Skip to content

Publicity of the City’s documents

Municipalities, such as the City of Helsinki, comply with the principle of openness in their operations. According to the principle of openness, official documents shall primarily be in the public domain and everyone has the right of access to them, if needed. When requesting personal data, confidential data or discretionary public data, it can be granted to the person requesting access only subject to certain conditions.

The provisions for the openness and confidentiality of documents is laid down in the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), i.e. the Openness Act.

Openness Act (621/1999) >> (pdf)

Data requests to the City of Helsinki made under the Openness Act

If you want data from the City of Helsinki's documents, you can address a request directly to the division, department or city company in charge. The City’s organisation and service pages.

You can also make a request at the City Registry, from where it is forwarded to the correct party. The contact information for the registry can be found at www.hel.fi/kirjaamo 

The data request shall be individualised as closely as possible, whereupon the realisation of the request is easier. For example, the date or headline of the document should always be mentioned, if available. If the data request concerns a public document, which does not include personal data, then the request does not have to be validated and the person requesting the data does not have to state the purpose of use for the information.

When requesting information from a confidential document, or another document from which information can be disclosed only on certain conditions, the person requesting the information must state the purpose of use for the information as well as their own identity. The City may also ask the person requesting the information for further information, if such is needed for settling the prerequisites for disclosing information.

A party's information request, an information request concerning a person's own data and an information request from an authority’s register can be filed through the City's e-services. In the two first situations, you have to use strong identification in order to ensure that the information that is being disclosed concerns the correct person.

A party’s information request

A petitioner, an appellant and any other person whose right, interest or obligation is concerned in a matter (a party) shall have the right of access, to be granted by the authority which is considering or has considered the matter, to the contents also of a document which is not in the public domain, if the document may influence or may have influenced the consideration of his or her matter. The party has the right to information, if the contents of the document may or may have affected the processing of their matter. Party refers to an applicant, appellant or another person whose interests or responsibilities are affected by the matter.

The party is entitled to receive information not only from public documents, but also from such official documents that include classified information. This can be, for example, trade secrets, health data or information belonging to the private life sphere.

The party is also entitled to receive information from documents that have not yet become public. Such documents are, for example, documents connected to the preparation before the decision has been made or before the matter has been processed.
In addition to the aforementioned situations, a party is entitled to receive information about the personal data included in official documents.

Representatives and aides of the party usually have the same right to information as the party themselves. The right to information of an incompetent usually belongs to the carer, guardian or other legal representative.

The party may use the information that they have received based on the publicity to interested parties to look after a right, interest or obligation in a matter to which the publicity to interested parties is directed at. However, the party may not make use of such information in another matter. The party may not disclose confidential information that they have received due to their position to a third party

The right of access to own data

Every person has the right of access to data of themselves contained in an official document, on certain conditions and if not otherwise provided by the law. For example, a customer of a public service has this right. New documents are often created when implementing public services. The documents may concern, for example, the customer's care, guardianship or other activities.

The person also has the right of access to information of himself or herself, even if the authority is not at the present time processing a matter related to them.

The right of access to own data is individual. However, a representative can be used when requesting information. An incompetent's right of access to information is usually exercised by their supervisor, guardian or other legal representative.

Information concerning a person’s own data can also be requested based on the data protection regulation using the form on the City’s data protection site.

Information request from an authority’s person register

Personal data can be disclosed from an authority’s person register as a copy, a print or in electronic format, if the recipient of the information is entitled to save and use the enclosed personal data according to the statutes concerning the protection of personal data.

However, statutes concerning the protection of personal data, such as the EU's General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act, are not applied to the processing of personal data performed by natural persons for personal purposes or comparable regular private purposes. Such personal purposes are, among other things, correspondence and maintaining an address book. If personal data is requested for such purposes as a copy, a print or in electronic format, then the person who requests the information is usually entitled to receive it.

The statutes concerning the processing of personal data are applied only partially to the processing of personal data for purposes of journalistic, academic, artistic or literary expression. If personal data is requested for such purposes as copies, prints or in electronic format, then the person requesting the data is usually entitled to receive the data in question.
The recipient must protect the personal data from inappropriate processing.

Processing of an information request

An information request must be processed without undue delay, no later than two weeks after the filing of the request. In special cases, for example, if the number of documents that have been requested is high, or they include confidential parts, the matter must be solved no later than a month after the filing of the request.

Depending on the document type, the city may disclose the requested information either electronically or in paper format. There may be a fee for paper prints. Information that may not be disclosed electronically or in paper format may be accessed in the premises of the division, department or city company that is responsible for the matter.

Fees (.pdf)



18.09.2020 13:33