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Finland: Administrative reform affecting the provider of pupil and student welfare 

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Finland: Administrative reform affecting the provider of pupil and student welfare 

27 March 2023
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Country news

The organiser of pupil and student welfare services changed from 2023 onward. The change is part of a wider administrative reform of health and social services in Finland.   

Reform of healthcare, social welfare and rescue services 

The structure of organizing public health care, social welfare and rescue services was reformed in Finland. On 1 January 2023 the responsibility for organizing these services was transferred from municipalities to 21 wellbeing services counties and the City of Helsinki. Before this, 195 organizations were responsible for these services. The reform can be considered as one of the most significant administrative reforms in recent years in Finnish society.  

The key objective of the reform is to improve the availability and quality of basic public services throughout the country as well as respond to the challenges of a changing society. For example, the ageing of popularion will require more services than previously. Also, the decline in the birth rate will lead to a smaller number of working-age population and a reduction in fiscal revenue. It is also important to curb and limit the increase in costs.   

The wellbeing services counties are self-governing. Their funding is based on central government grants as they so far do not have the right to levy taxes. Differences in the service demands of the counties are taken into account when deciding on the funding. 

Pupil and student welfare is one of the duties of the new wellbeing services counties 

Responsibility for the education of 6 -18-years-olds remain for 309 Finnish municipalities even after the reform. But, as part of the reform, the responsibility for organising the student healthcare and welfare services is being transferred to the 21/22 wellbeing services counties from the beginning of 2023. The wellbeing services county where the school is located is responsible for organizing healthcare and welfare services in their area regardless of the pupil’s or student’s place of domicile. 

After the restructuring, the employer of school nurses and doctors, psychologists, and social workers has changed. It is now a wellbeing services county instead of a municipality. However, the healthcare and welfare personnel continue their work at schools and educational institutes just as they did earlier. Therefore, pupils and students as well as their parents and guardians may not notice any difference after the administrative change.  

 

Source: Eurydice Unit Finland 

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