Local government’s duties and activities

The Ministry of Finance steers in general the development of local government's activities and duties.

The municipalities organise services for their residents. Most of these services are defined by law as being duties of local government. Duties can be assigned to local government only by laying down provisions to this effect in the law.

Local government’s statutory duties cover the following:

  • education and day care services
  • cultural, youth and library services
  • urban planning and land use
  • water and energy supply
  • waste management
  • environmental services
  • health and social services (will be transferred to the counties as part of the regional government, health and social services reform)
  • fire and rescue services (will be transferred to the counties as part of the regional government, health and social services reform)

In addition to the statutory duties, the municipalities may assume other tasks of self-government themselves. These generally concern the economy, employment and housing.

During the government term 2015–2019, the aim was to cut the costs of municipalities by reducing the statutory tasks and the obligations steering their implementation. The implementation of the operational programme targeted at reduction is described in the final report of the project. As part of the implementation of the operational programme, the principles of regulations concerning municipalities were also prepared.

Provisions on local government administration and finances are laid down in the Local Government Act.

Final report of the operational programme to reduce municipalities' tasks (in Finnish) 

>Local government tasks and obligations 2015, supplementary report, Publications of the Ministry of Finance 30/2015 (in Finnish)

Review of the tasks of local government, Report 2012, Publications of the Ministry of Finance 2/2013 (in Finnish)

Survey of local self-government duties, Publications of the Ministry of Finance 40/2015 (in Finnish)

Contact information

Anne-Marie Välikangas, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2955 30020

Suvi Savolainen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 2955 30122