Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI centres) are responsible for coordinating the preparedness of the actors in their regions, arranging training and preparedness exercises, and supporting preparedness planning in municipalities. Regional preparedness committees coming under the agencies have been established in places, through which parties responsible for security in the area, such as the emergency services department, the police and voluntary organisations, coordinate their preparedness work. The statutory tasks of Regional State Administrative Agencies include contingency planning, coordination of operations, and the organisation of training and preparedness exercises in their areas. They also support contingency planning at the municipal level.
Regional State Administrative Agencies arrange regional national defence courses in all of their areas, together with the Finnish Defence Forces. The course participants are given an overview of Finland’s foreign, security and defence policy and comprehensive security. They also learn about preparedness and how it is developed in normal conditions, abnormal situations and emergency conditions. Where possible, persons with an important role in crisis preparedness and holding an administrative position in a public entity or representing the business community, the mass media and different types of civic activity are invited to the course, based on identified training needs.
Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) are responsible for contingency planning and leadership in crises pertaining to their own fields of responsibility. The ELY Centres implement their statutory duties and contribute to creating a shared situation picture, also in emergency conditions and abnormal situations. In addition, they are key actors in preparedness measures for extreme weather conditions and environmental accidents, for example, and in training citizens and business operators to secure the continuity of their operations.
Regions are responsible for statutory regional foresight measures and for coordinating regional preparedness. The social welfare, health care and regional government reform will change the structures of regional preparedness when the responsibilities of the Regional State Administrative Agencies and ELY Centres are transferred to the new regions. According to the plans, the regions will accept their organisational responsibility in 2020.
With the reform, many of the functions formerly belonging to the Regional State Administrative Agencies and ELY Centres will be transferred to regions. The regions will be responsible for preparedness and its coordination in their areas, and the Ministry of the Interior for coordination regional preparedness at the national level.
Municipalities are responsible for providing most of the citizens’ basic services, such as primary education and waste management. Even when the provision of the services has been outsourced to a private company or a municipal consortium, the responsibility for providing services primarily lies with municipalities.
Municipalities have the obligation to secure the availability of statutory services for their residents in normal conditions as well as in abnormal situations. According to the Emergency Powers Act (1552/2011), municipalities also have the obligation to draw up preparedness plans, launch preliminary preparations for measures to be taken in abnormal situations and take other steps to make sure that it can also accomplish its tasks as well as possible in abnormal situations.
Preparedness work is usually led by the municipal manager together with the municipal board. Where necessary, municipalities are supported in contingency planning by regional emergency service departments and government regional administration. In addition, voluntary organisations contribute to contingency planning, supporting the actions of the authorities in crises.
Tools for developing municipal preparedness are offered e.g. by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, address www.kuntaliitto.fi/kuja