3. Drivers of trust in government in Finland: Competence

Responsiveness reflects the core objective of the public administration: to serve citizens and deliver what is needed as expected (OECD, 2017[1]).1 In particular, the survey carried out as part of this case study formulates the responsiveness questions in terms of public services; particularly, their development and adaptability to people’s needs and expectations. According to the empirical results presented in Chapter 2, the extent to which people believe that services will be adapted following their feedback and in agreement with their expectations is the dimension with the largest influence on trust in Finland. This finding is consistent across the three institutions tested (i.e. the government, the local government and the civil service). Furthermore, the extent to which people think that the public administration allows civil servants to put in place innovative ideas has a positive effect on trust in the local government.

The interviews conducted as part of this study as well as information from secondary sources identify three transformations of public services in Finland that can enhance and maintain public trust. These are: 1) the long-awaited reform of the socio-health service provision; 2) service design and delivery in the digital age; and 3) strengthening the development of an ecosystem that promotes innovation in the public administration.

The health system in Finland performs well in comparative standards: health services are fairly effective, life expectancy has increased in the past 20 years and mortality from treatable causes is lower in Finland than the EU average (Keskimaki et al., 2019[2]). The efficiency of the health system has improved in the past ten years: Finland now has a lower number of hospital beds per population than the EU average. The rapid reduction in the number of beds over the past decade has been accompanied by a rapid reduction in the average length of stay (Figure 3.1), and so far these do not seem to have resulted in any discernible reduction in access or quality of health.

Regardless of these results, consensus exists on the need to reform the health system, which is highly decentralised and fragmented both in terms of financing and coverage. Population ageing is adding pressure on health expenditure and threatening the resilience of the health system. The proposed reform includes greater centralisation of responsibilities and resources from the municipalities to the regions to improve equal access to care while containing costs (Box 3.1).

Historically, local government’s capacity to provide public services has been considered weak and the resources for providing equal health services with similar quality insufficient (EU, 2018[4]). To a large extent, the reform under preparation is a territorial reform. Several mergers of small municipalities have occurred, but these have been voluntary and politically difficult as it is hard to ensure similar service provision. On their end, municipalities have complained about excessive statutory obligations and administrative burden with insufficient resources (EU, 2018[4]).

Comprehensive reforms of the health system have proven difficult to implement over the past 15 years and changes have been predominantly incremental and mainly focused on modifying existing features without fundamentally changing the structure of the health system (OECD, 2019[3]).

During the interviews carried out for this study, the reform of the Finnish healthcare system was raised several times as likely having effects on levels of institutional trust. While interviewees were generally in agreement with the reform, they expressed a lack of confidence in the capacity of the government to deliver on its promises given the previous failures. They also raised concerns that the objectives set out in the reform may have a negative effect on the quality of the Finnish health system.

There are essentially two channels through which the healthcare reform may affect levels of trust in government. The first has to do with the process put in place to pass the reform. The current government has set up an interministerial group to advance the preparation of the reform. However, the multiplicity of objectives and interests from different sectors and levels of government require an intense and difficult consensus-building process and a clarification of the responsibilities of the different stakeholders. Given the previous failed attempts, it is important to facilitate the participation of citizens during the process to allow them to voice their concerns and expectations of the key features of health services that have so far received a high rating.

Second, the health reform raises trust concerns because of pre-existing health inequalities between regions and among population groups that may deepen if they are not directly addressed, as the reform that pursues the objectives of geographical concentration of services and containment of cost. For example, socio-economic inequalities in access to health and health status (obesity) still persist and are largely attributed to the prevalence of lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and alcohol use that are higher in people with lower levels of income or education. Furthermore, people living in the northern, eastern and central regions have less access to health services than the rest of the country (Keskimaki et al., 2019[2]) and these regions also display levels of institutional trust (see Chapter 2).

Finally, the reform is going to be discussed in a context of increasing budgetary pressures, where health costs were already expected to increase in the long term due to the ageing population and the update of medical technologies (OECD, 2015[5]). Now there is additional pressure to manage COVID-19. In light of mounting fiscal sustainability concerns, a transparent and people-centred reform plan with numerical targets, expected milestones and a clear time frame also of civil society consultation, should be established as soon as possible to avoid further uncertainty that could hamper the government’s legitimacy and have an effect on levels of trust.

