ELEMENTS OF THE ETHICS INFRASTRUCTURE : Civil
Service Ethics for UPSC Exams
ELEMENTS OF THE ETHICS INFRASTRUCTURE
5.1 Norms guiding administration and civil servants
The actions and conduct of civil servants are primarily governed by the
Constitution of Finland, the State Civil Servants’ Act, the Administrative
Procedure Act, the Act on Openness of Government Activities, the Act on Equality
between Women and Men and the Act on Public Procurements. The Penal Code
provides for the criminal liability of civil servants and the employees of
public corporations. In addition to these, the general principles of
administrative law are significant also as ethical norms guiding administration.
The actions and liability of civil servants and the authorities are closely
regulated by legislation. Judicial practice draws the line between legal and
illegal actions in individual situations.
The Chancellor of Justice of the Government and the Parliamentary Ombudsman, who
supervise the activities of the authorities, also play a significant role in
ensuring the appropriateness of administrative operations.
5.1.1 Provisions of the Constitution
The aim has been legally to safeguard the relationship of citizens to public
power in several ways. The central provisions on this are included in the new
Constitution, which entered into force at the beginning of March 2000. They
formed the basis of good governance already when the Constitution Act
(17.7.1919/94) repealed by the Constitution was enacted.
The rule of law in administration is governed by the provisions of the
Constitution (section 2, paragraph 3). This means that the exercise of public
power is based on an Act and that the law shall be strictly observed in all
The provisions on the basic rights of citizens were reformed in connection with
the amendment of the Constitution Act, the reform of basic rights, which entered
into force on 1 August 1995. The provisions on basic rights were incorporated in
the new Constitution as such. The basic rights of citizens governed by chapter 2
of the Constitution include i.a. equality before the law (section 6), freedom of
movement (section 9), the right to privacy (section 10) and freedom of religion
and conscience (section 11). Freedom of expression (section 12) entails the
right to express, disseminate and receive information, opinions and other
communications without prior prevention by anyone. Also the principle of
publicity of documents and recordings is governed by section 12. Documents and
recordings in the possession of the authorities are public unless their
publication has for compelling reasons been specifically restricted by an Act.
The Constitution also includes provisions on guarantees of good governance.
Section 21, paragraph 1 of the Constitution on protection under the law ensures
everyone the right to have his or her case dealt with appropriately and without
undue delay by a legally competent court of law or other authority. Also the
right of appeal relating to the said decision is guaranteed. According to
paragraph 2 of the provision, the most important guarantees of good governance
are the publicity of proceedings, the right to be heard, the right to receive a
reasoned decision and the right of appeal. These, as well as other guarantees of
a fair trial and good governance not expressly stated in the Constitution, are
required by the provision to be secured by an Act. In respect of good
governance, the central Act is the Administrative Procedure Act (598/1982).
Subordination of lower-level statutes is governed by section 107 of the
Constitution. If a provision in a Decree or another statute of a level lower
than an Act is in conflict with the Constitution or another Act, it shall not be
applied by a court or by any other public authority.
A central provision is section 118 of the Constitution on official
accountability. According to this, a civil servant is responsible for the
legality of his official actions. He or she is also responsible for a decision
made by an official multi-member body that he or she has supported. A rapporteur
is responsible for a decision made upon his presentation unless he has filed an
objection to the decision.
The Constitution also provides for the general qualifications for public office
(section 125, paragraph 2). The objective of the provision is that the person
best qualified is appointed to office. According to the Constitution, the
general qualifications for public offices shall be skill, ability and proven
civic merit. A relatively established interpretation has been developed for
Skill means mainly information and skills acquired through training as well as
theoretical familiarity with the issues relating to the office indicated by
means of examinations, publications or in some other way. The acquisition of the
information and skills required may also be proved by practical experience
gained in official duties. Such experience may also be gained through other
activities improving the professional skills required for the office in
Ability means personal qualities such as natural talent, the ability to work,
initiative, the ability for productive work, leadership ability and e.g.
readiness for tasks required by internationalisation.
Proven civic merit means impeccable conduct, i.e., that the person is not guilty
of reprehensible behaviour or punishable offences in his official actions or
otherwise. In addition, proven civic merit means significant merits acquired in
general civic activities which are relevant when performing the duties of the
Meeting the general qualifications has to be evaluated every time appointments
to office are made. When comparing the applicants for the office with each
other, an overall evaluation of the merits of the applicants is made on these
grounds from the point of view of the duties being applied for.
5.1.2 Other legislation
The State Civil Servants’ Act
According to section 1 of the State Civil Servants’ Act, a civil-service
relationship is an employment relationship under public law in which the State
is the employer and a civil servant the employee. The concept of a civil servant
has not been defined in the current Civil Servants’ Act. Civil servants are all
those who have a civil-service relationship with the State under the Civil
Servants’ Act. The starting point is that a civil-service relationship is the
principal service relationship in core tasks of the State within the budget
economy. These include i.a. central State administration, police administration,
the Defence Forces and the judicial system. The civil-service relationship is
used in duties requiring the exercise of public power. On the other hand, an
employee relationship is used mainly in State business enterprises. However, in
practice, there is personnel with employee relationships also in agencies within
the budget economy.
The Aim of the Civil Servants’ Act
According to section 2 of the State Civil Servants’ Act, the aim of the Act is
to ensure the efficient and appropriate performance of State duties while also
meeting the legal protection requirements and to ensure that the civil servants’
status in relation to the employer is fair. This provision manifests the basis
of Finnish State administration, which consists of the protection of citizens
under the law, the internal and external security of the State and the provision
of basic services for citizens. Thus the Civil Servants’ Act regulates both the
conduct required of an authority in its relation to the citizens and the
relation between civil servants and the agency representing the State as an
Section 8 a of the Civil Servants’ Act includes provisions on the duty of the
highest civil servants to declare their interests. The provision entered into
force on 1 September 1997. The grounds for the provision on the duty to declare
were, above all, an effort to increase transparency in State administration and
to uphold public confidence in the impartiality and objectivity of
administration. In many OECD countries, the highest civil servants are required
to declare their interests. The
objective is to avert also the potential future occurrence of situations where
the effect of a civil servant’s interests on his ability to performe his
official functions has to be evaluated retroactively.
The interests of the highest civil servants have not generally caused any
problems in Finland. The aim of the duty to declare one’s interests is to
prevent, to the extent possible, any threats to civil service impartiality
already before they emerge. The provision concerning the duty of the Ministers
to declare their interests entered into force already on 1 April 1995.
