Social Security Committee to begin tackling the problem of complexity in social security
The Social Security Committee, which started work in spring 2020, will first determine which social security problems it will seek to solve. Before the summer holidays, the Committee outlined four sets of key social security problems: 1) the complexity of social security; 2) combining employment and social security; 3) minimum social security, basic social security and housing; and 4) coordination of services and benefits.
During the summer, the divisions of the Social Security Committee and a network of researchers from research institutes launched work to further define these four sets of problems. A report based on research data and expert work will be produced on each set of problems. Work will begin with the complexity of social security. Work on the reports on the three other sets of problems will start later, once more knowledge and experience has been gained from working on the first report.
We expect to complete the reports on key social security problems in the spring and summer of 2021. In this context, the Committee seeks to find a common position on what are the social security problems for which it is seeking solutions. Naturally, this common position would also outline what social security problems will be included on the Committee's roadmap, that is, its plan to reform social security.
Work on drawing up the roadmap for social security reform will begin in 2021, but the plan is only likely to be published in its final form in the Committee's interim report in the latter part of the current government term.
What will the Committee tackle this autumn?
The Committee may, at its discretion, consider more closely defined social security problems and propose solutions to them already during the current government term. At its June meeting, the Committee decided to clarify the situation of unemployed people who are de facto incapacitated for work. The divisions and the researcher network will try to address this problem and its connection with the coordination of services and benefits during the autumn.
In addition to the network of researchers from research institutes, the Committee has reinforced the research-based foundations of its work by engaging in co-operation with the research programmes of the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council (SRC). This cooperation resulted in the first working paper in the Committee's publication series. The paper deals with the topical issue of the impact of the coronavirus crisis and social crises on social security reform. The researcher network and the SRC programmes will continue to release more working papers which support the Committee's work.
A series of seminars for the general public was also started in August. The Committee's first seminar focused on the risks posed by the coronavirus crisis and the opportunities it offers for social security reform. The next seminar will be held on 21 September on the strengths and weaknesses of Finnish social security. The speakers will be top experts chosen by the members of the Committee, while researchers from SRC programmes will act as commentators. The seminar will be opened by Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, the Minister of Social Affairs and Health.
The Committee’s first autumn meeting will be held at the end of September, and it will debate the divisions’ and the researcher network’s initial drafts on the practical implications of the complexity of social security.
Chair of the Social Security Committee