State regional administration is being renewed alongside with the healthcare and social welfare reform in Finland. Regional administration reform will mark an end to the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), TE Offices as providers of Public Employment and Business Services, and Regional Councils as their operations will be transferred to autonomous regions – counties – from the beginning of 2019.
MDI is in the centre of reform. A research project has been kicked off as a part of Government’s analysis, assessment, and research activities (VN TEAS, tietokayttoon.fi). The research project called VAAKA (impact, regional development system, customer-orientation, and cost effectiveness in regional administration reform) has two sub-projects. The first sub-project focuses on analysing how the customer-orientation, cost effectiveness, and societal impacts of the ELY centres and TE offices may be secured in the turmoil of regional administration reform. The second sub-project deals with the entire regional development system with a focus on mapping and evaluating alternative structures for future system as well as on the management of ERI funds. The research method in the second sub-project is more consultative, as MDI seeks to provide Ministry of Employment and the Economy and other ministries with real-time information and research findings to support the preparation of regional governance reform.
MDI leads the research project and teams up with Tempo Economics Ltd and Melkior Ltd in the first sub-project. MDI’s senior advisors Timo Aro and Sami Moisio will take part in the second sub-project. The research will be completed and reported by the end of 2016.
Research material and findings will be updated to MDI’s webpage mdi.fi/vaaka throughout the project (mainly in Finnish).