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From the central administration, most of the funding for youth issues is awarded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Ministry of Education and Culture funds youth issues from the proceeds of gaming activities and budget funding.
The majority of the funding is shared through central government transfers and grants. According to the definition provided by the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers, transfers mean public funding granted in the form of aid for an activity or project. Some of the funding is allocated to youth activities in municipalities, as the central government transfers are used at the municipalities’ discretion. Targeted central government transfers are also granted to municipalities. Central government transfers for youth work are granted by the Ministry of Education and Culture or the Regional State Administrative Agencies. The majority of this budget is allocated from the proceeds of gaming activities and the rest from the state’s ordinary budget (about the forthcoming changes related to the role of gambling revenues in youth work funding, see Youth Wiki/Finland 1.9 Current debates and reforms). Other administrative branches, especially in the areas of education, social welfare, and employment, include appropriations for policy initiatives influencing young people.
The Ministry of Education and Culture annually allocates government funding to the national youth organisations, municipal youth work, statutory bodies, and other actors doing youth work. The Ministry has additional appropriations for measures that address topical issues, such as young people's social empowerment, international projects, and new forms of youth work and youth culture.
For 2021, estimated use of the state budget of approximately 70 300 million:
Youth workshops, outreach youth work and Youth Guarantee
36 577 000
Sámi language nests inside and outside the Sámi Homeland Area
1 200 000
Teaching the skills of entrepreneurship, economic and working life
Statutory agents: State Youth Council, Assessment and State Aid Commission, Youth committee of Sámi parliament
Non-governmental youth organisations working in national level
18 600 000
Government transfers for local youth work (municipalities)
7 821 000
Developing the growth and living conditions of youth in local and regional level
3 150 000
Development, innovation and research, includes youth work centres of expertise
9 719 000
National youth centres
5 100 000
Source: State’s Budget by the Ministry of Finance (draft) (in Finnish)
Under the Youth Act, registered associations and foundations pursuing the objectives and promoting the underlying principles of the Act may be approved as national youth work organisations eligible for state aid. Eligibility for state aid can be revoked if the organisation ceases to meet the statutory criteria for state aid. Additionally, the Act includes provisions on state grants to national youth work centres of expertise. The Act also proposes provisions on youth workshops.
For instance, according to the Youth Act the subsidies to the national youth work organisations shall be allocated on the basis of eligibility and performance. The act states: “When the eligibility of a youth work organisation for state aid is assessed, due consideration shall be given to the nationwide coverage, quality, scope and social impact of its activities as well as the ways in which the organisation promotes non-discrimination, equality and social inclusion among young people.”
As described in the Government Decree on Youth Work and Policy: “When addressing state aid issues, the Assessment and State Aid Commission shall give its informed view on the fulfilment of the criteria set out in the Youth Act. The members of the Commission are appointed by the Government following consultations with parties engaged in youth activities. The Commission members shall be familiar with the operations of national youth work organisations and possess expertise in youth work, youth policy and youth activities.”
The Act on Discretionary Government Transfers lays out the provisions on discretionary government transfers that may be granted in the form of general or specific transfers. It also regulates the provision on auditing and duties of the recipients of discretionary government transfer. Further legislation, as well as guidelines of the Ministry of Education and Culture, also creates a framework for subsidies. The recipients of discretionary government transfers must obey the legislation on public procurement.
The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Regional Administrative Agencies control the spending of funds according to "performance" criteria. The recipient of the funding must give a detailed account of the use of the funds to the financing authority. For instance, the report of the general transfers must include a description of the activities, income statement and the balance sheet, the audit report, and other requested documents.
Structural funds programme for 2014-2020
Finland's structural funds programme for 2014-2020 include objectives that support measures affecting young people. The European Social Fund (ESF) supports various projects that promote employment, improve knowledge and skills, and increase social inclusion. The total amount of ESF funding for these three priorities for the period 2014-2020 is EUR 497.3 million. Along with national co-funding (50%), there is around EUR 995 million of public funding available for these priorities.
However, only a part of this funding is used for projects supporting youth-related activities. The national implementation of the ESF in the field of the Ministry of Education and Culture is around EUR 89.6 million (incl. national co-funding).
Compared to the previous structural funds programme period 2007–2013, ESF funding has decreased significantly. The evaluation of the previous programme period was implemented in different stages. However, these evaluations do not have a specific youth perspective.
The role of the ESF funds for the implementation of the youth policy is currently significant. One concrete example of the use of the ESF funding is the network of the one-stop guidance centres for youth that began operation in 2014. In 2021, the network includes approximately 70 One-Stop Guidance Centres in different parts of Finland (for more information about the centres see Youth Wiki/Finland 3.4 Career guidance and counselling).