The duty to declare applies to appointees to public offices or fixed-term civil
service relationships referred to in section 26 of the State Civil Servants’
Act. They are appointees to the posts of Chancellor of Justice and Deputy
Chancellor of Justice in the Council of State, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence
Forces, Heads of Departments in the Ministries and corresponding and higher
posts as well as appointees to the posts of heads of agencies. The total number
of posts with the duty to declare is approximately 130. These posts are those in
which the civil servant can be dismissed on less specific grounds than other
civil servants, i.e., "when cause exists". Such cause can be e.g. a loss or
potential loss of confidence in the civil servant’s actions.
The interests to be declared include trade, corporate ownership and other assets
as well as tasks not relating to the office in question, ancillary jobs referred
to in section 18 of the Civil Servants’ Act and other interests which are of
significance when evaluating the preconditions of the person to perform the
duties of the office to be filled. The substance of the duty to declare is
basically the same as for Ministers. However, the duty to declare the interests
of civil servants is not as extensive as in the case of Ministers, as only
interests of significance to the duties of the civil servant have to be
The interests are declared already before appointment, unlike in the case of the
duty to declare of the Ministers. The implementation of the duty to declare
before appointment is justified i.a. because already before making the final
commitment to the post, the candidate for the post can find out and asses
exactly which of his interests are significant in terms of the post concerned
and which he may have to give up in order to be appointed. Also the need to
prevent appointments leading to situations in which a civil servant could not
carry out his duties in practice without endangering public confidence in the
performance of official duties, argues in favour of imposing the duty to declare
The declaration is submitted before the appointment proposal is presented to the
Council of State. It is submitted to the civil servant preparing the appointment
and, during a civil-service relationship, primarily to the competent Ministry.
Declarations submitted both before appointment and during a civil-service
relationship are public with the exception of the information concerning one’s
A similar duty to declare one’s interests also applies to persons being
appointed judges. This is governed by the Act on the Appointment of Judges
(205/2000), which entered into force on 1 March 2000.
Obligations of an authority and a civil servant
Chapter 4 of the State Civil Servants’ Act contains provisions on the general
obligations of an authority and a civil servant. These provisions are
significant also as ethical norms of conduct.
An authority shall treat all civil servants in its service equally in such a way
that no person in unjustifiably placed in a different position to other persons
because of his origin, citizenship, religion, sex or political or union
activities, or on other comparable basis (section 11). This requirement of equal
treatment applies to applicants for office at the time of filling a vacancy
A civil servant has the same basic rights as other citizens, including freedom
of speech and expression and freedom of association. However, a civil servant
whose duties include representing the State as an employer under the legislation
on collective civil servant agreements may not hold any standing in an
association representing those employed by the State that may conflict with the
said official duties (section 12, section 16). The authority concerned shall see
to it that civil servants have such benefits and rights attached to the service
relationship as are due to them (section 13).
According to the general provisions on the duties of a civil servant in section
14, a civil servant shall perform his duties properly and without delay. He
shall also follow the orders of his superiors and supervisors. This also
includes the obligation to perform the duties as cost effectively and
efficiently as possible. In addition, a civil servant shall conduct himself in a
manner befitting his status and duties. This obligation extends also to the
leisure time of certain groups of civil servants and individual civil servants –
mainly the highest civil servants of State administration and policemen and
The Civil Servants’ Act contains provisions on the prohibition to accept a
financial or other advantage if this may reduce confidence in the civil servant
or in an authority (section 15). There are no more specific norms on the
advantages endangering confidence. The Act also provides for restrictions
concerning ancillary jobs (section 18). A civil servant may not be disqualified
for his own duties by an ancillary job. Similarly, an ancillary job must not
endanger confidence in his impartiality to perform his duties or otherwise
hamper the proper performance of the duties. Ancillary jobs mean paid work or
duties which the civil servant is entitled to refuse, and any profession, trade
or business. A civil servant may not hold an ancillary job which requires his
working hours to be spent handling the duties of the said job unless the
authority concerned grants him permission. Civil servants shall report any other
ancillary job to the authority, who may forbid them on the same grounds as when
considering whether to grant permission for an ancillary job.
A Government Bill on the Amendment of Section 18 of the Civil Servants’ Act is
presently before Parliament (Government Bill 26/1999 session). According to the
Bill, all ancillary jobs of judges would be subject to permission.
According to section 17, which was in force until the beginning of December
1999, a civil servant may not make use of, or without permission reveal to
others, anything that comes to his knowledge in his capacity as a civil servant,
regarding which confidentiality is laid down or provided separately or which
concerns the health of another person or which clearly may not be revealed
because of the nature of the
matter. In connection with the entry into force on 1 December 1999 of the new
legislation on openness, this provision was amended. According to it, the
secrecy obligation of a civil servant is governed by the provisions of the Act
on Openness of Government Activities (621/1999) and other legislation. According
to the new Act, a person employed by an authority as well as a person in a
position of trust may not disclose the secret contents of a document or
information which would be secret if recorded in a document. Nor may he disclose
any other information which has come to his knowledge in his capacity as an
authority and which is governed by the secrecy obligation under the law.
Information included in the scope of the secrecy obligation may not be disclosed
even after the person no longer acts as an authority or no longer performs
duties on behalf of an authority (section 23, paragraph 1).
A new section 18 a was incorporated in the State Civil Servants’ Act in 1997.
According to the provision, when considering the placement of a civil servant at
the disposal of the State ownership authority or in other representative duties
relating to guidance or supervision, the fact that representative duties may
cause only incidental or temporary disqualification in the central official
duties of the civil servant shall be taken into account.
Section 19 of the Act contains provisions on the duty of a civil servant, upon
request, to provide the competent authority with any information about his state
of health related to the performance of his duties. A civil servant may also be
ordered to take tests and examinations to establish his state of health if this
is necessary to establish his preconditions for performing his duties.
Consequences of violation or neglect of official duties
The Civil Servants’ Act contains provisions on the measures which an authority
may take when a civil servant violates or neglects his official duties. These
1. A written warning (section 24), which can be given to a civil servant who has
acted contrary to his official duties or failed to meet them unless the act is
so serious that it constitutes grounds for giving notice. In minor cases, the
superior may give the civil servant an oral or written caution.
X had written to the Minister expressing his deep contempt for the appointment
policy of a Department of the Ministry. A civil servant has the right, within
the limit of appropriate behaviour and the truth, to present even critical
evaluations also of the operations of the agency he is employed by. However, the
letter had been formulated so that sending it cannot be deemed appropriate of a
civil servant of a Ministry. In addition, the allegation presented in the letter
concerning the illegality of the appointment procedure was not true. X did not
act in the manner required by his position and duties and thus he acted contrary
to his official duties so that the Ministry had sufficient cause for a written
warning. The demand for rectification was dismissed. VMLTK:1074/95 A:21.4.1995;
Supreme Administrative Court: decision upheld.
