Decision-making in wellbeing services counties

The wellbeing services counties are self-governing. An elected county council exercises the highest decision-making power in each wellbeing services county. The county council decides, for example, on the wellbeing services county’s strategy and administrative regulations, budget and financial plan, and ownership policy principles and the corporate governance principles as well as on approving the county's financial statements and granting discharge from liability.

The county councils may delegate powers to other decision-making bodies, elected officials and public officials of the wellbeing services county. However, powers may not be delegated in matters that the county council is required by law to decide. Powers are delegated through provisions of the administrative regulations.

County councillors and deputy county councillors are elected in county elections. County elections are not held in Helsinki, because the City of Helsinki is responsible for organising healthcare, social welfare and rescue services. 

County councils sit for four-year terms, which begin at the start of June in the election year. County elections are direct, proportional and by secret ballot. All eligible voters have an equal right to vote. Provisions on conducting county elections are laid down in the Election Act (714/1998). County councils decide on their own size. However, at least 59–89 councillors must be elected depending on the population of the wellbeing services county.

The county council appoints the county executive and the other organs of the wellbeing services county and selects the county chief executive. The activities of the wellbeing service county will be managed in accordance with a county strategy approved by the county council. The county executive manages the county’s activities, administration and finances.

The administration, financial management and other activities of the wellbeing services county are directed by a chief executive, who is subordinate to the local executive. 

Decision-making bodies of the wellbeing services counties

The statutory decision-making bodies of the wellbeing services counties are

  • County council
  • County executive
  • County audit committee
  • National languages board (in bilingual wellbeing services counties)
  • Saami language board (in the Lapland wellbeing services county)

The county councils may also appoint committees, management boards and their sub-committees. 

In addition, each wellbeing services county has a county election board as laid down in the Election Act. As self-governing entities, the wellbeing services counties decide on the organisational structure of their statutory decision-making bodies, for example committees, and on the detailed tasks of the bodies.


Mervi Kuittinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. 02955 30445, mervi.kuittinen(at)