The City of Helsinki’s highest decision making body is the City Council, elected in municipal elections every four years. Helsinki City Council has 85 permanent members and an equal number of deputy members.
The City Council’s responsibilities include the definition of City strategies and other important objectives, the bases of service fees and the bases of the organization of the City administration. The City Council appoints other City bodies and the highest City officers. It also decides on the main financial matters including the City budget, on the appropriations of different sectors and on the municipal tax rate.
The City Council also decides on the City’s master plan and most important local plans, the establishment and closing of educational institutions and certain social benefits and health care services. The organization of the City Council’s activities and the meeting procedure is defined in the Council agenda.
The City Council has transferred some of its authority to other bodies with ordinances, including the City Board, committees, boards and City officers. By transferring authority, the Council can better focus on the main issues and the overall development of the City.
The City Council normally meets every second Wednesday. The general public can attend the Council meetings from a designated area in the Council’s chamber. However, the public has usually no access to the meetings of other City bodies, but the agendas and decisions are available on the City decision-making webpages.
The City Council meetings are webcast on the Helsinki-channel web channel, and they are available on demand. The meeting agendas are available on the Council website on the Friday preceding the meeting in Finnish and in Swedish, and the Council decisions are reported on Helsinki-kanava already in the course of the meeting and immediately after the meeting on the Council website in Finnish