Key challenges of the city are tackled across organisational boundaries

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2021-02-11 15:11

The activities of the City of Espoo have been developed jointly, across organisational boundaries, for two council terms. Cross-administrative development programmes allow politicians and office holders to cooperate across administrative boundaries in search of solutions to the city’s main challenges. This approach has become an established part of the implementation of the Espoo Story.

In summer 2017, the City Council set up for the second time cross-administrative development programmes derived from the Espoo Story, i.e. the city’s strategy, to seek solutions to the main challenges of the council term. These four development programmes were: Healthy Espoo, Inspiring, dynamic Espoo, Sustainable Espoo and Participatory Espoo.

Results with cross-organisational cooperation

The development programmes have proven to be an excellent way of organising and managing development related to the selected themes. Through the programmes, an extensive group of city employees, partners and residents have committed to the cooperation process. The programmes have combined in a good way management by elected officials and office holders. The steering groups included equal numbers of politicians and office holders.

The programmes have been implemented as projects and measures in cooperation with partners and stakeholders. The results have been reported to the City Council every six months. The programmes have contributed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“During the council term coming to an end, the programmes have served as platforms for the development and experimenting of various new solutions. Many lessons have been learnt from the experiments, and some of them have taken root as permanent activities for Espoo and its partners,” says Päivi Hoverfält, Programme Director.

Several new services, approaches and solutions were developed during the council term, and they are now being utilised and deployed in Espoo.

Approach to continue

Mayor Jukka Mäkelä says that much has been accomplished through the cooperation and experiments.
“The success of our city is based on us working together. Through the development programmes, we have been able to accomplish this together with Espoo residents and our partners.”

Based on experiences from the two programme periods, cross-administrative programme work is becoming an established way of implementing the Espoo Story and developing the city’s operations. The cross-administrative development programme work will also be continued during the coming council term 2021–2025.

The topics of the cross-administrative development programmes for the 2021–2025 council term will be submitted to the City Council’s approval during March or April.

Development programmes 2017–2021

Healthy Espoo programme

The Healthy Espoo development programme promoted the opportunities of Espoo residents to take care of their well-being and to participate in and be part of their communities. One of the most significant achievements of the programme has been the raised awareness of the importance of mental well-being and the competence in resources supporting it. This has been accomplished by communicating with residents and staff across multiple channels, organising public events, enforcing staff competence through Mental Health First Aid®1 trainings and developing new operating models for strengthening mental health and creating the Hyvän mielen kunta – Healthy Mind Municipality checklist to promote mental health work within the municipality. Cooperation with various organisations has been enforced by developing new models to raise awareness of the activities of organisations and also by creating a joint Partnership Forum between the city and various organisations as part of city structures that promote well-being.

Inspiring, dynamic Espoo programme

The Inspiring, dynamic Espoo development programme contributed to strengthening Espoo’s vitality through dozens of projects and measures, by either implementing, financing or co-financing them. Some of the measures were experimental in nature, such as the Bisnestreffit – BisnesDates event series, designed to introduce international actors, students, start-ups, consultants and experts to one another. The Business Espoo business service network, on the other hand, has quickly gained awareness among Espoo companies as a service centre, where companies are able to receive all their services from one place, both physically and digitally. Much has been learnt from its network-like partnership, also in view of how the city’s services will be organised in the future. In the municipal employment experiment to be launched in spring 2021, the recruitment services produced jointly by the network will be utilised directly to meet the skills needs of Espoo-based companies and to find employment for jobseekers. Recovery from the COVID-19 crisis by enforcing vitality and quickly developing survival services for companies has been a major part of the measures implemented by the programme over the past year. BE studio online events and ChatBot Bertta, also supported by the programme, are both examples of this.

Sustainable Espoo programme

The sustainable development programme supported Espoo’s objective to act as a global example in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, being the most sustainable city in Europe and becoming carbon-neutral by the year 2030. The programme developed pioneering solutions for smart urban development, climate work, circular economy and the digitalisation supporting them, and also promoted the development of sustainable growth, economy and its operating environment in Espoo. The programme period’s main achievement was the increased effectiveness of work through an extensive partner network and external funding, as well as the implementation of the programme objectives through city management. A solid foundation was created for further development and scaling of sustainable and intelligent solutions in Espoo, and new operating models were created to enable residents to have a more sustainable daily life and to support their independent activities. Sustainable development was also strongly brought to the awareness of the city’s own units as well as that of schoolchildren and students.

Participatory Espoo programme

The goal of the participatory Espoo development programme was to promote the participation of city residents, companies and communities in accordance with the Espoo Story. The goal was Everyone’s Espoo: easy participation of residents, local activities and independence of residents and the development of influence, democracy and decision-making. The programme developed Espoo’s participation model and hired a development manager for a permanent position to develop the involvement of municipal residents. In addition, a model was created to take into account new residents, the service guide was updated to electronic format (in three languages), a map was added to the espoo.fi website detailing the councillors by major district, the support model for local activities was created, the Kauklahti regional development group experiment was launched, social media training was given on residential forums, training model and material focusing on inclusion matters was developed, the Timeout model was introduced and a new inclusion network created for the city staff, among other things.

Cross-administrative development programmes on the council’s agenda on 15 February 2021 (in Finnish)

Development programmes 2017–2021 (pdf, 639 Kt)