Publicity of documents and requests for information

Document publicity descriptions

Documents produced by the authorities in the performance of their duties are public, unless special provisions on their secrecy have been laid down by law. In accordance with the principle of openness, everyone has the right of access to official documents in the public domain.

Under section 5, subsection 2 of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, an official document means a document in the possession of an authority and prepared by an authority or a person in the service of an authority, or a document delivered to an authority for the consideration of a matter or otherwise in connection with a matter within the competence or duties of the authority.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health must also maintain a description of the data resources and case registers managed by it in order to implement the principle of openness and ensure the publicity of documents.

This document publicity description includes guidelines on how to request access to information and how citizens can better specify their requests for information. 

Data sets of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for planning, formulating, guiding and implementing health and social policy in Finland. As part of the Government, it

  • implements the Government Programme
  • drafts legislation and key reforms
  • guides the implementation of reforms and
  • takes care of the Government's staff functions.

The Ministry’s website provides information about the Ministry’s

Information services and requests for information

Information may, as a rule, be requested on matters falling within the Ministry’s sphere of responsibility and on documents received and produced  by the Ministry in the performance of its statutory duties. Under the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, everyone has the right of access to official documents in the public domain.

Requests to access documents of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health should be sent to the Ministry’s Registry. The Registry stores document requests in the Government Case Management System VAHVA. After this, the Registry transfers the request to the department responsible for the matter, which in turn assigns responsibility for the document request to a competent public official. The Registry also provides information services and advice on how to make requests for information.

A request for information should be as detailed as possible, indicating which document or documents it concerns. It is easier to find the document if the request is specified, for example by giving the date or subject matter of the document or the name of the public official responsible for the matter in question. A person requesting access to a public document does not need to provide reasons for the request or tell what the information will be used for. Requests for access to public documents can be written in free form or made over the phone.

Time limits for processing requests for information

Requests for access to public documents are processed as soon as possible and within the time limits laid down in the Act on the Openness of Government Activities. If, however, the consideration and decision concerning the requested document require special measures or an irregular amount of work, the person who made the request is informed about this. If access is requested to a document received or prepared by another authority , the request may be transferred to the authority in question.

Fees for information services

The information services are, as a rule, provided free of charge, but submission of documents and retrieval of information may be subject to a charge as provided in section 34 of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities.

Contact details of the Registry of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
PO Box 33
FI-00023 GOVERNMENT
Fax: +358 2951 63415
Telephone: +358 2951 63100
Official email address: registry.stm(a)gov.fi 
Documents addressed to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health can also be hand-delivered to the Government mail distribution centre at Ritarikatu 2 B, FI-00170 HELSINKI.

Information contained in data resources

A data resource means an entity containing data resources or a collection of data resources created for a particular purpose and used by the authorities in the performance of their duties or for their other activities that is processed through information systems or manually.

Case registers

The case registers used by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health are:

VAHVA

A shared case management system of the Government and its ministries.

EUTORI

The Government’s shared case management system for preparing, drafting, distributing, registering, retrieving and filing documents related to EU affairs.

Gateway to Information on Government Projects

The Government’s shared information system and public online service for managing and publishing information about projects carried out by the Government and its ministries.
Independent bodies and their case registers

Pharmaceuticals Pricing Board (HILA)

  • HILA 2020
  • HILA’s case management and online services

Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA)

  • Electronic case management system

User’s rights and requests for personal data

Everyone has the right to know what information has been stored on them in the case registers used by the Ministry . You can send a request to check the data about yourself to the Ministry’s Registry. You will find the information request form, the related instructions and information about the rights of service users via the link below.

Concepts related to document publicity

Document

A document is defined as a written or visual presentation and also as a message relating to a given topic or subject matter and consisting of signs which, by virtue of the use to which they are put, are meant to be taken as a whole, but are decipherable only by means of a computer, an audio or video recorder or some other technical device.

Official document

An official document is defined as a document in the possession of an authority and prepared by an authority or a person in the service of an authority, or a document delivered to an authority for the consideration of a matter or otherwise in connection with a matter within the competence or duties of the authority.

Case register

A case register is a register consisting of matters under consideration, information about their processing stages, and the related documents.

Data set

A data set consists of documents or information that can be used to produce documents.

Request for information

A request for information is a request addressed to an authority concerning individual data, a document consisting of specific data content, or more extensive official data in a different form.

Data resource

A data resource means an entity containing data resources or a collection of data resources created for a particular purpose and used by the authorities in the performance of their duties or for their other activities that is processed through information systems or manually.

Further information