Hansel – a central purchasing body for the public administration
Hansel is a non-profit limited liability company, whose purpose is to generate savings for public administration through efficient procurement operations. Hansel’s customers include ministries and their subordinate departments, municipalities, joint municipal authorities, hospital districts, Keva, parishes and all public law bodies governed by the state or a municipality. In 2021, we also started preparing to have health and social services counties as our customers. Parliament will process the amendment that will allow it in the spring of 2022.
Hansel’s owners are the State of Finland (65%) and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (35%). The company’s role and duties as a joint procurement body are specified in the Act on Public Contracts, the Act on a Limited Liability Company Called Hansel Oy and the State Procurement Strategy. The company operates under the ownership steering of the Ministry of Finance.
Hansel’s operations are funded by service fees for joint procurement and the sales of expert services. The service fees are based on purchases made by the customers. The maximum fee is 1.50% of the contract value. The average service fee in 2021 was 0.88% (0.95% in 2020).
In 2021, Hansel’s own procurement totalled €5.0 million. Hansel makes use of joint procurement in our procurement activities whenever possible. If a suitable framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system is not available, Hansel performs the procurement in accordance with processes determined by the company.
Hansel’s organisation consists of its personnel of 124 experts. The Board of Directors is named by the annual general meeting and chaired by Anna-Maija Karjalainen. The Board also contains four other members: Timo Reina, Deputy Managing Director, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (vice chairperson); Antti Laakso, Head of Procurement, Aalto University; Johanna Luukkonen, Mayor, the City of Hyvinkää; and Antti Koivula, Director General, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Minna Isoherranen, a personnel representative also attends the Board’s meetings. They have the right to be present and speak at the meetings. Members of the Board cannot be members of the company’s operational management.
Hansel’s Executive Committee is nominated by the Board based on a proposal by the managing director. In 2021, the Executive Committee consisted of seven people, including Anssi Pihkala, Managing Director (b. 1963), Raili Hilakari, Deputy Managing Director (b.1953), Kirsi Koivusaari, Director of Finance (b. 1966), Eija Kontuniemi, Head of Legal Affairs (b. 1966), Maritta Mäkelä, Account Manager (b. 1965), Susanna Närvänen, Chief Category Officer (b. 1963), and Mikko Saavalainen, Director of Digital Business (b. 1979).
The members of the Board and the Executive Committee are appointed in accordance with the Government’s ownership steering principles, which are used to ensure equality, among other things. Decisions are made in compliance with the Finnish Limited Liability Companies Act and Hansel’s articles of association. The company’s head office is in Postitalo in Helsinki. They also used a meeting room in Kuntatalo. Hansel has no international activity.
Ethics and compliance of operations
The compliance function is responsible for the currency of ethical instructions and business principles, as well as the instructions related to ethical operations. It supports personnel with questions related to ethical operations, arranges training, and handles whistleblowing reports.
In 2021, an informative event on government employee ethics and the prevention of corruption was organised for the personnel. The ethical principles and hospitality instructions for government employees were updated in the spring of 2021. Hansel’s instructions were found to be harmonious with the corresponding instructions of our owners, the state and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.
In December, the members of the compliance team appeared with an expert from the State Treasury in a webinar directed at customers. The webinar handled public procurement from the perspective of compliance, the content of the whistleblower directive, and the reporting channel for agencies provided by the State Treasury. Two blogs related to ethical perspectives on public procurement were published in Hansel’s online service and customer letters. A text on Hansel’s compliance function was published in the guest writer section of the Public Procurement Advisory Unit and customer letter. Hansel’s compliance team also offered guidance and support in ethical questions for the personnel. In 2021, the team consisted of Eija Kontuniemi, Head of Legal Affairs, Kirsi Kunnas-Leinonen, Senior Legal Counsel, Minna Hälvä, HR Manager, and Jani Mäkinen, Category Manager.
Hansel’s whistleblowing channel received one report in 2021. The report did not concern a Hansel employee. The report was handled with the parties involved.
Hansel has a data security group that answers for matters related to data protection. The group members are experts in different sectors, and Hansel’s data security manager leads the group. In 2021, security-related development focused on the data protection of procurement. Data security audits were performed for both Hansel’s own systems and the tools offered to customers, such as the Vehicle Service and Procurement Radar.
Hansel’s business operations are divided into three segments: joint procurement, tendering services and procurement development services. Through responsibly run operations, the joint procurement unit promotes profitable public administration, high-quality public procurement and equal, non-discriminatory treatment of suppliers. Hansel’s objective is to organise tendering processes in a manner that fosters efficient market operations and promotes competition.
Risks related to the company’s operations are regularly surveyed with an external expert, using a risk matrix. The risks were investigated in 2021.
Hansel business areas
Joint procurement refers to framework agreements and dynamic purchasing systems through which Hansel’s customers can purchase products and services. The purpose of joint procurement agreements is to establish the general terms governing procurement contracts, such as the object of procurement, prices, and responsibilities and obligations of the contracting parties. By using Hansel’s agreements, customers can ensure that their procurement processes are compliant with applicable laws and the contractual terms secure their position, as well as facilitate the management of agreements and suppliers. During joint procurement, Hansel verifies the eligibility of suppliers. In addition, Hansel monitors that the suppliers meet their contractual and solvency obligations and social requirements during the agreement period.
Savings are generated when sufficiently large volumes of products and services are put out to tender, and the requirements of the maximum number of customers are met. Joint procurement generates considerable savings for public administration, through both procurement process costs and pricing.
Tendering services are needed when a joint procurement agreement is not available for a product or service to be acquired. Hansel’s tendering consultants and lawyers have specific experience and knowledge of public procurement, tendering and contract law. By using our expert services, customers can ensure that their acquisitions are put out to tender in accordance with the valid rules, with the best contractual terms possible and by considering price, quality and responsibility aspects. This frees the customer’s time for other duties, reduces the contracting authority’s risks and promotes the distribution of best practices.
Our development service aims to boost the effectiveness of our customers’ procurement operations and improve their profitability. Development managers have a key role in customer assignments, but Hansel’s entire expertise is at the customers’ disposal. The development service can involve a specific problem in the customer’s procurement operations, or the service can consist of a comprehensive analysis of procurement control, the procurement organisation or the implementation of procurement processes, change management and personnel training. The content of a development assignment is always customised on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the customer’s wishes, and the assignment is realised in close cooperation with the customer.