Ownership steering of sports and cultural services and overall management


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Objective of the assessment

The main question in the assessment was whether the ownership steering of the sports and cultural sectors and overall management have been organised in an appropriate manner. Ownership steering is appropriate when its procedures comply with the Local Government Act, the City’s Administrative Regulations and corporate governance principles; when the will of the owner is clear and is conveyed to communities; and when the owner directs the subsidiary communities to operate in line with the City Strategy and/or the ownership policy guidelines. Overall management is appropriate when the City division has an overall picture of the implementation of sports policy and cultural policy with the help of its own activities, grants and the whole formed by the subsidiary communities and when the division controls both its own service provision and activities organised with the help of grants in line with the City Strategy.


The ownership steering of the sports and cultural sectors has, for the most part, been organised appropriately. In contrast, overall management remains under development in the division. So far, the division has lacked a definition of what the City does by itself, what type of activities are funded with grants, what is implemented through cooperation with companies, communities and citizens and what is left to other operators’ responsibility. The definition process is underway in 2020.

In the Culture and Leisure Division, a significant proportion of the Helsinki Group’s service provision is controlled by subsidiary communities, outside the jurisdiction of the culture director and director of sports. From the division’s point of view, ownership steering has not been organised appropriately in the sense that the division lacks a formal role in ownership steering. What is problematic in the organisation of ownership steering at City level is that division of labour has not between determined between the mayor and deputy mayors with regard to ownership steering. The ownership strategies for each subsidiary community date to 2011, and no ownership strategy has been defined when new subsidiary communities have been founded. A new phenomenon in group steering is a subsidiary community being directed by a coordination group that is not recognised by the corporate governance principles.

The Audit Committee concludes that

the City Board must

  • take a stance on whether it is necessary to strengthen the role of the City divisions’ senior office holders in ownership steering;
  • take a stance on what the role of steering and coordination groups is in group steering.

the City Executive Office must

  • prepare a decision for the City Board on how the ownership steering responsibilities for subsidiary communities are divided between the mayor and deputy mayors;
  • always prepare a community-specific ownership strategy for decision by the City Group Division and City Board when a new subsidiary community is founded.

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