The service of providing pre-primary education places proactively by the Education Division of the City of Helsinki was awarded the Best user-centric service in European cities and regions prize. The jury liked that the service did not require any special new tools, and the proactivity of the service model also received praise. The jury appreciated the fact that the operating model can easily be applied in other cities, too.
The award was granted by UserCentriCities, a network of 22 partners operated by the Lisbon Council, a think tank in Brussels funded by the European Union. The network includes VTT Technical Research Centre as well as 18 cities and regions, among others. UserCentriCities maintains a repository of good public sector services at usercentricities.eu/services.
– Offering a place in pre-primary education proactively in Asti is a great new service for Helsinki residents, and we are very happy that people have noticed the work. The award is a wonderful recognition of the good long-term work we do in Helsinki for digitalisation and user-centric services that make the everyday lives of families easier,” says Head of Education Division Satu Järvenkallas.
–The vision of the digital strategy of the City of Helsinki is ‘A city that anticipates service needs and operates on people’s terms’. The aim is to anticipate the different service needs of the city residents by taking advantage of data. The Education Division has been amazing about taking this vision and implementing a successful, award-winning service, says Chief Digital Officer Mikko Rusama.
A place in pre-primary education easily on Asti
The Asti online service is the City of Helsinki Education Division’s new digital service. The development of services is based on the City of Helsinki’s strategy and digitalisation programme. The aim is to achieve functional digital services and a clearer and more consistent communication and interaction with the City.
In spring 2022, Helsinki assigned guardians places in pre-primary education for their children through the Asti online service. The service already received positive feedback in the spring from the guardians of pre-primary school pupils starting school next autumn. This year, for the first time, places in pre-primary education were assigned to guardians via the Asti online service. In 2019–2020, the new service was trialled by offering customers a place in pre-primary education with a text message.
A total of 4,396 places in pre-primary education were assigned to the guardians of children who are in municipal early childhood education. Out of these, 89% of the guardians accepted the offered place.
Guardians were given the opportunity to give feedback on the Asti online service when enrolling. 87% of the guardians who accepted a place in pre-primary education were either satisfied or very satisfied with the Asti service. One piece of feedback asked: “Can this really be this easy?”
In Finland, every child participates in pre-primary education for one year before the start of compulsory education.
In Helsinki, pre-primary education is provided in several daycare centres and some schools, both as a municipal and a private service. Pre-primary education is provided for four hours a day in accordance with the school term dates and holidays.
Heini Valppu-Virenius, Product Owner
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