A new English language report explains how the
municipal system functions in Finland
JHL (11.11.2010 - Juhani Artto) Municipalities play a big role in the lives
of Finns. This is primarily due to the vast responsibilities municipalities
have in organizing basic education and health care, social and many other
vital services citizens need at various stages of their lives.
How all this is organized is outlined in a new English language
publication, published by the Government Institute for Economic Research
VATT. The 65-page pdf-file can be loaded
According to VATT the publication is the most comprehensive English language
report on municipal finances in Finland. The report is written not only for
readers abroad but the authors believe that the material -an updated study-
will be useful reading also for many Finns.
The importance of municipalities as central service providers is well
reflected in the fact that some18 per cent of GDP is spent by the
municipalities. And, also we need to remember, that one fifth of the working
population are employed by the municipalities.
At the beginning of 2010 there were 342 municipalities. Thus the average
size of municipalities is rather small as Finland has only 5.3 million
A special feature of the Finnish municipal system is that municipalities,
located close to each other, are accustomed to forming so-called joint
authorities. This enables even the smallest municipalities to carry out
their statutory obligations to provide a variety of services. In January
2010 there were 226 joint authorities.
As to the future of the municipalities many important questions remain open.
These are discussed in the new VATT report. It also contains useful
The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL is the largest union
among the municipal employees.
Antti Moisio, Heikki A.Loikkanen, Lasse Oulasvirta:
Public services at the local level - The Finnish way, VATT Policy Report