''The new model of committee work will make preparations more transparent and broaden the participation base and knowledge base''

4.2 Parliamentary committees

The Government intends to reform the work of parliamentary committees. The parliamentary committees will be responsible for preparing both major structural reforms and other reforms over future electoral terms. The new model of committee work will make preparations more transparent and broaden the participation base and knowledge base.

Parliamentary committee work will have several phases, including formulation of the mandate, preliminary reviews, appointment, drafting of proposals and alternatives, impact assessments, and implementation follow-up. Successful implementation of major reforms requires that parliamentary committees be backed up by greater competence and capabilities in the public administration and by preparatory work based on liability for acts in office.

Matters of major importance for society will be prepared by central government institutions together with political parties, experts and researchers, local authorities, the private sector, the third sector and citizens. Effective preparation of reforms will be ensured by introducing new tools facilitating broader participation and knowledge base through the processing of available data into alternatives, impact assessments and arguments for policy-makers. 

Parliamentary committee work will ensure a cross-sectoral approach, continuity across electoral terms, access to evaluation and impact assessment data in all phases of committee work, and deployment of digital tools and other instruments in consulting citizens.

The Prime Minister’s Office will be responsible for the coordination of the committee work. The Prime Minister’s Office will ensure smoothly running cooperation and flow of information between committees and relevant ministries. The Prime Minister’s Office, together with other ministries, will provide committee secretariats with the necessary impact assessments and other support services.

When necessary, the Government will allocate resources for impact assessments of reforms, other reviews and scientific trials as part of the funding of the Prime Minister’s Office.

When planning the organisation and work arrangements of committees, due consideration will be given to ensuring the continuity of preparations and implementation across electoral terms.

The appointment of a committee will also include:

  • setting a timeframe for preparing proposals and implementing outcomes that promote the achievement of targets even in reforms spanning several electoral terms;
  • listing the bodies and actors participating in the committee, defining their roles and determining their means of participation;
  • outlining a common understanding of the objectives and knowledge base of the committee’s work by utilising the Government’s and ministries’ analysis, assessment and research activities, internal and external experts, and different kinds of networks, such as research panels and citizens’ feedback;
  • integrating the committee’s tasks, resources and schedules to allow better financial and operational planning;
  • determining the secretariat’s tasks, planning the commissioning of reviews and assessments and outlining other necessary support services.

The Government will appoint each committee and its chair. Representatives from all parliamentary parties and from central interest groups and non-governmental organisations will be invited as committee members.

The committees will deploy digital tools and other inclusive instruments to consult stakeholders and citizens.

A committee secretariat, consisting mainly of ministries’ officials, will be appointed for each committee and a ministry official will be designated as its secretary-general. Committee secretariats may have as members also other key experts in relevant areas.

The appointment of a committee is preceded by a preliminary review phase, a description of the current situation and an agreement on a common position on the outcome sought. A common position on the reform outcomes will be outlined based on the current situation described at the stage of the committee’s appointment.

Main responsibility for committee work lies with the ministry within whose mandate the matter for the most part belongs. Ministries together with the Prime Minister’s Office will describe the current situation and carry out any impact assessments.  

The purpose of parliamentary committees will be to produce proposals for solutions and policies within agreed timeframes in ways that guarantee commitment to them.

Parliamentary committees will make efficient use of modern practices, methods and tools especially in data collection and data analysis. The work will be constructed so that the knowledge base collected during the preliminary review phase will be updated as the work progresses.