X had been given a written warning for acting contrary to his official duties.
The grounds for the warning was the disclosure of tax return information to a
third party. On the basis of his training and experience, X should have
understood that the keeping of information relating to taxpayers confidential
was an essential part of his official duties. X had acted contrary to his
official duties by disclosing information he had acquired in his official
position to a third party without authorisation. The demand for rectification
was dismissed. VMLTK 78/96 A: 20.3.1996.
2. Termination of a civil service relationship (section 25) for an especially
At least the following cannot be deemed especially weighty reasons:
- sickness, defect or injury on the part of the civil servant unless the
consequence thereof is a substantial and permanent deterioration in working
capacity and the civil servant is thereby entitled to a disability pension;
- participation of the civil servant in a strike or other industrial action
decided on and implemented by a civil service association; or
- the civil servant’s political, religious or other opinions or his
participation in social or association activities.
Nor may a civil servant be given notice because of pregnancy.
When evaluating the existence of an especially weighty reason, the different
requirements directed at the divergent tasks of State civil servants have to be
taken into account.
The civil-service relationship of X had been terminated and at the same time he
had been suspended from office. According to the grounds of the decisions, X no
longer enjoyed the trust which was the prerequisite for continuing in the
civil-service relationship and he had demonstrated that he was no longer
suitable to continue in office. The District Court had sentenced X to a
suspended sentence of imprisonment i.a. for assault and the possession of a
knife in a public place. X had a public position which imposed on him the
obligation to act in a manner required by his position and office also during
his leisure time. X should have understood that his conduct had been
inconsistent with the duties required of him. The demand for rectification was
dismissed. VMLTK 117/96 A:2.10.1996; Supreme Administrative Court: decision
Notice to terminate the civil-service relationship of X was given. The grounds
for the decision was the fact that X repeatedly acted contrary to his official
duties and the conduct required of him. X was deemed to have violated his
official duties and conduct obligation during his working hours when he had made
passes at female clients. The employer had intervened in the conduct of X even
prior to these events. The employer had an especially weighty reason referred to
in the State Civil Servants’ Act to terminate the civil-service relationship of
X. The demand for rectification was dismissed. VMLTK:1171/95 A:5.6.1996 Supreme
Administrative Court: decision upheld.
In addition, the highest civil servants of State administration can be given
notice under section 26 of the State Civil Servants’ Act if cause exists, i.e.,
on broader grounds than other civil servants.
3. Immediate cancellation of a civil-service relationship (section 33) if the
civil servant has grossly violated or neglected his official obligations.
The civil-service relationship of X had been cancelled. A frontier guard has
significantly strong rights to exercise public power. In accordance with the
Decree on the Frontier Guard, an appointee to an office of the Frontier Guard
shall lead a blameless life and be reliable. The Civil Service Committee deemed
that, a frontier guard had to fulfil the requirements of his office also during
his term of office. A frontier guard had to comply with the code of conduct
required by his position and duties also during leisure time. X had stolen
reindeer while carrying out his official duties and using a vehicle belonging to
the Frontier Guard. The act had been wilful and repeated and its purpose had
been to obtain financial benefit. Cooperation with another
frontier guard from the same patrol also indicated that the violation of his
official duties had been deliberate. The demand for rectification was dismissed.
VMLTK 108/96 A:22.5.1996.
The reason given for the cancellation of the civil-service relationship of X was
that when he had presented an invoice of 113,450 FIM to be paid by his employer
to company Y, X had in actual fact directed the money to be paid to an account
which he had the right to use. X asserted that the invoice was for an order to
update software, but no offer or order could be found. X should have understood
that he was disqualified from ordering products of his own company on behalf of
an educational institution. In addition, on the basis of his previous experience
as a financial manager, X should have understood that, in the case of such a
large procurement the orders and offers together with their terms should be
included in the books in order to control procurement costs. Through his
actions, X intentionally violated his official duties. Taking into account also
the position of X as a director of a unit, the violation was to be deemed grave.
The demand for rectification was dismissed. VMLTK:1081/95 A:20.10.1995.
Suspension from office (section 40) is a safeguarding measure. This is possible
for example when a civil servant is suspected of a crime which is significant
for the performance of his duties. Suspension from office has been used e.g.
during proceedings regarding a charge against the civil servant for accepting a
X had been suspended from office for the term of proceedings regarding criminal
charges. X was charged with assault and violation of his official duties. The
District Court had dismissed the charges against X as unproven. On the dame day,
the Chief of Police repealed the decision on the suspension of X from office.
Suspension from office is a discretionary temporary measure, which may not be
continued longer than is necessary. The acts of X had been so closely connected
to his official duties as a policeman that there had been valid grounds for
suspension from office until the decision of the District Court. The demand for
rectification was dismissed. VMLTK 208/96 A:27.11.1996; Supreme Administrative
Court: decision upheld.
X had been suspended from office. The decision was based on information
available to the employer during preliminary investigation and the circumstances
of the suspected crime. X was i.a. suspected of having accepted a bribe. X had
been arrested and held as a remand prisoner in connection with the matter. The
employer had lost his confidence in the ability of X to carry out his official
duties. The suspected acts were deemed to be so closely connected to the duties
of X that there had been grounds for his suspension form office. VMLTK 172/96
A civil servant may also be suspended from office if he refuses to have the
tests or examinations ordered to establish his state of health or his ability to
perform his duties or if he has a sickness that materially detracts from the
performance of his office.
Principle of continuation of a civil-service relationship
The State Civil Servants’ Act includes a provision on the principle of
continuation of a civil-service relationship (section 55, paragraph 3).
According to this, a civil servant’s service relationship shall continue
uninterrupted if he has been given notice or the service relationship has been
cancelled according to a legally valid decision without the grounds laid down in
the Act. The purpose of the provision is to promote the independence of a civil
A civil-service relationship compared to an employee relationship
A civil-service relationship is constituted by a unilateral administrative act
of an authority, i.e., appointment to an office or a civil-service relationship.
The decision requires the consent of the appointee. The duties of a civil
servant are determined on the basis of the tasks of the agency and under the law
they cannot be agreed upon. In practice, management by performance has brought
features resembling contracts also to the determination of the duties of civil
servants. According to the system, the results to be achieved during the next
term are agreed upon in annual performance and development discussions. However,
this agreement does not cover all tasks nor remove the right of the authority to
order the duties.
