How the administration between the state and regions is organized in Finland

State Provincial Offices

The new state regional authorities; the Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI) and the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) started operating on 1 January 2010.

  • The Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI) are in charge of the following tasks that belonged to the former state provincial offices: evaluation of basic services; tasks in the fields of social welfare, health care, environmental health care, education, competition and consumer administration, rescue services, and preparation for emergency conditions.  
  • The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment are in charge of the following tasks that belonged to the former state provincial offices: tasks in the fields of education and competence, structural funds, library, sports and youth administration, school construction, international affairs, and traffic administration.
  • The ERDF-related tasks that formerly were carried out by the Department for Education and Culture in the State Provincial Offices, have been transferred to the Regional Councils.  

Towns and munincipalities
According to the Finnish Constitution, the municipalities have a dual function. Firstly, they function as the basic regional administrative units of our country, and secondly, as the basic units of the self-government of the citizens. In Finland, the municipalities have a long tradition of self- government, and thus, the municipal system provides an important arena for political participation. In addition, the municipalities play a central role in society through organising most of the welfare services.

Within central state administration, municipal affairs are covered by several ministries. The Ministry of the Interior has the responsibility for the development of municipal legislation and administration, calculations and analyses relating to local government finances and the promotion of functioning cooperation between the State and municipalities. The Ministry also performs regional development tasks related to municipalities.

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for developing, preparing and implementing legislation concerning the municipal election and referendum procedure. The Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Transport and Communications as well as The Ministry of Trade and Industry develop and carry out tasks related to municipal infrastructure and develop and implement related legislation. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health develop basic municipal services and related legislation and handle central government transfers concerning these services. The Ministry of Finance, in turn, handles municipal tax matters, such as calculating the shares of corporate tax.

Regional Councils
The main idea in the work of the Regional councils in Finland is to defend the interest of the member communities and their citizens by promoting the social and economical welfare of the region. The council is working as a regional development and planning authority defined by law and also to look after the interests of the region and its communities by regarding:

  • the overall development of region
  • the typical features of the communities
  • the regional and social balance and
  • the unique of the environment and the principles in sustainable development

Sources:  Ministry of the Interior and  Regional Council of Lapland




Administrative structure in Norway

The public administration in Norway is organised at three different levels: state, county and municipalities or rural districts. The counties are governed by two democratically elected political councils, the County Council and the County Executive Board which is the leading body of the administration. The County council is the highest local authority and concentrates mainly on developing policy and longer-term strategies. The Executive Board decides the day-to-day affairs of the county. The County Governor or Mayor is the head of the County Administration, and is liable to the Executive Board.