New model developed for dialogues between citizens, communities and authorities
A working group appointed by the Ministry of Finance has developed a model for national dialogues. In national dialogues, issues important to people and communities are discussed in a way that strengthens inclusion in society. The model and the related report were published on 3 June.
“The lifeblood of democracy is that everyone has a genuine opportunity to make their voices heard. This calls for a wide range of ways to enable citizens to participate in public debate with a low threshold. This report is an excellent starting point to launch the national dialogue model across the country and strengthens dialogue between civil society and other stakeholders,” says Minister of Local Government Sirpa Paatero.
The series of national dialogues will invite as wide a range of people and communities as possible to organise discussions. The purpose of the discussions is to learn about the experiences of the participants and, thus, to gain an understanding of and up-to-date information on societal phenomena, challenges and opportunities. The knowledge gained will be made available to everyone, including central and local governments. The model is based on the Lockdown Dialogues series of discussions held in 2020–2021.
National dialogues are joint activities of civil society
The report discusses the objectives of the dialogues and the proposed practices for arranging discussions and describes the roles of different parties. The parties in national dialogues include the participants and organisers of the discussions as well as the parties who make use of the summaries of the discussions. An operative core group consisting of various parties is responsible for and coordinates the whole series of dialogues.
The aim has been to create a functional model to support understanding, inclusion and democracy that could also be used, for example, by local governments and the third sector. According to the working group, it is important that the expertise, networks and contacts of civil society and other parties be used when planning discussions, contacting parties to arrange discussions and drawing up summaries of discussions.
First national dialogue to be held in 2023
Work on the national dialogues is scheduled to start in August 2022. Over the course of the autumn, the aim is to finalise the overall concept, assemble a group of regular organisers for dialogues, and prepare and start work on the first national dialogue for the spring of 2023. The plan is also to pilot the model during the autumn of 2022.
Minister Sirpa Paatero appointed the working group to prepare a model for national dialogues in January 2022. The working group included representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Dialogue Academy, Prime Minister’s Office, Timeout Foundation, City of Rovaniemi, Central Union for Child Welfare, and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.
Sofia Nevalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Local Government, tel. +358 295 530 530, sofia.nevalainen(at)gov.fi
Katju Holkeri, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 295 530 087, katju.holkeri(at)gov.fi
Janne Kareinen, Director, Dialogue Academy, tel. +358 45 631 6516, janne.kareinen(at)dialogiakatemia.fi
Laura Arikka, CEO, Timeout Foundation, tel. +358 44 579 2686, laura.arikka(at)eratauko.fi
Final report of the working group on national dialogues (in Finnish)
Press release 24 January 2022: Working group to prepare a model for national dialogue between citizens, communities and authorities (in Finnish and Swedish)