Finland is a highly digitalised society. According to the latest available data from Eurostat, in 2020, 88% of the Finnish population used the Internet to interact with the authorities, a 24 percentage point increase from 2009 and significantly higher than the EU average (63%). In turn, 74% of the population reported having completed a form on line (35 percentage points higher than in 2009) and significantly above the EU average (38%). Still, it is widely acknowledged that the pace and depth of the digital transformation has the potential to change the interactions between people and their administration by shaping the way and means that services are designed and delivered in the public sector.

In particular, strategic use of digital technologies and data offers an opportunity to rethink cumbersome processes from the outset, placing the expectations and needs of users at the core of digital transformation reforms (OECD, 2020[6]). Yet, as any transformation, the digital one also brings challenges in terms of social inclusion that, in turn, can impact public trust. The digital divide may affect older generations, who might find it difficult to keep up with the digitalised way to access services due to the lack of proper skills or tools to do so. It may also impact people living in rural and remote rural areas, where connectivity is generally less available or limited to a more restricted number of channels. The fast pace of change in private digital services may challenge the availability, timeliness, ease of use and responsiveness of public services, with people in turn developing similar expectations for public and private services. Yet, public services are bound to more strict criteria in terms of their application and should ensure an omni-channel approach that, realising the benefits of the strategic use of digital technologies and data, also allows different population groups to be included (OECD, 2020[7]).

The empirical results carried out as part of this study indicate that responsiveness and transformation of services are among the most important factors influencing trust in government, the local government and the public administration in Finland (see Figures 2.24-2.26). In turn, during the interviews carried out for this study, the digital transformation was mentioned as the most important trend in service design and delivery. Service design and delivery through digital channels has been and remains a priority of Finnish administrations. The previous government defined a ten-year objective to increase productivity in public services (i.e. more or the same users with the same or fewer resources) by grasping the opportunities offered by digitalisation. In turn, “improving digital accessibility and encouraging wider use of plain language” is one of the axes of the current public administration strategy.

Digital government can have a transformational role if used to foster a coherent and aligned use of digital technologies and data to guide service design and delivery, giving a central role to the needs and expectations of users, regardless their preferred channel. Unlike silo-based and technology-led digitisation processes (known as “e-government”), the digital transformation of the public sector requires a comprehensive and cohesive strategic approach to advance the digital competence of public organisations and contribute to the digital maturity of the public sector as a whole. This also implies building a culture in the public sector that places citizens and their needs at the core of their digitalisation efforts, which serves as a leading block to frame the design and delivery of services.

The Finnish administration undertook several initiatives to increase the availability of digital services. These include the establishment of a central service portal and a number of initiatives at the institutional level for providing services through digital channels, including the Suomi.fi e-Authorizations service, the Incomes Register, the automation of financial administration and the Real-Time Economy, the digitalisation of the government subsidies system and the digitalisation of healthcare services (Omaolo.fi and Virtual Hospital 2.0). These examples evidence the high levels of services digitalisation in Finland which, however, has been to a certain degree decentralised. This has resulted in the lack of a whole-of-government approach and siloed progress. Legal tools such as the Act and Decree on the Provision of Shared Government Information and Communications Technology Services have been important in advancing towards are more integrated approach to service design and delivery which, in any case, could be further strengthened in view of improving the users’ experience.

In turn, the administration has also advanced in the provision of services under a omni-channel approach and through centralised service catalogues so that users can easily find them and the aggregation of services provided through different channels and by ensuring the coherence and consistency of the different channels. In this context, the Act on the Public Administration’s Joint Service was amended in 2017 to support the digitalisation of different services in view of reaching users through several channels that are aligned with their needs.

Despite these efforts, some areas for improvement remain in order to fully reap the benefits of digital technologies as tools for increasing the responsiveness (e.g through informing the design, adaptation and delivery) of services for enhancing public trust. Finland fares comparatively low among OECD countries in several components of the OECD Digital Government Index (see Box 3.2).

