Perspectives: Development of public administration changes with the times

Being able to foresee changes in society and change with them is one of the challenges for the development of both public administration and auditing. This publication provides an overview, on the one hand, of the development phases of the Finnish public administration in recent decades and, on the other hand, of auditing related to the operations and development of public administration both in Finland and internationally.

Strengthening the cross-sectoral approach, policy coherence, and phenomenon-based policy-making have long been themes in the renewal of public administration. Development work has also focused on better utilization of information in policy preparation and policy-making. Strategic leadership, especially in policy preparation, has become important recently. The underlying reason for this is the complexity of problems and the need to improve the public authorities’ capacity to respond to systemic changes in society.

Changes in audit work have focused not only on audit topics but also on the audit approach and methods. The verifying approach has been expanded so that issues are increasingly examined in a development-focused and forward-looking manner.

The actors developing public administration have highlighted the current and future challenges for the development work as well as the related information needs and wishes. As regards the issues to be developed, focus is on the importance of an overall picture, the identification of links and interconnections between issues and phenomena, the importance of the temporal dimension, as well as interaction and cooperation.

The publication is not an audit report and does not include recommendations by the National Audit Office. It aims to create an overall picture of the development of public administration, to highlight topical issues and themes related to it, and to support different actors in targeting and developing their work.