Improving the administration of discretionary government grants
The system of administering discretionary government grants will be improved by creating uniform, digitalised government grant processes. The grant activities involved include the channelling of grants, the application process, and the award, monitoring and assessment of grants. The aim is that the whole of central government will gradually switch to the new system of government grant administration, and, over the next few years, will begin using the supporting shared online services.
Introduction of the new system for administering discretionary government grants will:
• improve the effectiveness of the system
• increase the transparency and openness of the system
• make the grant application and award processes clearer and smoother
• ensure that grant administration practices are more uniform.
The new shared online services will replace the existing online services either in part or in full.
In the future, applications for discretionary government grants will be made on the Applyforgrants.fi website, which will bring together in one place all the calls for grant applications of the different government grant authorities.
In the future, anybody who visits the Exploregrants.fi website will be able to check how much has been awarded in discretionary government grants and for what purposes.
The Managegrants.fi website will be a service for government grant authorities to use in managing the different grant processes.
What are discretionary government grants?
Discretionary government grants consist of public financing awarded on a discretionary basis from central government funds for the purpose of supporting activities or projects considered important to society. Discretionary government grants totalling almost EUR 4 billion are awarded each year in more than 300 calls for government grant applications.
Discretionary government grants are different from central government transfers made to local government. Together they are known as government transfers and grants. Discretionary government grants may also be awarded in the form of government support. Provisions on the administration of discretionary government grants are laid down in a general statute, the Act on Discretionary Government Grants (688/2001). Discretionary government grants are awarded as either general grants or special grants.
Who are the government grant authorities and government grant applicants?
In Finland there are tens of thousands of applicants for discretionary government grants, and more than 90 government grant authorities. The government grant authorities include all the ministries and about 30 central agencies. Discretionary government grants are also awarded by authorities of the regional state administration. The new system of administering discretionary government grants will not bring any changes to the duties and powers of the government grant authorities.
Government grant recipients include associations, foundations, municipalities, joint municipal authorities, scientific institutions, research organisations, higher education institutions, businesses and private individuals.
Why are government grant activities being improved and digital processes introduced?
The system of administering discretionary government grants is being improved because:
• there is no clear overall picture of the allocation and use of discretionary government grants
• the grant processes of the government grant authorities are needlessly different from each other
• more information is needed on the effectiveness of discretionary government grants
• the extent of digitalisation among government grant authorities varies, and the existence of separate online services generates costs.
The need to develop and digitalise the administration of discretionary government grants has been acknowledged in various reports prior to this project. These have been taken into account in the planning and implementation of the project.
Report of the working group on discretionary government grants (Publications of the Ministry of Finance 2015:29)
Preliminary study by the Ministry of Education and Culture (Publications of the Ministry of Education and Culture 2017:46)
Cost-effectiveness potential of government grants (Final report 31 January 2019, QPR Software Oyj)
Follow the progress of this project and take part in the discussion concerning changes to the system of administering discretionary government grants, hashtag #valtionavustukset.