An employee relationship is based on a contract concluded between two parties,
the employer and the employee. By concluding the contract, the employee
undertakes to work for the employer under his control and supervision for a
salary or other consideration. The duties of an employed person are agreed upon
by an employment contract. The obligations and liability of employed personnel
provided by law are more limited than those of civil servants (Employment
Contracts Act, sections 13 – 16). Official accountability only applies to civil
servants. Employed personnel performing public duties have in some respects been
equated with civil servants and they have been imposed a heavier liability than
usual (i.a. the provisions of the Penal Code on the employees of public
corporations). The principle of continuation is not part of an employee
relationship. If the termination of an employee relationship is found to be
illegal, the court may order the employer to pay compensation to the employee.
There are also other differences, e.g. the differences in the determination of
the terms of the relationship (collective civil servant agreement – collective
trade agreement) and the more limited right of civil servants to undertake
THE PENAL CODE
In certain cases the violation of official duties may also be a punishable act .
Provisions on the criminal responsibility of a civil servant are included in the
Penal Code. The Penal Code contains a separate chapter on offences in office.
Chapter 40 provides that the following offences in office and offences by an
employee of a public corporation are punishable:
• Acceptance of a bribe (section 1)
If a public official or an employee of a public corporation, for his/her actions
while in service, for himself/herself or another
1) demands a gift or other unjustified benefit,
2) accepts a gift or other benefit which influences, which is intended to
influence, or which is conducive to influencing him in the said actions, or
3) accepts the gift or benefit referred to in subparagraph 2 or a promise or
offer thereof, he/she shall be sentenced for acceptance of a bribe to a fine or
to imprisonment for at most two years.
A public official and an employee of a public corporation shall be sentenced for
acceptance of a bribe also if he/she, for his/her actions while in service,
accepts the giving, the promise or the offer of the gift or other benefit
referred to in paragraph 1, 2 to another person.
A public official may also be sentenced to dismissal if the offence indicates
that he/she is manifestly unfit for his/her duties.
• Aggravated acceptance of a bribe (section 2)
If in the acceptance of a bribe
1) the intention of the public official or the employee of a public corporation
is, because of the gift or benefit, to act in service in a manner contrary to
his/her duties to the considerable benefit of the party giving the gift or of
another, or to the considerable loss or detriment of another, or
2) the gift or benefit is of significant value and the acceptance of the bribe
is aggravated also when assessed as a whole, the public official or employee of
the public corporation shall be sentenced for aggravated acceptance of a bribe
to imprisonment for at least four months and at most four years and, moreover,
the public official to dismissal.
• Bribery violation (section 3)
If a public official or an employee of a public corporation demands, takes or
accepts a gift or other benefit intended for himself/herself or another or
demands or accepts a promise or offer thereof that is conducive to weakening
confidence in the impartiality of the actions of authorities, and the act is not
punishable as acceptance of a bribe or as aggravated acceptance of a bribe,
he/she shall be sentenced for a bribery violation to a fine or to imprisonment
for at most six months.
• Forfeiture (section 4)
The gift or benefit that is received or the value thereof shall be declared
forfeited to the State from the offender or from the person on whose behalf or
in favour of whom the offender has acted.
• Breach and negligent breach of official secrecy (section 5)
If a public official or an employee of a public corporation intentionally, while
in service or thereafter, unlawfully
1) discloses a document or information which under the Act on the Openness of
Government Activities (621/1999) or another Act is to be kept secret or not
2) makes use of such information to the benefit of himself/herself or another
he/she shall be sentenced, unless a more severe penalty for the act is provided
elsewhere in the law, for breach of official secrecy to a fine or to
imprisonment for at most two years. A public official may also be sentenced to
dismissal if the offence indicates that he/she is manifestly unfit for his/her
If a public official or an employee of a public corporation commits the act
referred to in paragraph 1 through negligence or carelessness, and the act, in
view of its harmful and damaging effects and the other relevant circumstances,
is not of minor significance when assessed as a whole, he/she shall be
sentenced, unless a more severe penalty for the act is provided elsewhere in the
law, for negligent breach of official secrecy to a fine or to imprisonment for
at most six months.
• Abuse of public office (section 7)
If a public official, in order to obtain benefit for himself/herself or for
another or in order to cause detriment or loss to another
1) violates or neglects to fulfil his/her official duty, based on the provisions
or regulations to be followed in official functions, when participating in
decision-making or in the preparation thereof or when using public authority in
his/her other official functions, or
2) misuses his/her office in respect of a person who is under his/her command or
immediate supervision, he/she shall be sentenced for abuse of public office to a
fine or to imprisonment for at most two years.
The public official may also be sentenced to dismissal if the offence indicates
that he/she is manifestly unfit for his/her duties.
• Aggravated abuse of public office (section 8)
If in the abuse of public office
1) considerable benefit is sought, or
2) an attempt is made to cause particularly considerable detriment or loss or
3) the offence is committed in a particularly methodical or unscrupulous manner
and the abuse of public office is aggravated also when assessed as a whole, the public official shall be sentenced for aggravated abuse of public office to
imprisonment for at least four months and at most four years and to dismissal.
• Provision on application (section 9)
The provisions in sections 7 and 8 of this chapter, with the exception of the
sanction of dismissal, shall also be applied to an employee of a public
corporation when, in participating in decision-making for the public corporation
or institution referred to in chapter 2, section 12 or in the planning thereof
or when exercising public authority based on his/her employment in another
function he/she acts in the manner referred to in section 7 or section 8.
When assessing the actions of an employee of a public corporation, the
provisions and regulations that he/she should follow in his/her work shall be
taken into consideration instead of the provisions and regulations to be
followed in official functions.
The provisions in sections 1—4 of this chapter apply also where the offender is
a person in the service of the European Communities or an official of another
member state of the European Union, as referred to in chapter 16, section 20.
• Violation of official duty (section 10)
If a public official, when acting in his/her office, intentionally in a manner
other than provided above in this chapter violates or neglects to fulfil his/her
official duty based on the provisions or regulations to be followed in official
functions, and the act, when assessed as a whole, taking into consideration its
detrimental and harmful effect and the other circumstances connected with the
act, is not petty, he/she shall be sentenced for violation of official duty to a
fine or to imprisonment for at most one year.
A public official may also be sentenced to dismissal if he/she is guilty of the
offence referred to in paragraph 1 by continuously or essentially acting in
violation of or neglecting his/her official duties, and the offence indicates
that he/she is manifestly unfit for his/her duties.
