Quality inspectors at Helsinki City Hall

Quality inspectors find needs for improvements in City services – and a great deal that functions well

The City of Helsinki hired 25 quality inspectors for the summer 2020. They were tasked to make observations on how The Most Functional City In The World really functions. The quality inspectors observed street work projects and various City of Helsinki services, and they produced concrete and applicable information on how work could be conducted and services produced better, more efficiently, safer and in a more citizen-oriented manner. The idea to recruit quality inspectors came from Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.

The quality inspectors divided into two teams. One team focused on observing various City of Helsinki services, and the other team focused on street work projects and how to improve them. Fourteen of the quality inspectors made observations on services, and they toured Helsinki districts in pairs to observe various aspects at health and well-being centres, parks, swimming beaches, maternity and child health clinics, libraries and museums. They paid attention to accessibility, the visibility of the staff, multilingual services, cleanness and the general appeal of the locations. They interviewed the staff and customers on the functioning of services at the locations and received a great deal of valuable ideas for development.

“Our quality inspectors approached their task with ambition. They made extremely sharp observations and also presented magnificent suggestions for future improvements in services,” team leader Weera Kulppi asserts excitedly.

Employees found to be service-minded – accessibility and multilingual communication to be improved 

The quality inspectors visited close to 900 City of Helsinki locations in July. They found that Helsinki lives up to its reputation as a clean city – the inspectors mainly reported very high standards in cleanness. According to their observations, City employees are service-minded and motivated to improve their own work and working environments. Improvements are needed especially in accessibility and multilingual communication. For example, accessible toilets were found not to be accessible in all respects, and information and communication were sometimes available in Finnish only, although customers were largely multilingual.   

The results of quality inspection to form a basis of further development 

Mayor Vapaavuori was keenly involved with the project from the very beginning and met quality inspectors at their work. “The project seems to have been even a bigger success than expected. We received useful information for the development of Helsinki, and quality inspectors were received with enthusiasm at the various locations. Next, it’s important to make sure that we go through the observations with care and that changes will really be made on the basis of the observations,” Mayor Vapaavuori says with gratitude. 

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Photo: Maiju Aho