Preparation of projects and reforms extending beyond parliamentary terms

The preparation of projects and reforms extending beyond parliamentary and government terms has been hampered by changing objectives, inappropriate organisation of the preparatory work, insufficient resourcing and slow decision-making. When preparations are started, it should be ensured that there are sufficient prerequisites for effective preparation.

The audit examined the prerequisites created for successful preparation of projects, programmes and reforms extending beyond parliamentary and government terms. The preparation was examined by means of four example cases. The cases examined were the health and social services reform, the social security reform, the Defence Forces’ strategic capability projects (HX and Squadron 2020), and the digitalisation of public administration and the use of artificial intelligence at national level.

Extensive administrative reforms often require long-term preparation, to which the change of Governments may cause discontinuity. The aim of the audit was to find out how the continuity of the preparation of long-term projects and reforms is ensured when the government term changes.

On the basis of the audit, a fundamental prerequisite for successful preparation extending beyond parliamentary terms is that the objectives set for the preparation are clear, consistent and feasible. In addition to good project management, the prerequisites for successful long-term preparation are also improved if the objectives do not change significantly during the preparation and if the objectives have been set through a parliamentary process.

The prerequisites for a successful reform or project can be ensured by good organisation of the preparatory work, sufficient resources and efficient decision-making. The preparation is also promoted by a shared and sufficient knowledge base of those participating in the preparation. The implementation of the reform should also be taken into account in the preparation.