Public Service Centre is a success: the millionth client visit in April

The first public service centre in Finland opened in August 2016 in Iso Omena shopping centre in Espoo. From a worldwide perspective, this public service concept is unique. The aim is to ease citizens’ everyday life by enabling people to run several errands in a single place that can easily be reached by public transport.

Over 800,000 client visits in six months

Each day an average of 4,500 people visit the Service Centre. During the first approximately six months the Service Centre counted 827,993 visits. About 200 events were organized, for example exercise classes, a book presentation, a rock concert and a theme discussion. In April the millionth client visit will take place. When the metro and bus station open the number of clients is expected to grow even more.

In other words, residents have voted with their feet by using the services. Special praise goes to the maternity and child health clinic, which is also open evenings and Saturdays. The public services centre has only received a few dozen complaints.

"The complaints concern unclear and inadequate signage, noise and concern about privacy when one has to queue up to the Social Insurance Institution office or the health centre in the quite open waiting room. Although criticism has been sparse, we take it seriously when we consider the development of the service centre", says Service Centre Manager Juha-Pekka Strömberg.

Services are concentrated for the benefit of citizens and entrepreneurs

The Service Centre serves visitors more efficiently than before since people can now run several errands during one single visit. This concept also enables a new kind of cross-operational and cross-organisational cooperation.

"The idea is to concentrate public service in premises useful for inhabitants and entrepreneurs alike. A steady stream of visitors who use public services is a clear advantage for instance for Iso Omena shopping centre: many of our clients go shopping or visit a restaurant when they visit the Service Centre", Strömberg says.

Citycon, the owner of the shopping centre, is for the moment conducting a survey about how many of the Service Centre clients also use other services in the shopping centre. The results will be ready in April and will be reported separately.

The aim is an even more interactive environment than before

The service centre concept is constantly changing according to citizens’ needs and new service innovations. At the moment the City of Espoo is coming up with new ideas for digital interactive platforms as a complement to face-to-face meetings. In the beginning of the year this was tested using a mobile application. The project will continue step by step.

"Our goal is to create an operations model with digital channels. This will simplify interaction between the municipal organization, citizens, organisations, companies, schools and educational institutions and make interaction more profitable."

Since the Service Centre is an authentic platform for many different operators, it is according to Strömberg the best possible place to test new ways in which citizens can have a direct impact.

What does the Service Centre offer?

Services in the public service centre in Iso Omena

  • Library
  • Youth services
  • Kohtaamo, a meeting place for art and culture
  • Maternity and child health clinic
  • Health centre
  • Mental health and substance abuse services
  • Laboratory and medical imaging
  • Public service centre
  • Kela, the Finnish Social Insurance Institution

On a regular basis, the Service Centre also offers activities coordinated by the city's sports services, such as guided exercise for senior citizens. At the Service Centre you can also book a meeting room for work or hobbies. Both the city and for instance associations often arrange events at the Service Centre. These events are aimed at different target groups such as families with children, young people, senior citizens and entrepreneurs.