Deregulation is making headway in all branches of administration
The government’s key project on deregulation has made good headway. The ministries and branches of administration have been working actively to promote the aim of dropping unnecessary regulation and streamlining legislation. Significant legislation in all branches of administration has been updated during the process.
The aim is to enable provisions, remove unnecessary regulation and alleviate administrative burden. This will support Finland’s growth, strengthen competitiveness and promote digitalisation. The results of the project are published every six months, now for the fourth time.
“The work aiming to streamline legislation and drop unnecessary regulation is progressing in the min-istries in a goal-oriented manner and in keeping with Government Programme objectives”, notes Ms Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications.
“Concrete results are becoming visible in practice. The citizens’ daily lives have been made easier by developing e-services and cutting back on fees charged by the authorities. The Mining Act reform is a good example of deregulation that is relevant to businesses. The legislative amendments have reduced the obligations of companies in this sector to the tune of some EUR 100 000 annually”, explains Minister Berner.
“The deregulation continues, supporting positive economic and employment trends and boosting Fin-land's competitiveness. In this respect, the streamlining of statutes related to housing and construction plays an important role”, says Minister Berner.
In the first six months of 2017, such actions as launching a reform of vocational education and training, updating regulation on first and last names, reforming the regulations on parents’ access rights to and guardianship of children and extending vehicle inspection intervals to match the general EU level have contributed to making everyday life easier for the citizens.
The operating preconditions of companies were improved by such measures as introducing a Customer Information System, changes in land use planning, deregulation that facilitates construction in the agriculture and forestry sector, and by lightening official procedures. Access was provided to new markets by reforming legislation on transport services. Companies’ operating preconditions were also improved by testing the “One In, One out” principle in legislative drafting.
The administrative burden was lightened and administration was streamlined by providing more e-services. Several licensing processes were also replaced by notification procedures. Administrative structures were modernised, and the service promise related to licensing and appeal processes was confirmed.
SMOOTHER DEALINGS WITH AUTHORITIES
Through the service promise related to licensing procedures, the authorities draw attention to the re-quirements of good governance, smooth running of official procedures and a customer-oriented ap-proach.
The promise states that each administrative branch will take the customer's rights, interests and obli-gations into consideration when providing different services. The services will be organised to make their use easy and speedy while ensuring appropriate and equitable service quality.
The service promise will be fulfilled in all administrative branches. It will be taken into consideration in legislative projects related to licensing processes, when developing lower-level regulation and guide-lines, and in performance guidance. Among other things, the service promise means that the one-shop stop principle will be developed and followed.
The Ministerial working group for reforming operating practices has confirmed the service promise concerning licensing and appeal processes.
LIGHTENING THE REGULATORY BURDEN REGARDING COMPANIES
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment are testing the “One In, One Out” principle in order to lighten the regulatory burden regarding companies. This means that any additional cost of one euro incurred by enterprises because of national legislation or legislation exceeding the EU minimum regulation must be offset by savings of one euro. This saving will be found in connection with either the same or a different legislative project.
The principle is applied to the amendments to the Mining Act in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and to the overhaul of the Food Act in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
WORK IN PROGRESS IN SUB-GROUPS
Three sub-groups are operating under the executive group on deregulation.
The group focusing on business, entrepreneurship and competitiveness has started processing de-regulation proposals made by the stakeholders and completed a preliminary analysis of change needs. Having got off to a good start, the group will continue its charting and development efforts together with the stakeholders.
The digitalisation group estimates that by laying down effective general provisions on information management, 500 to 1 000 provisions in specialised acts could be dropped. The case-law related to interpreting the Constitution and the fragmented nature of the general legislation have led to unnec-essarily detailed specialist legislation. The group has also identified a need for common concepts re-lated to information systems. The work to promote the concepts and a common information manage-ment model is under way in a common information management project.
The group on civic society and voluntary work has examined official instructions on voluntary activities, among other things. The instructions are unclear and difficult to interpret in places. The most significant development needs are associated with taxation, including instructions applicable to the prepayment of tax in voluntary activities of non-profit organisations and public bodies. Efforts to clarify the instructions for licensing and notification procedures and to streamline and simplify the procedures should be continued. It will also be necessary to determine which fees associated with licensing procedures could be dropped. No extensive needs for actual legislative amendments were identified from the perspective of the civic society and voluntary activities.
SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DEREGULATION PROJECTS OF THE FIRST SIX MONTHS IN 2017
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Transport services act. Opens up the transport services market and brings increased choice for citi-zens.
- Overhaul of the Postal Act. Creates better possibilities for competitiveness for postal sector compa-nies by adapting and reducing requirements associated with the universal service obligation.
- Amendment to the Act on vehicle inspections. Inspection intervals were extended to match the EU level.
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY
- Amendment to the Food Act. Content-related requirements will be reduced in provisions on food safety control programmes and plans. Reduces the administrative burden of food sector actors.
- Act on certain programme based payments to farmers. The concept of a farm consistent with provi-sions on direct aid was introduced.
- Government decree on structural aid for reindeer husbandry and nature-based industries. Procedures for granting and paying support were simplified.
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
- Legislation on names was reformed. Lightens the procedures in name issues and enables e-services in the processing of matters related to names.
- Reform of the general Administrative Judicial Procedure Act. A provision under which leave to appeal an administrative court's decisions to the Supreme Administrative Court is granted as a rule. Aims for smoother and faster processing of appeals.
- Implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Whether there any longer is a need for such general acts as the Personal Data Act will be established.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE
- Reform of vocational education and training. Statutes on vocational education and training, vocational adult education and the funding of these types of education will be grouped together. The aim is at smoother processes for applying for a place in education and a better response to labour market needs. Removing obstacles to export of education.
- Amendment to the Act on General Upper Secondary Education. An experiment with removing ob-stacles to export of general upper secondary education.
- The reform of the central agency in the Ministry's branch of administration continues.
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
- Modernisation of the defence administration’s statutes on military explosives and hazardous chemi-cals
MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR
- Reform of the legislation on the firearms licensing procedure. The process of granting licences and permits for purchasing and possessing firearms will be reformed and clarified without undermining firearms safety. E-services will be introduced, the provision on the permit holder’s home municipality will be dropped and unnecessary personal visits to services will be reduced.
- Preliminary study on reforming the Money Collection Act. Charting the current status and develop-ment areas of money collection activities. Determining alternative implementation methods for stream-lining money collection activities. Reviewing the position of public entities as implementers of money collections.
- Reform of regulation on chimney-sweeping. Reform of Rescue Act provisions on the arrangement of chimney-sweeping services.
MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND HEALTH
- Act on the provision of social and health services. The amendment clarifies and simplifies provisions on licensing procedures and supervision of private social and health services. Licensing procedures will mainly be replaced by a notification procedure and registration of service providers.
MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS AND EMPLOYMENT
- Mining Act reform. Mining companies’ administrative burden was lightened by dropping outdated obligations (submission of mine maps) and lightening the licensing procedure. Introduction of a notifi-cation procedure when exploration permits expire. The reform lightens the administrative burden of some 50 companies. The overall savings will amount to some EUR 100 000 a year.
- Customer Information System legislation. Increasing the interoperability of data needed in business services. Customer data will be saved to a common customer information system. This will make data use easier and more efficient.
MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
- Implementation of the Consular Protection Directive and review of the Consular Services Act. The drafting of the bill has begun.
- Agreements with South Africa and India have been signed and the drafting of government bills on the matter has been started.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
- Information management act. Removal of extensive special legislation. A government bill is being drafted.
- Overhaul of The Act on Common Funds. Simplification of legislation on investment funds. An eval-uation memo on this issue was circulated for statements in spring 2017.
PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE
- In spring 2017, the Prime Minister's Office carried out a review of EU legislation and the Commis-sion’s legislative projects. The statutes, provisions and proposals that present problems for Finnish actors were identified as carefully as possible. Particular attention was paid to negative impacts on economic growth, competitiveness and employment. The purpose of this review was to collect material for exerting influence on the Commission Work Programme for 2018.
MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT
- Amendment to the Land Use and Building Act. The use of local master plans as the basis of building projects will be promoted, and modifying local detailed plans will be made easier. Building in the agri-culture and forestry sector will also be made easier.
- The new Act on environmental impact assessments will enable advance talks and lighten the re-quirements. Targets significant environmental impacts, processing times will be shortened.
- Under the government bill amending the Environmental Protection Act, a licence will no longer be required for 200 different actions. The bill will also improve the efficiency of e-service use.
Mr. Jari Partanen, State Secretary, tel. +358 9 0405 91 1377
Ms Silja Ruokola, Director of Legal Affairs, tel. +358 40 580 0894