|Participating in the drafting of legislation||Graphical version|
In the drafting of Finnish legislation citizens’ participation is primarily realised through the procedure for the obtaining of comments. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other civil society groups are heard when ministries prepare legislation.
As a rule, the procedure for the obtaining of comments is intended for various communities and existing organisations. In addition to this procedure, citizens can make their voice heard through self-initiated contacts to government and in hearings.
Good preparation of legislation should mean that, in addition to public authorities, groups directly affected by the legislation being prepared are heard extensively enough. These can include NGOs and experts.
NGOs and private persons also have the opportunity to provide self-initiated feedback on various details related to the preparation of legislation. It is a good idea for NGOs to keep as well informed as possible about progress made in the preparation of an issue that interests them.
A quick and simple way is to email comments about preparation directly to a public servant working on the issue, or to the registry office or communications unit of the ministry. The latter two will then forward them to relevant officials.
As far as possible, hearings are organised by inviting representatives of a field to the same hearing in order to ensure that supporting opinions can be voiced as extensively as possible.
A comprehensive summary of comments, responses and ideas received must be compiled. A summary of comments, opinions and views expressed in hearings must also be brought up at the decision-making stage. Proposals for decisions must also detail viewpoints that did not result in changes, and reasons for not including them.
Summaries must be available for public inspection. Individual comments must also be available. There may also be reason for government to proactively provide information about a summary.
The Government Project Register (HARE) is a public online service of the Finnish Parliament and ministries. It provides information in Finnish about Parliamentary, Government and ministerial projects and about committees, advisory boards, teams of investigators, working groups and executive organs of central government agencies, departments and unincorporated state enterprises.
The registry also contains information about legislative projects being prepared by public servants at ministries. Parliament and each ministry are responsible for their respective project information.
Information about issues under preparation can also be found on the websites of the ministries.
Updated on October 12, 2006