The audit committee: The new governance system changed the way Helsinki is led

The City of Helsinki’s new governance system has changed the way the City is led. It is easier for the Mayor and the City Executive Office to steer the City when it is based on the division model than when it consisted of several departments.

However, the new mayor model has led to the governance system becoming fragmental. There is confusion in the divisions about who steers what, since the steering comes from the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, their special advisers and various steering groups. The deputy mayors do not have the power to steer the divisions, but there are still expectations about them doing so. The distribution of work between the deputy mayors and the division is unclear to the media, the residents and the personnel. The strong role of the Mayor in the governance system has raised concerns about the concentration of power. The City Manager’s role has not formed a counterforce to the Mayor.

In its assessment report for the year 2019, the audit committee evaluated the steering given to the divisions by the Mayor, the deputy mayors as well the City Executive Office, and the different roles of the actors. The new governance system and division model was introduced in June 2017.

Teachers’ competence for the digital leap do not correspond to Helsinki’s objectives

In the autumn of 2017, before the coronavirus epidemic caused a nationwide digital leap in basic education, the audit committee evaluated how the digitalisation of the basic education had been implemented. The digitalisation programme was implemented in Helsinki during the years 2016–2019. Digital environments, systems and devices had been introduced into use in comprehensive schools in accordance with the programme, but the pedagogic and digital competence of the teachers did not reach the programme’s objectives. This was due to the fact that the training offered was insufficient and that the teachers’ attendance in the offered training was quite limited.

The quality control of around-the-clock services for the elderly works well

The quality control in the around-the-clock services for the elderly organised by the City is sufficient when outsourced and acceptable when produced by the City itself. No major faults were found in the quality control, even if isolated faults had occurred. It is possible that problems arise in the future because of the lack of personnel. The number of complaints has been quite limited both in service produced by the City and in service produced by private actors.

Annual assessment report processed by the City Council on 17 June 

The audit committee is an organ that reports to the City Council and whose task it is to assess how the goals set by the City Council have been fulfilled.  The 2019 annual assessment report can be read at: www.arviointikertomus.fi.

The City Council will process the assessment report at its meeting on 17 June 2020.