• Negligent violation of official duty (section 11)
If a public official, when acting in his/her office, through carelessness or
incaution, in a manner other than that referred to in section 5(2), violates or
neglects to fulfil his/her official duty based on the provisions or regulations
to be followed in official functions, and the act, when assessed as a whole,
taking into consideration its detrimental and harmful effect and the other
circumstances connected with the act, is not petty, he/she shall be sentenced
for a negligent violation of official duties to a warning or to a fine.
• Offences in military office (section 12)
The offences referred to in chapter 45, where committed by public officials
subject to military penal provisions, are also offences in public office.
Offences in office of civil servants subject to military penal provisions are
also provided for in chapter 45 of the Penal Code.
In the case of more serious offences (e.g. aggravated acceptance of a bribe), a
civil servant shall, in addition to imprisonment and a fine, be sentenced to
removal from office.
The Administrative Procedure Act
The Administrative Procedure Act regulates the appropriateness of handling
official duties in administrative matters. The Administrative Procedure Act
embodies the service principle. The main objective of the Act is to promote the
legal protection of the citizens so that the administrative matter is handled as
well as possible. At the same time the aim is uniformity and a high level of
procedure and smooth administration. If the authority who has received a
document is not competent in the matter, it shall transfer the matter to the
correct authority. The competent authority shall:
• handle the matter within a reasonable period
• provide necessary advice, mainly pertaining to procedure
• instruct the party in question to present any clarification required
• offer the possibility to eliminate a defect in a document
• reserve the party an opportunity to be heard before the decision
• provide interpretation services, where necessary
• issue a clear and understandable decision in the matter together with the
One of the basic objectives of the Administrative Procedure Act is to make the
procedure so explicit and to support an individual dealing with administration
so that everyone could manage his own affairs without having to resort to expert
The Act also contains provision on the disqualification of a civil servant in
the handling of an administrative matter. A civil servant is disqualified i.a.
if he is a member of the Board of Directors or another comparable body or if he
is the Managing Director or has corresponding status in an organisation,
foundation or public-law agency that is party to the matter or which can expect
particular benefit or detriment from the decision in the matter. According to
the general provision, a civil servant is disqualified if confidence in his
impartiality is endangered for a special reason.
The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act on disqualification will
primarily be applied in cases of the disqualification of a civil servant in his
official duties. Disqualification generally applies both to participation in
decision-making and the preparation of the matter. The aim is to prevent
situations of disqualification i.a. by means of the above-mentioned restrictions
of the Civil Servants’ Act concerning ancillary jobs.
Section 10, paragraph 1 of the Administrative Procedure Act contains a provision
on the grounds for disqualification (Table 1). Administrative procedure means
the handling of a matter by an authority, i.e., making a decision concerning a
pending matter and actions immediately serving this. The Act does not apply i.a.
to administrative judicial procedure, the preliminary investigation of a
criminal case or to exectution proceedings (Parliamentary Ombudsman 1993, 9-10).
Table 1: Grounds for disqualification under the Administrative Procedure Act
1 disqualification by participation – if a civil servant himself or his close
relative is a party to the matter
2 disqualification by an interest – if the civil servant or his close relative
can expect particular benefit or detriment in the matter
3 disqualification by representation – if the civil servant himself or his close
relative assists or represents a party or one who has an interest in the matter
4 disqualification by service relationship – if the civil servant has a service
or commission relationship relating to the issue to a party to the matter or to
a party with an interest in the matter
5 disqualification by organisation – if the civil servant is a member of the
Board of Directors or a corresponding body or is the managing director or has a
corresponding position in a company, foundation or public-law organisation that
is a party to the matter or which can expect particular benefit or detriment
from a decision in the matter
5a disqualification by agency – if he is a member of the Board of Directors or a
corresponding body of an agency or institution and the matter is under the
guidance and supervision of the agency or institution
6 disqualification under general rule – if confidence in his impartiality is
endangered for some other special reason.
The Act on Openness of Government Activities (621/1999)
Finnish legislation on publicity has recently been reformed. The Act on the
Publicity of Official Documents (83/1951) has been repealed by the Act on
Openness of Government Activities, which entered into force on 1 December 1999.
The purpose of the Act is provided for in section 3 of the Act. According to it,
the purpose of the rights to acquire information and the duties of the
authorities provided for by the Act is to implement openness and good
information management practice in the acts of the authorities and to give
individuals and organisations a possibility to supervise the exercise of public
power and the use of public funds, to form their opinions freely and to
influence the exercise of public power and to protect their rights and
The Act contains provision on the time when a public document enters the public
domain, the right of access to information in a document, the delivery of
information from a document, the duty of an authority to promote access to
information and good practice on information management, secrecy obligations as
well as derogation from the secrecy obligation and its termination.
The Act on Equality between Women and Men (609/1986)
The objective of the Act is to prevent sexual discrimination and to promote
equality between women and men and to this end to improve the position of women
especially in working life. The authorities shall promote equality between women
and men in a target-oriented and systematic way particularly by changing the
circumstances that prevent the realisation of equality.
State Committees, advisory boards and other corresponding bodies shall have both
women and men, a minimum of 40 percent each, unless otherwise provided for a
special reason. If an agency or institution has a Supervisory Board, a Board of
Directors, or other management or administrative body formed of elected
officials, both women and men shall be equally represented in the body, unless
otherwise provided for a special reason.
Direct or indirect sexual discrimination is prohibited. The Equality Ombudsman
and the Board of Equality supervise compliance with the Act.
The Act on Public Procurement (1505/1992)
The objective of the public procurement legislation is to enhance the use of
public funds and to ensure that companies providing products and services are
treated equally and without discrimination. Procurements shall be subject to
competitive bidding, and in the case of procurements exceeding a certain
threshold value, detailed procedures shall be followed in the selection of
tenderers and tenders. The tender with the best price/quality ratio shall be
selected and e.g. the place or residence of the tenderer may not be a selection
criterion. Decisions on procurements are subject to appeal.
Finnish legislation is based on European Union Directives, the first of which
were issued already at the beginning of the 1970s. At that time, the primary
objective was to open corrupt construction contracts to transparent and equal
competition. Later on, the concept of procurements has expanded so that the duty
to arrange open competitions now applies to all procurement of goods or services
with public funds or construction projects irrespective of the method or form of
their implementation. Thus also other cooperation arrangements than those based
on monetary consideration usually have to be submitted to competitive bidding.
