The Assessment Report for 2019 by the Auditing Committee of the City of Espoo

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2020-05-05 10:30 (in Finnish)
External Auditing

Each year, only about half of the performance targets set by the City Council are achieved. In the opinion of the Auditing Committee, the process of drawing up performance targets should be reformed to ensure that the targets will steer action in the direction decided by the City Council as well as possible. To achieve this steering role, the performance targets have to be challenging, yet simultaneously feasible and effective.

The city economy is facing the challenges of slow growth of tax revenues and the increasing needs for services and investments due to population growth and demographic change. The city’s annual contribution margin of EUR 171.4 million and the financial result for the accounting period, minus EUR 7.5 million, declined from the previous year. Net operating expenses increased by 5.8 per cent. The year 2020 will be increasingly challenging due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In March 2020, the City Board decided that the preparation and implementation of measures needed to rebalance the economy should be launched. This decision was necessary to ensure Espoo’s ability to cope with the exceptional situation.

The employment rate in Espoo has decreased from 2018. The share of municipal funding of labour market subsidies increased from the previous year. Espoo will participate in the municipal employment trials that will begin in 2021. The Auditing Committee is of the opinion that Employment Services should continue and enhance measures that promote employment. This would reduce the sums that Espoo pays as the municipal share of labour market subsidies. In this case, employment appropriations could be better allocated to increasing employment.

According to the Espoo Story, Espoo’s best resources are its residents, communities and companies. Being resident- and client-oriented is one of the values included in the Espoo Story. In 2019, the Auditing Committee assessed how resident- and client-oriented library services, the City Planning Department, health services and oral health care are. Resident- and customer-orientedness must be an integral part of all operations and services of the city.

Social and Health Services is in charge of organising round-the-clock housing services for the elderly. The municipality has an obligation to monitor the legality and quality of the services it produces and outsources. Monitoring is carried out as self-monitoring, systematic proactive monitoring and reactive monitoring. Espoo produces round-the-clock housing services using multiple service providers: the city’s own service provision, outsourced services and services provided with a service voucher. Outsourced services account for some 80% of the total service provision. Surveys suggest that when it comes to client satisfaction and service quality, there are no gaps between the city’s own services and outsourced services. During 2019, the monitoring of nursing homes was intensified and any shortcomings that were detected were addressed. More pre-announced and unannounced inspections were carried out in nursing homes than in the previous year.

The need for housing services for people with disabilities is estimated to grow by about ten per cent each year. The growing demand will be met with versatile housing services. The monitoring of housing services for persons with disabilities is conducted as part of other basic work and the calculated resources allocated for it are 0.25 full-time equivalents. In principle, this is enough to enable reactive monitoring. The Auditing Committee recommends that monitoring should be made more systematic and sufficient resources should be guaranteed for it.

The assessment of the Auditing Committee is based on an assessment plan that covers the City Council term and an annual assessment programme. The Assessment Report was submitted to the Chair of the City Council on 5 May 2020. For further information, please contact Paula Viljakainen, Chair of the Auditing Committee, tel. 050 5727 497.