Ethical principles of the City of Helsinki

The City of Helsinki’s ethical principles are obligatory for the city’s personnel and elected officials and guide their actions throughout the Helsinki City Group. Supervisors are responsible for informing employees of the ethical principles in work communities.

We work for the residents of Helsinki

We promote the wellbeing of Helsinki residents and the users of the City of Helsinki’s services. In addition, we foster the City of Helsinki’s vitality. We are in a service role in all of our operations. We understand and anticipate the needs of Helsinki residents and the users of the City of Helsinki’s services. Our aim is to provide good resident and user experiences.

We continue to gradually improve our operations to make the lives of Helsinki residents easier. Our operations are based on openness and transparency. The City of Helsinki’s decision-making is open, public and equitable; we assess the impacts of our decisions as closely as possible. The city’s communications are open, current, anticipatory and truthful. The City of Helsinki provides Helsinki residents, the media, authorities, and other interest groups and cooperation partners with reliable information on the city’s services and decision-making.

We emphasise honesty, fairness and equal treatment in all of our operations. Interaction and participation are important to us. We are building a stable and safe living environment in cooperation with our residents and various communities and organisations.

We respect the right of different population groups to their own language and culture, as well as the cultural rights of all Helsinki residents. We do not condone racism – there is no one way to be a Helsinki resident, and every person is equally as valuable. Equality is a human right and a fundamental value of society. Safety, mutual trust between Helsinki residents and a sense of solidarity are all important. Helsinki is everyone’s city.

We follow the principles of good governance and leadership

We comply with all of the provisions concerning the City of Helsinki in our operations. Every employee and elected official knows the legislation and the City of Helsinki’s rules and instructions that apply to their personal work and the city’s operations. The supervisors make sure to induct the employees and do their part in maintaining the city organisation’s competence. The upper management and supervisors set an example with their actions and address any issues identified as needed.

We process the information of Helsinki residents, customers and interest groups with due care, in compliance with the applicable provisions and with respect for privacy. We protect our systems well and process the City of Helsinki’s data securely.

We treat our interest groups according to consistent principles and expect them to adhere to the ethical principles approved by the City of Helsinki. We will not direct our contracting partners or other parties to do anything that we are prohibited from doing. 

We do not condone corruption or abuses

We do not condone the pursuit of self-interest, abuses or criminal activity in the City of Helsinki’s operations. We will investigate all tip-offs about such behaviour and take legal action as needed.

Self-interest and the interest of family and friends must not influence decision-making or its preparation at any level. Each one of us acts honestly and in good faith. We will not demand, accept or approve any gifts or other benefits that influence, aim to influence or are likely to influence our activities. We know the City of Helsinki’s guidelines on accepting trips and other financial benefits paid for by external parties, and supervisors make sure that all employees know the guidelines.

We refrain from any activities and secondary occupations that may conflict with our obligations towards the City of Helsinki. We inform the City of Helsinki of any secondary occupations we have in accordance with the city’s guidelines. This is to make sure that there is no conflict between our primary and secondary occupations.



We conduct procurement responsibly and promote human rights and the international labour standards in order to reduce the use of child labour, among other things. We combat the black economy and also require our contracting partners to do so. We promote transparency in all of our operations and financial management in order to prevent corruption and bribery.

We ensure sustainable growth

The City of Helsinki is an internationally proactive operator with regard to taking global responsibility at the local level. One of the growing city’s key principles is to ensure comprehensive economic, social and ecological sustainability.

We manage the City of Helsinki’s finances responsibly, sustainably and profitably in order to secure services for Helsinki residents and maintain Helsinki’s status as a competitive operating location for companies in the long term. All operations of the Helsinki City Group support the City of Helsinki’s social objectives and service provision. Our goal is to offer early help and support. Additionally, we seek to identify the most vulnerable population groups and assist them in getting help. Reducing the segregation of population groups and areas is of the utmost important to the City of Helsinki. All areas of Helsinki are good places to live and spend an entire lifetime in.

We emphasise sustainable development and environmental values in our operations, and we also combat climate change.

The City of Helsinki is a responsible employer

As an employer, we emphasise equality, non-discrimination and the diversity of working life in all of our operations. We require all of our employees to treat their colleagues and customers properly and with respect.

Diversity is the City of Helsinki’s strength. We know how to make use of the advantages of diversity in developing our operating culture and services. Everyone can be who they are.

The City of Helsinki implements good management and supervisory practices. Our operating culture is open and encouraging and builds trust. We encourage City of Helsinki employees to participate and take action independently. As an employer, we make sure to stay current and promote continuous learning. We anticipate changes in our environment and develop our operations to best serve Helsinki residents. Good staff experience and customer experience contribute to each other.

The City of Helsinki’s workplaces provide healthy and safe working conditions for employees. We anticipate issues in working life and risks to the work ability of employees. We do not condone racism, discrimination, inappropriate treatment or sexual harassment of any kind at workplaces. We promote a culture in which we intervene, speak up and take action if we deviate from the mutually agreed operating methods. Each employee and supervisor must know how to act responsibly and foster a good work atmosphere.

Our obligations and rights as employees and elected officials

The City of Helsinki’s operations are based on openness and trust. We are all committed to following the city’s operating principles, rules and guidelines. We are all building an ethical operating culture. Maintaining and improving our skills is our duty. Each of us is responsible for maintaining and creating an encouraging and open atmosphere. Each of us is also entitled to being treated well and with respect and appreciation.

It is our duty to examine things from multiple perspectives for the benefit of the city. We take care of the City of Helsinki’s assets and handle our tools appropriately. We will not jeopardise or harm the city’s reputation through our actions.

The Helsinki City Board approved these ethical principles on 28 October 2019.