5.1.3 Principles of administrative law
The principles of administrative law mainly relate to decision-making and they
are taken into consideration in administrative decision-making as rules
restricting discretion. They guide the decision-making and other actions of a
civil servant and an authority as instructions complementing the provisions of
the law. The most important principles of administrative law are the following:
• The principle of equality
The principle of equality is confirmed by the provision of the Constitution
(section 6). Under it, citizens are equal before the law. In practice, the
principle of equality means that in similar cases, when the same norms are
applied, the decisions should have the same contents.
The principle of equality has often been specified in legislation. For example,
section 6 of the State Civil Servants’ Act on the prohibition of discrimination
specifies the principle of equality of the Constitution in matters pertaining to
appointments. Under section 6 of the State Civil Servants’ Act, an authority may
not, when deciding on an appointment unjustifiably place any person in a
different position to other persons because of his origin, citizenship,
religion, sex, age or political or union activities or other comparable basis.
• The principle of objectivity
According to the principle of objectivity, the substantive contents of an
administrative measure taken and a decision made in an administrative matter
shall be objectively justified.
The purpose of the principle is to ensure that the authority handles the matter
objectively and appropriately. No inappropriate secondary motives endangering
objective consideration may influence the handling of the matter. The principle
is implemented i.a. through the provisions on disqualification.
• The principle of proportionality
According to the principle of proportionality, an administrative measure shall
be in correct proportion to the purpose of the measure. For example, an
administrative measure relating to an individual citizen may not violate the
interests of the citizen more extent than the objective of the measure (in
accordance with the norm) necessarily requires.
Compliance with the principle of proportionality requires that the authority
carefully considers the effects of an administrative measure or decision he is
contemplating. For example, before taking measures to give notice for a minor
offence one should consider whether a caution or warning would be in better
proportion to the act than giving notice when taking into consideration the
circumstances of the act and the consequences of notice to the party in
• The principle of being bound to the purpose
According to the principle of being bound to the purpose, an authority shall use
his competence only for the purpose for which it has been provided. This
principle is closely related to the principles of objectivity and
proportionality. Compliance with the principle of being bound to the purpose
often requires that the person applying the norm is as aware of the regulatory
purpose and objectives of the norm as possible.
5.2 Special bodies responsible for ethics
The centralised guidance of personnel policy within State administration is the
task of the Personnel Department of the Ministry of Finance. The Department is
responsible i.a. for the development of legislation relating to State civil
thus also for ensuring that these regulations guarantee the confidence of
citizens in the independence and objectivity of State administration.
There is no separate body in Finland responsible for ethics. The legality of the
actions of authorities and civil servants is supervised by the Chancellor of
Justice of the Government and the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
According to the Constitution of Finland, it is the duty of the Chancellor of
Justice of the Government to ensure that the authorities and the civil servants,
public employees and other persons, when the latter are performing a public
task, comply with the law and fulfil their obligations so that no one’s legal
rights are violated.
The Chancellor of Justice of the Government has i.a. the
right to attend the meetings of agencies and to obtain information from the
records of the Government and its Ministries, the courts and other authorities.
The Chancellor of Justice submits an annual report to Parliament and the
Government on his activities and observations on how the law has been complied
The Constitution also includes provisions on the Parliamentary Ombudsman. It is
the duty of the Ombudsman to ensure that the courts and other authorities as
well as civil servants, public employees and other persons, when the latter are
performing a public task, comply with the law and fulfil their obligations. The
Ombudsman monitors the implementation of basic rights and liberties and human
rights. The Ombudsman submits an annual report to Parliament on his work
including observations on the state of the administration of justice and on any
shortcomings in legislation.
The Chancellor of Justice and the Ombudsman supervise the legality of the acts
of the authorities both on their own initiative and through complaints filed by
citizens. In particular, the Chancellor of Justice supervises the legality of
decisions made by the Government and for this reason he also attends the
meetings of the Government.
The prosecution service is governed by the Constitution (section 104) and the
Act on Public Prosecutors (199/1997). The prosecution service is headed by the
highest prosecutor, the Prosecutor-General, whose duties include i.a. the
general management and development of the prosecution service and the
supervision of the prosecutors. The Prosecutor-General exercises an independent
power of consideration of criminal charges and he may issue general orders and
instructions relating to prosecution activities. The Office of the
Prosecutor-General has State Prosecutors, who are competent to act as
prosecutors in the whole country. Their duty is primarily to act as prosecutors
in criminal cases most significant for society. A State Prosecutor also acts as
prosecutor when the decision to bring charges has been made by Parliament, the
Ministry of Justice, the Chancellor of Justice or the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
Also the district prosecutors and the Provincial Prosecutor of Åland are public
It is the duty of the prosecutor to ensure the realisation of criminal liability
in the handling of, consideration of charges for and trial of a criminal case as
required by the legal protection of the parties and by public interest. In his
duties, the prosecutor shall observe objectivity, speed and cost efficiency.
5.3 Efficient mechanisms of responsibility and control
The legislation described above and the general principles of administrative law
form the boundaries within which the authorities shall make their decisions.
Decisions on matters to be decided in the Ministries are made by the Minster who
is the head of the Ministry or by a civil servant of the Ministry. However, the
Minister may always reserve himself the right to decide in a matter delegated to
be decided by a civil servant. This provision is important from the
point-of-view of the implementation of parliamentarism. The exercise of
decision-making power is further provided for by special provisions.
Decision-making in the Ministry takes place upon presentation by a civil
servant. If the Minster has the decision-making power, he may arrive at a
decision different from that presented by the civil servant acting as rapporteur.
Unless the rapporteur files an objection, he is responsible for a decision made
upon his presentation.
The Ministers have both political and legal responsibility for their actions.
Political responsibility is governed by the Constitution. Accordingly, a member
of the Government shall enjoy the confidence of Parliament. Legal responsibility
on the other hand, was previously based on the provisions of the so-called
Ministerial Responsibility Act and, since 1 March 2000, on the Constitution.
According to the Constitution, Parliament has the right to examine i.a. the
legality of the official acts of the Members of the Government and to make
decisions based on this examination. When handling matters being prepared by it,
the Constitutional Law Committee of Parliament shall examine the legality of the
acts of the Members of the Government, where necessary. It is up to Parliament
to decide either that charges shall be brought against a Member of the
Government or that the matter shall be dismissed.
The principle of the rule of law of administration is binding on civil servants,
as noted already earlier. In addition, there are principles aiming at promoting
legal protection and preventing arbitrary decisions. These can be divided into
preventive and retroactive means. Preventive means include the impartiality of a
civil servant, the hearing of a party, the presentation of the grounds of a
decision and publicity. Retroactive means of legal protection are
self-correction, appeal and petition for review. A citizen has the last two
means available to him if he feels that a decision is incorrect or that a civil
servant otherwise has acted incorrectly. As stated above, a civil servant is
responsible for a decision made upon his presentation.