The empirical results carried out for this study indicate that the Finnish population assesses positively the innovation capacity of civil servants and this has a positive effect on trust in the civil service and local government. Civil servants’ motivation to innovate requires that public employees have trust in their organisation. If the incentives for employees do not promote taking risks – trying new things and learning from their results – then employees will never feel encouraged to innovate. However, if there is a risk that innovations may go wrong and result in scandals, this likely would not help public trust. The challenge for managers is to create an environment where civil servants can test ideas in safe places (e.g. labs, “sandboxes”, etc.) and learn openly from their experience, whether positive or negative. In this context, the OECD leadership capabilities model proposes two main groups of functions. The first relates to having capable people in leadership positions; the second relates to providing senior civil servants an enabling environment to innovate once in the position (Gerson, 2020[8]).

Finland has taken steps to instil innovation in the administration, as evidenced by projects such as the framework for experimental policy and resulting in an experimentation team under the Prime Minister’s Office during the previous government’s term with the collaboration of strategic partners (i.e. Demos Helsinki). Through this platform, several experiments, including on basic income and other grassroots experiments, were carried out. Nevertheless, several barriers to public sector innovation do exist, in particular in translating the government action plan into concrete actions that could result in a tendency to fragmentation. These challenges include: leaders’ capabilities to balance horizontal and vertical priorities and to adapt to new ways of working; and a range of institutional factors outside the leadership capability realm, such as resource allocations for horizontal projects, structural arrangements and accountability mechanisms (Gerson, 2020[8]). In addition, while experimentation is acknowledged as providing key insight for preparing systems change in government, generalising it and putting it in place may require a change in the working culture that could be lengthy and hard to obtain (Tõnurist, 2017[9]).

Some of these cultural barriers could be associated with an organisational culture whereby top civil servants tend to emphasise more following the rules (as opposed to achieving results) than their peers in other administrative cultures, such as the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Napoleonic countries (Virtanen, 2016[10]). Among these, a civil servants survey carried out by the Minister of Finance found that expertise, impartiality and independence, rule of law, responsibility, and trust were considered to be the core values in the state administration. In turn, innovation, economic efficiency and collegiality were among the bottom third values when comparing average scores (Ministry of Finance, 2017[11]). Finland is already making progress in enhancing innovation as a core value within the administration and achieving systemic change that could consolidate this process. Some basic conditions to be endorsed by the top management could foster and generalise innovation (Box 3.3).

The Finnish civil service is viewed as highly competent and trustworthy. As part of its transformation and adaptation is the quest for bringing and updating the necessary skills to cope with future challenge and prepare the next generation of civil servants. In this context and beyond innovation, other competences in the administration are also crucial for maintaining high levels of institutional trust. However, during the interviews carried out for this study, some respondents indicated concerns about preparing the next generation of civil servants in view of maintaining high levels of effectiveness of the public administration. Finland has undergone several reforms over the past decade and used a wide array of instruments to restructure and reduce public employment, following fiscal constraints. Such efforts include privatisation, decentralisation of employment, supporting voluntary departures, dismissals, annual productivity targets, outsourcing, recruitment freeze, and non- or partial replacement of retiring persons (OECD, 2015[10]).

In view of possible further pressure to achieve fiscal sustainability through cost reduction in the public administration in the coming years, it is of utmost importance that the public sector maintains its attractiveness as an employer by reinforcing core features of the Nordic model, such as emphasis on public service motivation, professional work values and usefulness for society as a value (Dahlström and Lapuente, 2017[11]). In the Nordic model, public officials are recognised as playing a key role in building and defining the trust relationships, as such that if people find public servants to be less trustworthy, they could then make an inference that most other people cannot be trusted either and this will undermine social cohesion, a determinant of trust in the civil service as shown by the empirical results. As emphasised by Rothstein (2013[12]): “If it proves that I cannot trust the local policemen, judges, teachers and doctors, then whom in the society can I trust? The ethics of public officials become central not only with respect to how they do their jobs, but also the signals they send to citizens about the kind of ‘game’ is being played in the society”.

Accordingly, strengthening and giving value to the image of civil servants is crucial for maintaining high levels of trust in the Finnish administration. Throughout the Lockdown Dialogues (see Box 4.3) carried out as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants expressed their gratitude and recognition of the government’s capacity to maintain essential functions and flexibility to adapt services to the situation. At the same time, civil servants employed in local governments report difficulties to carry out their work in an environment that does not value them sufficiently, where openness and transparency of public administrators is threatened by hate speeches amplified by social media. The general use of hate speech and, more specifically hate speech targeting public figures, is identified as a key challenge in the OECD Civic Space Scan of Finland (OECD, 2021[13]). Further emphasising the spirit of service to the community and profiling the work carried out by different types of public employees, also in normal circumstances, could help to improve the morale of essential public officials and maintain high levels of trust in public institutions (Box 3.4).

