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Digital and Population Data Services Agency sets the direction for digitalisation and serves people in various phases of their lives

At the beginning of 2020, a new Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Finnish Digital Agency) will begin its operation in Finland. The agency will be created when the Population Register Centre, local register offices and the Development and Steering Unit for the Local Register Offices operating under the Regional State Administrative Agency for Eastern Finland are merged into a single agency. In terms of administration, the agency will be built upon the foundation of the current Population Register Centre.

The decision on the new name of the agency was published by the Minister of Local Government and Public Reform Anu Vehviläinen on 23 May 2018. The name reflects the agency's task in promoting digitalisation and providing services related to life event-based services to people living in Finland.

“The agency's new name tells about its central task as a trailblazer for digitalisation in society. Making innovative use of digitalisation, the agency will provide steering and services for both citizens and companies in the various stages of their lives”, says Minister Vehviläinen.

Accelerating the digitalisation in public administration and making the everyday life of citizens easier

The Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Finnish Digital Agency) will steer and advise the whole public administration sector in the digital implementation of services. In addition, it will provide common support services for the provision of common electronic services for the use of society. The goal is to promote customer-oriented digitalisation in society and the transfer of information between different systems. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Finnish Digital Agency) is responsible for, inter alia, support services for electronic services and the expert services in data management and information security within the public administration.

The Digital and Population Data Services Agency is also in charge of the maintenance and development of the population data system and the production of information services based on the population data system for authorities and companies. Furthermore, the agency acts as a guardianship authority and provides, for example, notary public services and performs civil marriages, trade confirmations, tasks related to elections and referenda, name change matters, investigations of impediments to marriage and confirmations of the list of parties to estate inventories.  The agency will develop its service provision in a customer-oriented way and strive to provide its services electronically to the highest extent possible. However, even in the future, customers can seek personal service by contacting the agency's offices located in different parts of Finland.

“The goal is that citizens are asked to provide specific information only once and, after this, the information will be available to all other authorities, when allowed through the service or when the authority is given the appropriate authorisation by the customer. When information moves between systems, all matters related to the same life event are easier to take care of as a single entity. This way, the citizens and companies have less need to contact the authorities, things run smoother and people have more time for other things in their everyday lives”, notes Director General Janne Viskari from the Population Register Centre. In accordance with draft government proposal, the Director General of the Population Register Centre will act as the Director General of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Finnish Digital Agency).

The operation of the Population Register Centre has changed substantially since the tasks related to the promotion of digitalisation were transferred under its remit. During the beginning of 2018 alone, some 60 new people specialising in the development of digitalisation have begun their work at the Population Register Centre. More new competent people will be needed in the future as well. Viskari notes that the agency will invest in, for example, improved exploitation of artificial intelligence in society.

The initiative aimed at merging the tasks of local register offices and the Population Register Centre was launched at the beginning of 2018. When the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Finnish Digital Agency) begins its operation on 1 January 2020, the names of the Population Register Centre and local register offices that have been in use for decades will be consigned to history, and their services will be transferred to the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. At the beginning of 2020, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Finnish Digital Agency) will have approximately 800 employees.

The intention is to circulate the draft government proposal concerning the reform for comments at the beginning of June.

Further information

Irja Peltonen (chairman of the steering group of the merger), CIO, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 (0)2955 3013, firstname.lastname(at)vm.fi (business trip 23.5.2018)
Jaana Salmi (vice chairman of the steering group of the merger), Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 (0)2955 30003, firstname.lastname(at)vm.fi
Janne Viskari, Director General, tel. +358 (0)295 535 022, Population Register Centre, firstname.lastname(at)vrk.fi