The Digital and Population Data Services Agency's investments in reducing processing times have produced results - At the same time, the increase in demand is worrying
The Digital and Population Data Services Agency (DVV) has succeeded, with the additional appropriation received in July 2021, in resolving the prolongation of processing times created in its services. During the early autumn, The Digital and Population Data Services Agency has completed the recruitment of 40 additional fixed-term employees and their orientation. The work contribution of additional personnel has already been seen as shortening the number of job queues in November.
In July of this year, The Digital and Population Data Services Agency received an additional appropriation of EUR 2.1 million to reduce the processing times of customer service and to cover the reduction in the income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire appropriation was allocated to hiring customer service personnel for a fixed period of one year. Most of the additional personnel were placed in the guardianship service's appointment and permit services. However, job queues are not shortened rapidly in all services due to the increased demand for guardianship services. The additional personnel's contribution to decreasing processing times will continue until summer 2022.
In the long term, the most efficient way to significantly shorten the processing times is to make the consideration of matters concerning public guardianship entirely electronic, as well as to digitalise services, and to develop electronic services. However, this requires additional funding and legislative changes.
The results of the inputs begin to show
In addition to additional resources, The Digital and Population Data Services Agency has made its operations more efficient by organising guardianship services into new service collections. This has ensured a more uniformed service for customers and made it possible to transfer personnel flexibly between different tasks.
The combined effect of these measures has, for example, been that the accumulated work queues have been dismantled in trade permits already at the beginning of September. The processing times of guardianship orders have also been decreased from about 200 days to about 150 days.
The Digital and Population Data Services Agency’s most important development project at present is the digitalisation of its own services and case management, as the permanent reduction in processing times requires the electrification of services. For example, the electrification of the audit of the accounts of public guardians significantly decreased the processing times.
"More personnel was really needed. Although we have succeeded in increasing operational efficiency, not all job queues have been shortened. The constantly increasing demand for guardianship services has reversed the benefits of improving the efficiency of our own operations. Without the digitalisation of services, it is impossible to respond to the increase in demand”, says Deputy Director General Aino Jalonen.
It should also be noted that delays in processing times are also increased by, for example, the processing times of district courts, the delivery times of various statements, and the fact that it is often necessary to request supplements to applications. Therefore, the average processing times reported by The Digital and Population Data Services Agency may vary significantly.
Continuous growth in demand decreases the efficiency achieved
The need for services related to guardianship is expected to grow strongly in the coming years and decades. The ageing of the population is reflected in the number of guardianship cases, which has increased by about five per cent each year during the 2000s.
"We have noted with concern a forecast showing continued growth in the public guardianship demand. This requires significant investment in the electrification of our services. However, this alone is not enough: I believe that it would also be necessary to examine the functionality of the legislation on guardianship. Of course, each of us can also influence the management of our affairs by issuing a guardianship authorisation” says Aino Jalonen.
Image: Valid guardianships, guardianship authorisations, and forecast
The continuing power of attorney mandate can shorten the processing time
By drawing up a continuing power of attorney, you can significantly shorten the processing time of your matter. A continuing power of attorney mandate is a more flexible option for organising the management of affairs than guardianship. By providing continuing power of attorney, a person can prepare in advance for the management of their affairs in the event that they are at a later time unable to manage them themselves. In a continuing power of attorney, the person appoints a trusted person to manage their affairs.
The Digital and Population Data Services Agency, Deputy Director General Aino Jalonen, tel. +358 295 535 335, firstname.lastname[at]dvv.fi