According to the empirical results of this study, increasing the responsiveness of services will increase the level of institutional trust in Finland. Such responsiveness is associated with how governments incorporate people’s expectations and demands for transforming and adapting services, as well as the extent to which innovation is allowed and fostered within the administration.

One of the biggest threats with the potential of influencing levels of institutional trust is the reform to the health and social benefits system. This highly complex reform could have an effect on how services are provided and modify access conditions to them. In addition, the fact that the reform has been postponed several times could nurture uncertainty, challenging the government’s legitimacy and influencing trust levels. A sound, people-centred and transparent reform plan with numerical targets and a clear time frame should be established as soon as possible to avoid further nurturing uncertainty and creating instability.

Public services in Finland are highly digitalised and available to people through different channels. However, to some extent, the administration remains organised around units, each with clear responsibilities and processes, as well as problems for integrating their way of working. This is a major challenge for creating broad political commitment and ownership to integrating and aligning digital government into overall public sector reform strategies. Beyond the use of digital technologies in the administration, the challenge is to strategically use digital technologies and data to support a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach for the design and delivery of services that secure a consistent and coherent experience for users in accessing services. Finland must promote cross-governmental strategies, policy levers, initiatives and measurement efforts to ensure that services are adapted and tailored to the needs of users from the outset and independently from the public sector organisation that offers them or citizens’ preferred channels. Finland could consider adopting some integrating practices of governments that have successfully evolved from e-government to digital government and which help support a cohesive approach for service design and delivery in the digital age, such as specific standards, guidelines and initiatives to secure involvement across the design and delivery of services as well as strengthening the availability and adoption of common digital tools to enable an omni-channel approach for service provision.

In turn, Finland is already advancing in the quest of spurring innovation as a core value within the administration and achieving systemic change that could consolidate this process. Promoting horizontal co-ordination and fostering and promoting managerial values that could contribute to breaking cultural barriers towards innovation are important steps in this direction.

The value of trust in public institutions has proven essential during the COVID-19 crisis and has contributed to Finland’s relative success in handling the pandemic. Ensuring that people retain respect for the administration and that there is a perception of the public value created by civil servants is of utmost importance for ensuring that Finland remains a high trusting society. In this context, reinforcing the civil service ethics within the administration as well as profiling and displaying the work carried out by the administration could contribute to strengthening the trusting relationship between citizens and their administration.

As a prerequisite to responsive service delivery, governments must assess the economic, social and political environment of their citizens and act in consequence. This may mean adapting certain services or creating new ones (e.g. addressing climate change, energy, housing, etc.), but it also means being able to deal with uncertainty in a consistent and predictable manner. In the face of multiple natural and man-made threats becoming more salient over the past decade, long-term planning and risk management have proven to be essential, albeit not universally institutionalised, functions of government. Reliability is the capacity of government institutions to respond effectively to a delegated responsibility to anticipate needs, and thereby minimise uncertainty in the economic, social and political environment people face (OECD, 2017[1]).

Figure 3.4. displays the percentage of the population in Finland who have confidence in the government to guarantee the sustainability of the environment, be prepared for future challenges and ensure that everyone has equal opportunities in life. For all three questions, around 40% of the population expressed confidence in the government’s reliability.

Results from the OECD Trust Survey carried out for this study show that more than half of the respondents in Finland consider that their government will be effective in addressing future systemic shocks (e.g. natural disasters, health crisis). This percentage is the highest when compared with five other OECD countries (Figure 3.5).2 Furthermore, the extent to which people consider that public institutions are doing enough to address future challenges and the stability of regulatory and fiscal conditions for businesses appear among the elements which most influence trust in the national government and civil service in Finland (see Figures 2.24 and 2.26 in Chapter 2).

