The proposed new ICT strategy for public administration was presented to Henna Virkkunen, Minister of Public Administration and Local Government, on 17 October 2012. The strategy is the first of its kind. The vision in the strategy reaches to 2020, and policy approaches and measure to the end of 2015.
'It is excellent to see that we now have a comprehensive compilation of the usage of ICT in both central and local government for the first time. In the public sector, annual expenditure for ICT totals close to EUR 2 billion, so from the viewpoint of society it is well worth putting it to best use', Virkkunen commented.
The strategy highlights why smoothly functioning ICT is crucial for the operation and development of public administration.
'Finland is a leading country in public sector ICT but there is still much to be done, especially in terms of interoperability and customer-orientation. By making even better use of ICT, we can improve both service quality and productivity considerably. It is especially important to develop services in closer collaboration with end users', the Minister observed.
The objective in the proposed ICT strategy is for central and local government to better utilise technology and bring services and information close to individual users, business enterprises and administration. By the time the objective will have been reached in 2020, services and data will be safely and easily accessible and available in various ways.
The strategy proposes the setting up of a platform to enable experimentation in service development, establishing a cluster of excellence and launching public sector ICT training programmes involving open information. Work related to IT management structures in public administration will also be examined.
With its ten action plan proposals, the strategy aims for instance to reduce risks related to large ICT projects, accelerate projects involving information systems and service development and to promote the adoption of innovative solutions or solutions arrived at elsewhere both in central and local government. The aim in bringing ICT infrastructure together under one umbrella is to achieve cost savings.
The proposed strategy draws on the objectives in the Government Programme for utilising information and communications technology, supporting the Government's structural policy measures, such as the reform in local government structures and the effectiveness and productivity programme.
In January 2012 the Ministry of Finance set up a project to devise a strategy for the utilisation of common ICT throughout public administration. The formulation of the strategy was chaired by the Ministry of Finance as an open process, with hundreds of people from public administration, from business enterprises and from NGOs taking part. The preparatory project included a steering group consisting of representatives from the ministries, the Social Insurance Institution and the municipalities. The steering group was chaired by Mr Timo Valli, Director General of Public Sector ICT, Ministry of Finance.
A consultation round will be organised in October and November. Based on this proposal and the consultation feedback, the Government will endorse a public sector ICT strategy in early 2013.