​State administration

The constitution also governs state administration. The purpose of state administration is to implement laws passed by the Parliament.


The Government is the highest-ranking body in the state administration. It consists of the Cabinet formed by the Prime Minister and other ministers and it makes decisions on duties that, according to the Constitution, fall under its remit as well as on matters that, according to law, do not fall under the remit of the President of the republic or other governmental body. In other words, the Government exercises general governmental power in Finland.

​The hierarchy in state administration

The state administration is divided into three levels: central, regional and local government. Central government comprises the ministries and the agencies and institutes operating under their aegis. There are some 90 central government organisations in total, including the ministries. The most important of government organisations and institutions are the National Board of Education, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finnish Transport Agency and Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority.

Since 2010, regional government has been entrusted to Regional State Administrative Agencies and the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres). The Regional State Administrative Agencies are in charge of the implementation, steering and overseeing of legislation in their respective regions. Their goal is to promote legal protection, well-being and health and safety. For example, the agencies provide training for teachers, supervise care homes, inspect businesses with alcohol licenses and monitor occupational safety at places of work.

ELY Centres are responsible for the regional implementation and development tasks of central government. They aim to promote the development of a good living environment and the competitiveness of business and industry. ELY Centres provide an advisory service and funding, maintain the transport infrastructure, supervise construction and manage nature preservation areas, among other things.

​Local government

Local government is run by a number of different agencies: the police, local registry offices, the enforcement office and employment services. In the past few years, the jurisdiction of local authorities has expanded to cover much larger geographical areas, even entire regions. At the beginning of 2014, there were 24 police departments, 11 local registry offices, 22 enforcement offices and 15 employment services. In addition, tax offices, customs offices and legal aid offices are part of local state administration.

There are a number of other organisations that may exercise governmental power under the supervision of the Government and ministries. For example, the local offices of the Finnish Wildlife Agency issue hunting licenses while the forest management associations oversee tree planting. These organisations form an “intermediary” state administration, providing support to state administration in carrying out certain duties.

The Constitution guarantees municipalities self-government and the right to levy taxes. Municipalities organise, independently or jointly with other municipalities, the public services their residents require. However, in practice, central administration and local authorities work in close co-operation.