Reliability requires the government to adopt a long-term vision beyond election cycles and make use of foresight strategies and exercises in policy making. Business executives surveyed in the context of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2019 acknowledged the high degree of future orientation and long-term vision of the Finnish government. Finland ranks among the five highest values for both future orientation and long-term vision of the government (Figure 3.6)

Indeed, Finland has a strong tradition of foresight and planning exercises led by the government and the executive, as well efforts to involve public and private stakeholders. During each electoral period, the government prepares a “Report on the Future” on long-term perspectives (10-20 year period) on key strategic issues relative to policy decisions for discussion in the parliament (Box 3.5). For instance, the latest report, published in two parts in 2017 and 2018, focused on the transformation of work.

The Government Report on the Future was prepared by exploiting national foresight procedures and trying out new ways of working. For example, the report draws on the Ministries’ Joint Foresight Procedures. Other foresight exercises include the Common Drivers for Change released in 2017 that highlights 15 changes and uncertainties expected in the future operating environment for decisions makers and citizens (Prime Minister's Office, 2017[15]) as well as the permanent secretaries of the ministries’ Opportunities for Finland on the key questions for the upcoming 2019-23 government (Government of Finland, 2019[16]) or the “Towards next hundred years” events carried out in 2017 on Finland’s ability to adapt to changes.

The variety of foresight strategies and planning exercises provides a vision for the future and creates the necessary space to debate options among relevant representatives and institutions, building consensus on which policies to implement. At the same time, feedback from the OECD interviews mentions two areas where future improvements may be made. First, foresight exercises are often focused on government terms rather than on much longer term scenarios. Second, the various foresight exercises may overlap and lead to confusion on their relevance and possible use. The dialogue between the political leadership and the senior civil service could be enhanced and institutionalised to ensure that the resulting Government Programme is coherent with the country’s fiscal framework and that medium-term strategic objectives are systematically informed by the results of strategic foresight. Enhanced use of performance information in budget setting and foresight strategies would help meet this objective (OECD, 2015[17]).

Finns’ confidence in the country’s resilience and in the government’s capacity to plan for the future has remained strong throughout the COVID-19 crisis, as expressed by many participants in the “Lockdown Dialogues” (Lockdown Dialogues of October and November 2020) and captured by the Pulse Survey (see Figure 1.7). The “Lockdown Dialogues” also played a public consultation role to gather citizens’ views on the challenges of lockdown measures and could in the future evolve in public deliberation instances. Previous investments in resilience, including digitalisation and inter-institutional co-operation, risk management and foresight exercises, as well as open dialogues with citizens based on sound evidence, reinforce citizens’ trust that decision makers and public officials will be able to take the country forward even in difficult situations. In general, as part of the dialogues it was felt that there is a strong climate of trust in Finland, where people have confidence in decision makers and decision makers have confidence in citizens. Participants noted that trust in the government’s decisions and recommendations is supported by the fact that the government is transparent about the reasons for its decisions and that they are evidence based. At the same time, some wondered whether Finns had been following the restrictive measures too dutifully and whether they were blind to the human rights impact of the measures.

Furthermore, COVID-19 may have actually been beneficial to cross-governmental collaboration and co-ordination; the government action plan strategy group involving all ministries under the Prime Minister’s Office has taken concrete joint decisions to counter the effects brought about by the pandemic. A challenge remains on whether this type of co-operation and alignment could continue outside of a crisis context.

At the same time, the exceptional situation brought about by COVID-19 requires stepping up the foresight strategies and long-term vision for recovery while continuing to manage the health pandemic and the uncertainty about its duration. There is room for improvement as, for instance, the COVID-19 scenarios were not published in a timely manner by the Prime Minister’s Office. This process could have been faster and more open. In turn, global trends and demographic change will require difficult decisions to be taken and significant reforms to maintain fiscal sustainability, while investing in the next generation and committing to climate actions. Since April 2020, the Prime Minister’s Office has set up an inter-ministerial group to prepare a plan for Finland’s way out of the epidemic crisis and identify measures for the aftermath of the crisis. The plan in preparation covers not only steps to lift restrictions imposed by the epidemic, but also long-term scenarios to recover from the health, social and economic damage, based on projections of the health effects of the COVID-19 epidemic as well of overall societal assessment. The working group consults extensively with business representatives, municipalities and civil society organisations. However, improvements could be achieved by ensuring that consultation takes place at all stages of the policy cycle, including with a broader range of stakeholders, and that a report on the outcome of the consultation process is provided to participants and the public at large (OECD, 2021[13]). In addition, a science panel supports the group with experts from different fields to help assess and anticipate the effects of the crisis (Prime Minister's Office, 2020[19]).

