of the legislative process in a way that enables people to understand when they can influence decision-making.

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Miten päätöksenteosta tehdään kansalaislähtöistä?


Digitaalisuuden mahdollisuudet lainsäädäntöprosessin kehittämisessä


Lea Konttinen, Jenni Ala-Peijari, Markku Harrinvirta, Henna Hiilamo and Anna Välimaa

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Sitra studies

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