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Local government reform

Finland will undergo an extensive local government reform in the next few years. The reform package means that the structure, services and financing of healthcare and social welfare services and the duties of regional government will all be reorganised. The reform is due to come into force on 1 January 2021.

The healthcare, social welfare and regional government reform package is one of the biggest ever administrative and operational overhauls in Finland. The reform impacts the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people and affects the services of every citizen in the country. It also has an effect on the financial resources, steering and taxation of healthcare and social welfare services.

The aim is to transfer the organisation of healthcare and social services and other regional services to autonomous regions. Originally, the time table of the transfer was the 1 January 2019. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's announcement on 28th June 2018 though deferred the reform’s entry into force until 1 January 2021.

Public administration in Finland will be organised on a three-tier level as follows: central government, counties (autonomous regions), local government. The existing regional divisions will be used as a basis for dividing the country into counties. There will be 18 counties in Finland, of which 15 will organise healthcare and social services in their area themselves. The remaining three counties will provide the services with the support of one of the other counties.

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