Similar to the challenges encountered by other countries, four aspects can be underlined for Finland’s public sector to continue building structures and capacities to influence socio-economic changes, develop actionable visions of more desired futures, and maintain the high levels of trust.

First is the need to take into account the multiple aspects and sectors affected by the crisis in order to avoid creating tension between short-term adaptation and long-term vision. Finland is not an exception, but the risk of extreme pressure on the health system caused by a crisis like COVID-19 is not mentioned in any of the foresight exercises. This raises a broader question related to resilience and dealing with uncertainty: how to ensure that foresight exercises and risk management strategies consider a broad range of information and sectors. New governance mechanisms may help to lock in long-term choices and increase the accountability of the government’s plans and commitments. For example, in November 2020, the French supreme administrative court (Conseil d’État) requested that the French government justify that the measures implemented were compatible with targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions set in the Paris Agreement for 2030.

Second is the importance of modernising crisis management approaches to improve resilience, by learning and adapting quickly while keeping an open dialogue with other stakeholders, including parliamentary commissions and audit bodies, to increase accountability. Foresight approaches should be systemically integrated within government decision making and followed by an adequate response. The current government has emphasised the role of the science community and multidisciplinary learning in assisting policy making for recovery from COVID-19. Experiences from other countries may provide useful examples (Box 3.6).

Third, in today’s environment, addressing complex global issues, including acting on climate change and managing large-scale sanitary emergencies, in a fast-paced, rapidly changing and uncertain environment have become the norm rather than the exception. This thus requires governments to improve the capacity of systems thinking that, as mentioned in the section on responsiveness, could also contribute to fostering an innovation friendly environment. It also means identifying and addressing the various interlinkages of emerging complex challenges, and public administrations integrating anticipatory innovation governance into their working methods. Anticipation is essential to strategic planning for resilience before a shock occurs and to preparedness for potential developments once a crisis unfolds (OECD, 2020[20]). Anticipatory innovation governance will require upgrading the civil service in terms of diversity and skills, enhancing the innovation potential within the public administration, and encouraging cultural changes within organisations. The development of spaces for policy experimentation, such as regulatory sandboxes, for testing new solutions to public challenges could be a first step for creating an ecosystem that supports innovation. The work carried between the OECD and the Finnish administration on anticipatory innovation will provide tools for addressing this challenge.

Finally, the long-term impact of the COVID-19 recovery policies will also depend on whether people trust the policies to be sustainable in the long term. Citizens’ trust in the sustainability of government choices can span different dimensions, such as beliefs about whether the state can afford to maintain benefits given fiscal challenges, or the continuity of public services and predictability of government actions. For example, an analysis on the results of targeted social interventions introduced by the government of Colombia since the pandemic shows that these measures have mitigated the impact of the crisis on extreme poverty and helped to include people in the formal economy. Around 45% of the beneficiaries of financial aid have used the account generated to receive government benefits for their own savings, signaling confidence in the medium-term sustainability of this intervention. Sustainability of public services, stability of the conditions for their access and use, and continuity of essential public services are critical to enhance compliance during a crisis and maintain the public’s trust. Foresight exercises should also include metrics on the desired levels of resilience of critical infrastructure and the continuity of essential public services with associated costs for such investments.

Government’s capacity to plan ahead and minimise uncertainty is an important driver of trust in government and the civil service, but they could be better incorporated into policy making. The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can offer some direction on how to strengthen and align these processes and increase their effectiveness in building resilience for society.

In particular, in view of the important transformation of Finnish society, the government could reform the formulation process of government programmes by clarifying responsibilities and enhancing dialogue between the political leadership and the senior civil service to facilitate the inclusion of subjects such as climate change, intergenerational justice, equality, etc. in the recovery plans. Actions include strengthening political efficacy by engaging citizens in policy choices and monitoring results, and by giving regular feedback on inputs provided by civil society. Public accountability and transparency can be reinforced by focusing on results rather than processes, fostering innovation and experimentation in the civil service, and identifying clear and measurable results to be monitored in user friendly and open source formats.

