The National Audit Office has issued these guidelines on submitting complaints to the National Audit Office under section 20 of the Act on the National Audit Office (676/2000).
The processing of complaints is part of the task laid down in section 90(2) of the Constitution of Finland under which the National Audit Office audits central government finances and the state budget, and the oversight tasks laid down in the Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding (273/2009) and the Act on Political Parties (10/1969).
1. When can you submit a complaint to NAOF?
You can submit a complaint to NAOF on the following matters:
legality of the management of central government finances or compliance with the state budget,
legality of the state ownership steering and ownership policy in state-owned companies and other issues concerning the legality of the management of central government finances in the companies and their steering, and issues concerning the use of state ownership control, and
in connection with election and political party funding:
if there are strong reasons to believe that the election funding disclosure filed by the discloser with the National Audit Office is inaccurate or incomplete in essential parts, or
if you suspect that there are major errors or inadequacies in the compliance with the provisions on contributions, election campaign expenses and funding disclosures contained in the Act on Political Parties or the provisions on the preparation or filing of the documents and information concerning them.
The complaint may concern
central government agencies,
unincorporated state enterprises and state funds,
recipients of government aid and other assistance,
state-owned companies, or
transfers of funds between Finland and the European Union.
You cannot submit a complaint that concerns
funds under the responsibility of Parliament,
Bank of Finland,
Social Insurance Institution of Finland,
the authorities in other countries,
international organisations, or
The National Audit Office does not investigate
complaints on issues that are more than two years old unless there are specific reasons for carrying out an investigation,
matters that are outside the purview of the National Audit Office,
matters that are being considered by a court or other authorities,
matters in which an appeal is pending or that may be appealed against,
anonymous complaints unless there are specific reasons for carrying out an investigation.
Information requests and other contacts concerning the following matters are not processed as complaints:
appropriateness of the procedures coming under the scope of NAOF’s auditing right, appropriateness of the management of central government finances and political decision-making and the preparatory processes connected with them, or action taken by individual public officials.
If the complaint concerns a matter that is outside the purview of the National Audit Office, the complaint or other contact may be forwarded to competent authorities. The party submitting the complaint is notified of this and the matter is otherwise deemed inadmissible (section 21 of the Administrative Procedure Act 434/2003).
2. How to submit a complaint?
You can submit the complaint in writing as a free-form document or on the official complaint form.
The complaint should be in Finnish, Swedish or English.
The complaint must contain the following information:
the individual or authority criticised by the complainant
the procedure or decision considered illegal by the complainant
the reasons why the complainant considers the procedure or decision illegal
is the matter being considered by a court or other bodies
the action that the National Audit Office is expected to take.
Copies of decisions and other documents providing background information on the matter should be appended to the complaint.
The following details of the complainant must be given:
address and preferably also the phone number and the email address.
The National Audit Office does not investigate anonymous complaints unless there are specific reasons for doing so.
3. To whom should be complaint be addressed?
You can send the complaint to the National Audit Office by post, by fax or by email, or deliver it to NAOF’s registry during its opening hours.
National Audit Office of Finland
Postal address: PO Box 1119, FI-00101 Helsinki
Visiting address: Porkkalankatu 1, FI-00101 Helsinki
Registry’s email address: email@example.com
Fax: +358 9 432 5820
4. Data protection principles applied to the processing of complaints at NAOF
The Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/) is applied to the complaint documents and the documents obtained for the purpose of investigating the complaint. As a rule, the documents are publicly accessible.
When processing complaints, the National Audit Office may have to review personal data and official documents. The provisions of the Personal Data Act (523/1999) apply to personal data, and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities regulates access to official documents.
Under sections 26 and 29 of the Personal Data Act, a complainant has the right to check the data on him or her kept by the National Audit Office in its register and request the correction of erroneous data.
No personal data on the individuals visiting the National Audit Office’s website is collected or stored.
