The Prime Minister’s Office: One of Finland’s most significant digitalization projects

VAHVA harmonized case management procedures and policies in ministries. Having just one system instead of sixteen saves approximately 12 million euros in development costs and an additional one million euros every year in labour and maintenance costs. VAHVA supports flow of information and cooperation between ministries in a completely new and profound way.

Data is not accessible to all

The Finnish Government has been using several ministry and function specific systems with varied functionalities for case and document management.  

It is essential for the work of the Finnish Government that up-to-date information is available to all relevant stakeholders at all times. For example, the Ministry of the Interior is already digitally advanced. However, parts of the Ministry have not been using a joint digital system or online services. 

Previously, interaction between the sixteen systems has not been possible. Information that is relevant for the Finnish Government’s functioning and decision-making has been inaccessible and slow to retrieve. Some of the systems have been out-of-date and expensive to maintain. 

“Were not just deploying a new tool, but essentially transforming everyday work and activities. One of our biggest challenges is making those transformations part of our culture.” Suvi Albert, Program Manager, Prime Minister’s Office, Government Administration Department 

 

The new digital era in the Finnish Ministries

Build a shared, user-oriented case management system VAHVA for the Finnish Government and make information – not the organization, system or an individual civil servant – central.  

Create joint procedures. As case management becomes consistent across ministries, the processes tangent to case management harmonize as well. Information moves quickly across organizational boundaries and the civil servants can focus on the substance of their work. 

Creating a single, shared system creates extensive savings: one million euros annually in labour costs (from 2020 onwards) and 12 million euros in the former systems’ development and maintenance costs (between 2016–2019). 

“Many were doubtful of this project and suspected we wouldn’t be able to move forward and finish in time. It was a great moment of pride when we completed phase 1 on time and on budget.” Janne Kerkelä, Director General, Prime Minister’s Office, Government Administration Department 

The Finnish Government’s shared case management system VAHVA, based on Public 360° solution, will be developed in 2017–2020

1A phase of VAHVA was deployed in May 2018 in the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defence. 

VAHVA deployments will be done in four phases. In the second phase, a mobile client and a light functionality for managing meetings will be added. In the third phase (spring 2019) Finnish Government’s current decision-making system will be replaced and the transition to electronic services will be complete in late 2019. In 2020, classified ST3-level data will be brought into the system. In the final phase, EU data and materials will be added. 

“The system is very different compared to the systems we formerly used. Our aim was not to digitalize a paper process, but to bring information to the center.”, Albert says. 

The Finnish Government’s joint case management system VAHVA, based on Public 360° solution, will be developed in 2017–2020. 

13 million euros in savings 

Having just one system instead of sixteen saves approximately 12 million euros in development costs and an additional one million euros every year in labour and maintenance costs.  

Accessible and consistent data 

Quality of data is consistent and data is accessible across organizations. VAHVA supports flow of information and cooperation between ministries in a completely new and profound way. 

The Prime Minister’s Office is one of Finland’s 12 ministries. Together the 12 ministries form the Finnish Government. 
The Prime Minister’s Office supports the Prime Minister and the Government in the planning of Government matters and related decision-making. The Office is responsible for practical arrangements relating to decision-making by the President of the Republic and the Government, as well as for the joint administrative and service functionsof the government and its ministries. 
The duties of the Prime Minister’s Office include the coordination of EU affairs in Finland, government communications, state ownership steering, translating legislation and developing ministries’ administrative and service functions.

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