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Press release

Amendment of Kela’s governing law

Published 17/6/2024

Scheduled to take effect on 1 July 2024, the amended law governing Kela’s operations highlights the role of Kela’s Board and Parliamentary Trustees. Director General Outi Antila of Kela expects that the focus will next shift to the provisions of the law that concern the utilisation of data.

In effect since 2001, Kela’s governing law sets out Kela’s responsibilities. President Alexander Stubb  confirmed the amendments on 13 June 2024. The amendments were drawn up based on proposals put forward by a parliamentary working group.

Key changes

Under the amended law, Kela’s Parliamentary Trustees will appoint the Director General based on a proposal by Kela’s Board. Other Directors are appointed by the Board. Previously, the Director General and the other senior Directors were appointed by the President of Finland. This change is aimed at strengthening the role of Kela’s Board and Parliamentary Trustees.

The Director General and the other senior Directors will serve fixed terms of seven and five years, respectively. This is standard practice at most government agencies. However, the introduction of fixed terms does not apply to appointments made before the effective date of the law.

Kela’s Board will be tasked with strengthening Kela’s strategy. This represents a codification of existing practice, because the Board already now confirms Kela’s strategy.

The role of the Parliamentary Trustees will also be enhanced by a number of changes in auditing practices. Lay auditors appointed by Parliament will be abolished. This is because of the overlap between the Trustees’ oversight and inspection duties.

Kela can assist other government authorities

Under the amended law, Kela will be authorised to provide assistance to other government authorities or organisations. The purpose of this is to ensure the continuity of government at times of disruptions and crises that are serious yet do not meet the criteria for activating the Emergency Powers Act.

One example of where cross-government assistance could be needed is a cyberattack or power outage that causes a system failure at a government authority. Kela’s facilities and equipment can also be turned over for other government use. In serious crises, Kela’s personnel can carry out other governmental functions.

The amended governing law will become effective on 1 July 2024. 

Kela’s information resources should be used more extensively

The updated governing law does not contain any of the amendments concerning data access and processing that Kela had advocated for. Kela has argued that it should have timely access to data from other entities and that the funding base should be broadened. At the same time, Kela's information resources should be made available more widely as part of Kela’s own operations, in the operations of other public entities and in knowledge management. 

Kela’s statutory responsibilities consist of research, statistics and service development. The discharge of these responsibilities requires access to data and the right to use the data stored in Kela’s registries.

“This first amendment of Kela’s governing law is a welcome step”, Kela’s Director General Outi Antila says, adding that she hopes that there will be swift progress on drafting the amendments concerning data utilisation and that the Government will submit the relevant proposal to Parliament as soon as possible.

Last modified 17/6/2024