Registration of data
All complaints are registered by the National Audit Office. The following information is entered in the register:
name of the complainant,
the date on which the complaint was received and
the matter that it concerns
the background information obtained to investigate the matter
the person making the decisions on the matter and the person preparing the matter.
5. How are the complaints investigated at NAOF?
The National Audit Office sends the complainant a notice of arrival, which gives the contact information of the NAOF public official investigating the complaint.
If on the basis of the complaint, there are reasons to believe that the object of the complaint has been in breach of the law or neglected its duties, the National Audit Office will investigate the matters raised in the complaint and decides whether a separate compliance audit or report is required.
The public official preparing the matter will familiarise themselves with the issues raised in the complaint, and the National Audit Office hears the object of the complaint and requests information and opinions from the authorities.
Central government, a central government authority or another legal person is usually the party concerned in the administrative complaints submitted to the National Audit Office. The parties concerned are reserved the right to be heard during the complaint process.
In complaints concerning a candidate’s election funding, the National Audit Office may send a request for information referred to in section 8(3) of the Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding (273/2009) to the object of the complaint.
The party submitting the complaint and the parties requested to submit responses are notified of the decision made on the complaint.
6. What are the consequences of a complaint?
In its decision on a complaint, the National Audit Office may
draw the attention of the monitored entity to the requirements of good governance,
convey to the monitored entity its view on what is required under law,
issue the monitored entity with a caution.
In complaints that are clearly not based on facts and in which there are no grounds for any action on the part of the National Audit Office or that are outside the National Audit Office’s purview, the National Audit Office decides that the matter is inadmissible.
The National Audit Office may also
notify the ministry steering the object of the complaint or other authorities and, if considered necessary. the Parliamentary Audit Committee of the complaint,
transfer the complaint to the appropriate administrative authority or the authority (usually a ministry) supervising the activities,
report an offence involving the activities of a central government authority, agency, unincorporated state enterprise or a state fund, or an offence concerning the property or the assets managed by it if the audited entity has not reported the offence to the police.
If the act that the complaint concerns gives cause for measures aimed at initiating procedures laid down elsewhere in the law because of its nature or seriousness, the National Audit Office will not give any further consideration to the complaint.
When considering a complaint, the National Audit Office cannot
change or overturn the decisions made by the authorities or courts
order damages to be paid
provide legal or financial advice, or
act as a conciliator in legal or administrative disputes between central government or other entities under its control and other parties.
The following provisions are observed in the processing of complaints at the National Audit Office:
The provisions on the National Audit Office contained in the Constitution of Finland (731/1999)
Act on the National Audit Office (676/2000)
Rules of Procedure of the National Audit Office (28 October 2014, register no. 16/19/2014)
Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003)
Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999)
Act on the National Audit Office (676/2000)
The Act on the right of the National Audit Office to audit specific credit transfers between Finland and the European Communities (353/1995)
Act on Political Parties (10/1969)
Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding (273/2009)
Act on the implementation of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, the implementation of Treaty provisions of a legislative nature as well as requirements concerning multi-annual budgetary frameworks (FIPO Act) (869/2012)
8. Entry into force of the complaints management guidelines
These complaints management guidelines enter into force on 1 January 2015. The guidelines replace the complaints management guidelines issued on 31 January 2014 (02/01/2014).
Marko Männikkö, Assistant Auditor General
Matti Vedenkangas, Principal Legal Adviser
Section 20 of the Act on the National Audit Office (676/2000) Unit, where the document is available:
Administrative Services Unit of the National Audit Office (The National Audit Office is hereafter also referred to as ‘NAOF’) (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) Unit where more detailed information is available:
The Performance Audit and Fiscal Policy Audit Department of the National Audit Office (tel. +358 9 432 5749) and (in election campaign and political party funding), election funding advice, tel. +358 9 432 5899 (in Finnish) and +358 9 432 5898 (in Swedish),www.vaalirahoitusvalvonta.fi.