Ministry for Foreign Affairs document publicity description

The purpose of the document publicity description is to serve the information access needs of citizens and the transparency of administration in accordance with the principle of openness. The document publicity description of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs facilitates and guides the submission of a request for information concerning data held by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and foreign missions. Under section 28 of the Act on Information Management in Public Administration (906/2019) the document publicity description describes the ministry’s information systems, the data contained in these, and case registers. The publicity description describes the contact details for submitting a request for information and provides the instructions for the party submitting the request on how to submit document and information requests from the ministry's data sets.

The Ministry and foreign missions use the same information systems. In the case of information requests the document publicity description also covers diplomatic missions.

Submitting an information request

Requests for information and documents are processed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in accordance with the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999).

Submitting an information request. An information request is free form, but must specify the desired documents or information as accurately as possible. Where necessary, the Ministry will assist, for example, with the help of record numbers, in identifying the desired document. A request for information must be sent by e-mail to the Registry Office of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (kirjaamo.um@formin.fi). The Registry Office will acknowledge that an information request has been received, record it in the information system and forward it to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Information and Documentation Unit and the ministry's unit responsible for the matter the request applies to.

The mailing address for the Registry Office for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is the Prime Minister's Office, P.O. Box 23, 00023 Government, and its visiting address is Ritarikatu 2 B, Helsinki. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs switchboard’s number is +358 295 16001.

The Ministry's response. The Ministry's information administration sector or the unit responsible for the matter will respond to the information request as soon as possible and no later than in two weeks with requests concerning public documents. If a request concerns a large number of documents or these contain confidential parts, the ministry has a month to reply to the request The reply is provided in the requested format in accordance with section 16 of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities. In most cases, the reply will be sent by e-mail.

If the party that submitted the information request is not satisfied with the e-mail reply, they have  the right, if they so wish, to receive a decision from the ministry that can be appealed to the Helsinki Administrative Court. According to the ministry's Rules of Procedure, the Ministry's CIO decides on the publicity and confidentiality of foreign service documents and information.

A fee may be charged for responding to an information request in accordance with section 34 of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities. The party submitting an information request will be notified of the fee in advance.

Contact information for the Information and Documentation Unit: HAL-40@formin.fi, mailing address: Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Information and Documentation Unit, P.O. Box 176, 00023 GOVERNMENT.

Tasks of the Ministry

Under section 13 of the Government Rules of Procedure the remit of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (2017/964) includes
1) foreign and security policy, international matters of foreign policy significance and international relations in general; 2) assisting in the reconciliation of treaties and other international obligations; 3) Finland's trade policy and commercial and economic relations; 4) development policy and development cooperation; 5) the supervision of the interests and rights of Finnish citizens, consular services and other similar services provided by Finnish officials abroad; 6) international judicial and investigating bodies; 7) Finnish representation in the Court of Justice of the European Union and Finland as a member of the EU in surveillance procedures; 8) representation of Finland abroad; 9) assisting foreign mission and international organisations in Finland.

For more information on the activities and organisation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, see the Ministry's website (Opens New Window) and the Government Decree on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs(layout.types.url.description) (in finnish) and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' Rules of Procedure(layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window) (in finnish).

Information systems and the data processed in them

The person submitting the information request does not need to know which information system their request applies to. Information on these systems is not available openly through a technical interface. Materials outside the scope of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, such as draft documents, notes and e-mails, have also been stored in the information systems.

Parent systems

When carrying out the tasks of the ministry and diplomatic missions listed above, official documents are mainly prepared and archived in three parent systems: AHA, Aski-Arkki and Eutori.

Search criteria in the systems may include document titles, dates, author names, relevant units and diplomatic missions, keywords or free text searches. The document registers listed below contain not only public information but also confidential information, so they are not freely accessible. To review their content please submit a request for information to the Ministry's registry office.

AHA is a case management system that includes several applications for the management of different areas of responsibility, with the largest being consular affairs, development cooperation, protocol services, export controls and trade barriers. AHA serves as a register and electronic archive for the documents produced within it and exported to it.

Aski is a general document drafting system for the Ministry and diplomatic missions. Almost everything that is not drawn up in AHA is prepared by Aski, for example, reporting by diplomatic missions. The Arkki system serves as the register and electronic archive for Aski documents.

Documents related to EU activities by both the ministry and Finland’s EU  mission are produced in Eutori. The system also contains EU institution documents. Eutori serves as the register and electronic archive of these EU documents.

Other data

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs uses the common information systems for public administration, such as the Kieku system for human resources, the Handi system for financial administration and the M2 system for travel.

The Ministry has operational systems for carrying out its duties, such as the visa system intended for visa-related operations.

There are separate information systems for handling documents with higher security classifications (SC II-III).

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has an extensive paper archive spanning back to time the Ministry for Foreign Affairs was established in 1918.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs serves as the secretariat of the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy and coordinates requests for information addressed to the committee. 

 

For more information on the document publicity description please contact the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Information and Documentation Unit, HAL-40@formin.fi.