Citizens have various possibilities to have the correctness of the acts of
authorities investigated. Under the Constitution, everyone who has suffered a
violation of his rights or sustained a loss through an unlawful act or omission
by a civil servant has the right to request that the civil servant be sentenced
to a punishment and be held liable for damages or to report the civil servant
If a citizen feels that an authority or civil servant is guilty of incorrect
procedure, he can file a petition for review either to a higher authority or to
the Chancellor of Justice or the Parliamentary Ombudsman. In connection with a
petition for review, the allegedly incorrect procedure will be investigated and,
if the authority investigating the matter finds a fault, it will take
appropriate action. This action may, when most lenient, consist of pointing out
the incorrect procedure to the civil servant for future reference or, when most
severe, involve charges for an offence in office.
State administration of Finland is traditionally based on the principle of
openness. Decision-making is open and documents are public. Only matters and
documents which have been separately prescribed as secret are to be kept
The financial management of the State and its audit are governed by the
Constitution. Parliament decides on the adoption of the State budget once it has
received the Government budget proposal. Parliament also supervises the
financial management of the State and compliance with the State budget. In
practice this is performed by the State auditors, who submit an annual report to
Parliament on the management and state of public funds. The State auditors have
the right to obtain the necessary information and accounts from the authorities.
In its report on the state of public funds and on the report of the State
auditors, the Finance Committee of Parliament expresses its contention on how
the State budget has been complied with and State finances managed and presents
its proposals based thereon.
The State Audit Office is an agency subordinate to the Ministry of Finance. Its
duty is to audit the legality and appropriateness of the financial management of
the State and compliance with the budget. The State Audit Office prepares an
annual report on its operations and submits information on its operations to the
Government, the State auditors and the Ministry of Finance. A Government Bill
(GB 39/2000 session) is presently before Parliament, according to which the
Office will be joined to Parliament on 1 January 2001.
5.4 Civil service ethics as part of State personnel strategy
As stated above, legislation and particularly the State Civil Servants’ Act
contain provisions which are important also as ethical norms of conduct. For
example, chapter 4 of the State Civil Servants’ Act regulating the obligations
of an authority and civil servant is important in this respect.
The significance of ethical rules has clearly been emphasised lately. An example
of this is the personnel strategy of the State approved in autumn 1995 and its
references to high ethical requirements. The objective of the personnel strategy
is to provide guidelines for the personnel policy of State administration as a
whole and to give the agencies and institutions principles which they can use
when drawing up personnel strategies applicable to their own units.
The personnel strategy states the following on values and ethics:
"The issue of the values of social policy and working life is being discussed
extensively. The ethical starting points of public administration are being
evaluated. The new personnel strategy of the State is built on the values of the
State sector. The foundation of leadership and cooperation is formed by the
common values of the State sector. The aim of State administration is national
success and the satisfaction of citizens with the activities and results of the
organisations of the constitutional state. Services shall be provided in a
reliable, objective and cost-efficient way. The actions of a civil servant may
not be influenced by personal sympathies or antipathies nor by the pursuit of
his own interests."
The personnel strategy states i.a. the following on leadership:
"High-level civil service ethics is required of the leaders of State
administration. Financial and other interests may not endanger independence."
Newer guidelines of ethics and personnel strategy are included in the Government
Resolution of 16 April 1998 High-Quality Service, Good Governance and a
Responsible Civic Society (cf. Point 5.7. below). No code has been compiled for
the whole State administration.
5.5 Values and information
According to the Government Resolution on the reform of the selection
qualifications and selection procedure of top civil servants (6 February 1997),
the most important values of State administration in Finland, which form the
basis of civil service ethics are the following:
• reliability of administrative operations
• the service principle
The changes in administration and its operating environment have created also
new values, such as effectiveness and result-orientation, which complement the
above list. These values generally relate to the operations of agencies and they
are defined separately for each agency. The realisation of the above-mentioned
values is ensured by provisions and judicial practice.
In addition to provisions and instructions, values are conveyed to new civil
servants through the actions of superiors and colleagues. The aim should be that
the training of civil servants also deals with ethical questions.
Values and the related provisions can be examined as follows:
The independence of the actions of the authorities and civil servants is ensured
by provisions at the Constitution level. Since 1 March 2000, section 125 of the
Constitution, like the earlier Constitution Act, contains a provision, on the
conformity of administration to law and the grounds for appointment into office.
The State Civil Servants’ Act safeguards the independence of a civil servant
through the obligation to conduct himself in a manner befitting his status and
duties, and the restrictions on acceptance of financial or other benefits and on
ancillary jobs. The principle of continuation of a civil-service relationship is
also an important guarantee of independence. From the point-of-view of
independence, important are also the
provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act on the disqualification of civil
servants in administrative activities.
2. Impartiality and objectivity
The Constitution imposes on civil servants the duty to treat everyone equally
when performing their official duties. The Administrative Procedure Act provides
for disqualification in certain specifically mentioned situations as well as in
other situations if confidence in impartiality is endangered for a special
reason. The State Civil Servants’ Act prohibits discrimination both in
appointments to and during a civil-service relationship.
3. The reliability of administrative activities
Public reliability is ensured first and foremost by the duty of the highest
civil servants to declare their interests. Further norms ensuring reliability
include the prohibition to accept financial or other benefits if this would
reduce confidence in the civil servant or authority and the prohibition of an
ancillary job if it would endanger confidence in the impartiality of the civil
servant in the performance of his duties.
The openness of the activities of an authority in relation to citizens is
governed by the Act on Openness of Government Activities. Openness has
traditionally been one of the basic principles of Finnish State administration
and the Nordic administrative culture. The publicity principle dates from the
5. The service principle
The service principle is governed, i.a., by section 4 of the Administrative
Procedure Act, according to which an authority has a general duty to advise
citizens in dealing with the administration.
The confidence of the citizens is important and relates to responsibility in
office. Provisions relating to responsibility include also the provisions of the
Civil Servants’ Act on a warning, on notice to terminate and cancellation of a
civil-service relationship if a civil servant has violated or grossly violated
or neglected his official duties. Responsibility may also become actual through
the provisions of the Penal Code.
A form of responsibility which is not directly based on legal provisions, but
which, nevertheless, is part of the system and which is becoming more and more
important in practice, is responsibility for results. This applies both to the
relationship between the Ministry and an agency subordinate to it and to
goal-setting and result monitoring implemented inside the agency. Result
monitoring is an essential part of steering and management by performance.