Strengthening existing structures and adopting a systemic and unified approach that focuses on longer scenarios would strengthen foresight exercises. The anticipatory governance project may help move towards a more transversal approach in foresight and futures scenarios.


[11] Dahlström, C. and V. Lapuente (2017), “Theory”, in Organizing Leviathan: Politicians, Bureaucrats, and the Making of Good Government, pp. 13-53, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316822869.002.

[4] EU (2018), Public Aministration Characteristics and Performance in EU 28: Finland, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, https://doi.org/10.2767/106672.

[8] Gerson, D. (2020), “Leadership for a high performing civil service: Towards senior civil service systems in OECD countries”, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 40, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/ed8235c8-en.

[16] Government of Finland (2019), Opportunities for Finland, Publications of the Finnish Government, No. 2019:3, Helsinki, http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-287-694-2.

[2] Keskimaki, I. et al. (2019), “Finland: Health system review”, Health Systems in Transition, Vol. 21/2, pp. 1-166, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/336406567.

[22] Ministry of Finance (2017), Developing Practical Indicators and Expanding the Evidence Base: Value Based Integrity Surveys in Finland, Ministry of Finance, Helsinki.

[13] OECD (2021), Civic Space Scan of Finland, OECD Publishing, Paris, forthcoming.

[20] OECD (2020), Anticipatory Innovation Governance, OECD, Paris.

[6] OECD (2020), Digital Government in Chile – Improving Public Service Design and Delivery, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/b94582e8-en.

[7] OECD (2020), “Digital Government Index: 2019 results”, OECD Public Governance Policy Papers, No. 03, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/4de9f5bb-en.

[3] OECD (2019), Finland: Country Health Profile 2019, State of Health in the EU, OECD Publishing, Paris/European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Brussels, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/20656739-en.

[1] OECD (2017), Trust and Public Policy: How Better Governance Can Help Rebuild Public Trust, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264268920-en.

[5] OECD (2015), Fiscal Sustainability of Health Systems: Bridging Health and Finance Perspectives, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264233386-en.

[10] OECD (2015), Government at a Glance 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/gov_glance-2015-en.

[17] OECD (2015), OECD Public Governance Reviews: Estonia and Finland: Fostering Strategic Capacity across Governments and Digital Services across Borders, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264229334-en.

[19] Prime Minister’s Office (2020), “How do we get out of the corona crisis? What action is needed to repair the damage caused by the crisis? – Preparation of the plan will begin”, press release, Prime Minister’s Office, Helsinki, https://vnk.fi/-/miten-paasemme-koronakriisista-ulos-millaisia-toimia-tarvitaan-kriisista-aiheutuneiden-vahinkojen-korjaamiseksi-suunnitelman-valmistelu-kaynnistyy.

[15] Prime Minister’s Office (2017), The Government’s Common Drivers for Cange, Prime Minister’s Office Publications, Helsinki, https://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/160244/J_14c_2017.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.

[18] Prime Minister’s Office (n.d.), Futures Reviews, Prime Minister’s Office, Helsinki.

[12] Rothstein, B. (2013), “Corruption and social trust: Why the fish rots from the head down”, Social Research: An International Quarterly, Vol. 80/4, pp. 1009-1032.

[9] Tõnurist, P. (2017), “Good news: Systems change in the public sector is possible”, OPSI Blog, OECD, Paris, https://www.oecd-opsi.org/good-news-systems-change-in-the-public-sector-is-possible-2.

[21] Virtanen, T. (2016), “Roles, values, and motivation”, in Greve, C. (ed.), Nordic Administrative Reforms. Lessons for Public Management, Palgrave-Macmillan, https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-56363-7_5.

[14] World Economic Forum (2019), The Global Competitiveness Report 2019, Schwab, Klaus (ed.), World Economic Forum, Geneva, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf.


← 1. Increasingly, responsiveness refers not only to how citizens receive public services, but also to how government listens to citizens and responds to their feedback. Responsiveness, then, is about availability, access, timeliness and quality, but also about respect, engagement and response. This aspect will be discussed under “openness” in Chapter 4 to reflect the close relationship with the concept of open government.

← 2. It should be noted that the question on government’s preparedness for future shocks was formulated with reference to natural disasters, rather than a health emergency, in the surveys carried out previously in Germany, Italy, Korea, Slovenia and the United States.

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