5.6 Pay systems
The basis of the pay-policy system of the State employer drafted by the
Personnel Department of the Ministry of Finance in 1992 was, in particular, the
fact that the pay is often the most visible, and in financial terms, the most
important expression of personnel policy. In addition, the pay and the basis for
its determination often have decisive importance for the operating conditions
and motivation of the operating units.
The objective of both the pay-policy programme and the State personnel and
employer policy is to ensure the competitiveness of the State sector pay in
comparison with other sectors. This is a prerequisite for the State to be able
to induce talented and competent people into its service also in future years.
Also the objective of upholding good prerequisites for the incorruptibility of
civil servants is a factor in the background.
The present pay system
Most of the agencies still use a pay system based on offices, titles and pay
schedules. The offices are placed in the pay schedules according to the demands
of the job. When an office is established, also the basis of its pay has to be
The pay system of civil servants is based on collective civil servant
agreements. The present pay system can be divided into the actual salary and
various supplements and bonuses. The actual salary generally includes the basic
salary, a cost-of-living supplement, age bonuses and a supplement for cold areas
and the archipelago. The most important supplements are the remunerations paid
on the basis of working-hours and times, and additional remunerations. Civil
servants can also have raises for given periods of service and personal bonuses.
According to the State Civil Servants’ Act, which entered into force in December
1994, an agency may conclude an individual agreement with a civil servant on the
terms of his service relationship. The agreement with a civil servant, referred
to in section 26 of the State Civil Servants’ Act, is concluded by the
The present pay system does not directly include factors aiming at influencing
the actions of civil servants on moral grounds or rewarding morally high-class
conduct. However, the requirements of high morals may have indirectly influenced
the placement of certain offices in the pay schedules when the offices were
The new pay systems
The mutual principles of the employer and the main negotiating organisations
relating to the reform of the State pay system were recorded in the agreements
in 1993. In 1999, about 9 percent of the approximately 125,000 persons included
within the budget economy were covered by the new pay systems. Reform work is
going on in almost all State agencies and institutions.
The aim is to achieve agency-specific pay systems with a job-specific component
based on the demands of the job, a component based on personal work performance
and command of the work as well as a pay component based on a result reward
depending on the results of the work of a group or the individual.
In connection with the development of the pay systems, also the factors will be
ascertained that should be considered when evaluating the demands of the job as
will also their weighting and the fact how personal factors will influence the
In the pay of civil servants, the requirements of high ethical standards will be
emphasised more, which is mainly the result of a more open pay basis determined
in the pay policy programme as well as of the development of assessment tools.
The new system also makes it easier to monitor the implementation of equality.
The introduction of the new pay systems essentially requires that the users are
sufficiently skilled to use the systems correctly. Therefore ethical
considerations will be taken into account when training the users. From the
point of view of the functionality of, and trust in, the pay system, it is
generally important that the personnel is aware of the basis of the pay system
and that a superior gives the person in question sufficient information on the
criteria for evaluating the demands of the job, which form the basis of the pay
and on the grounds for the evaluation result of the personal pay component.
5.7 Political support – stands taken by the highest management
In its resolutions, the Government taken a stand on the promotion of the ethics
of State administration. The latest resolution High-quality Services, Good
Governance and a Responsible Civic Society (1998) outlines the guidelines of the
policy of governance for the new millennium. The principles of good governance
form the foundation when ensuring higher-quality services for the citizens as
customers of public services and as taxpayers. In addition to the availability
of the services, their quality as well as customer-orientation and freedom of
choice will be emphasised.
The resolution states that clear political guidelines will be needed to steer
the new differentiated State sector that has replaced the former centralised
State. The difference of values and principles in different parts of the State
sector has also been taken into account. The traditional values of sound
administration are important in the traditional State administrative functions
as well as in the production of services. In the production of other public
services, the emphasis will be on customer-orientation and other values of
service activities. In attending to the production and business functions of the
State, the business values will be complied with.
The resolution on governance is based on extensive preparation by civil servants
under the guidance of the State Sector Committee. The aims and measures of
governance presented in the resolution are:
• continuous evaluation of public functions
• emphasising the responsibility of civic society
• strengthening the role of the Government as the Political Leader
• clarification of the systems of accountability
• continuation of the reforms of central government
• improving the quality and availability of public services
• measures relating to personnel and employment policies
• enhancement of the steering of market-oriented functions
From the point-of-view of civil service ethics, the stands taken by the
Government particularly on the development of the system of accountability for
performance and the guidelines of the State employer and personnel policies
should be mentioned in this context.
Clarification of the systems of accountability
In order to implement democratic and Parliamentary steering, the Government will
launch a project to clarify the agencies’ accountability for their performance.
Issues belonging to the accountability for performance – such as the contents of
a results agreement – will be clearly defined. In order to attain their goals,
the agencies will need sufficient resources and powers. Part of a well-organised
system of accountability is a well-functioning reporting system on the results.
The openness and transparency of governance as well as the accountability of
agencies and civil servants will be increased. This will require product and
cost calculations, publicity of activities and especially more clearly defined
accountability of the civil servants.
Employer and personnel policies
State employer and personnel policies emphasise, the need to ensure their
competitiveness, justness and responsibility. According to the resolution,
high-level civil service ethics and maintenance of accepted values will form an
even more important steering tool after the dismantling of regulation and
centralised control. Everyone working for the State will have to know the
ingredients of good governance and the requirements imposed on him by high-level
civil-service ethics. A debate on values will take place on the levels of the
State sector and the work units in cooperation with the personnel and it will be
maintained as part of the development of the policies and the working
According to the resolution, the undisturbed continuity of the functions of
government will be ensured even though the personnel is getting older and a
large part of the present personnel will retire in the next decade. The steering
tools of central government include general personnel policy, the definition of
the legal position of the personnel, the general arrangement of the terms of
employment, the overall responsibility for the maintenance of labour peace as
well as employer activities at the level of central government. Issues of
personnel and employer policy will be paid more attention to in the performance
management. It is also important that the State employs a sufficient number of
qualified and continuously developing, well-motivated and skilful personnel in
order to be able to successfully deal with the functions entrusted to it. In
order to improve the determination of the correct number of personnel, the
planning of an evaluation and data system will be launched.
In the reforms of management and leadership, the Government especially
emphasised personnel leadership. Quality goals will be set for leadership. The
work skills and job satisfaction of the personnel are part of interactive
cooperation and good leadership. Therefore they will be included in the
evaluation criteria of leadership.
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