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Preliminary plans to relocate state agencies out of Tallinn made public

Map of Estonian towns and cities to which the government plans to partially or entirely relocate some state agencies.
Map of Estonian towns and cities to which the government plans to partially or entirely relocate some state agencies. Source: (ERR)

While the potential relocation of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences from Tallinn to Narva has already been the subject of heated debate, the Estonian government has a broader plan to relocate many other state agencies out of the capital city as well.

The Ministry of Finance has put together an initial plan for the relocation of state agencies out of Tallinn. According to preliminary plans, some agencies are to be relocated entirely out of Tallinn while others will be only partially relocated. In the case of some agencies, the total number of jobs to be relocated out of Tallinn has not yet been finalized.

On the order of the previous government, each ministry had to submit proposals for the relocation out of the capital of 50-100 jobs within its administrative field.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson Kristina Haavala told ERR’s online news portal that the information which has been made public is only a preliminary plan currently receiving feedback.

"We recently asked for feedback from the ministries regarding what opportunities exist for relocating jobs within their administrative field out of Tallinn," she explained, adding that the Cabinet intends to discuss the matter in the near future as well.

Potential moves by town or city

Kuressaare: Estonian Lottery, 40 jobs

Kärdla: Estonian Tax and Customs Board, 40 jobs

Haapsalu: National Institute for Health Development, 144 jobs

Paldiski: Estonian Defence Forces, Movement and Transportation Service, state secret

Pärnu: 200 jobs, including Estonian Road Administration, 150 jobs; Estonian Defence Forces, sports center, state secret; Teede Tehnokeskuse AS, 45 jobs; Rail Baltic OÜ, 2 jobs

Tallinn: Ministry of Education and Research (back to Tallinn), 232 jobs;

Rapla: Estonian Competition Authority, 45 jobs, Estonian Patent Office, 63 jobs; Consumer Protection Board, 20 jobs; Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate, 18 jobs

Viljandi: 99 jobs, including Statistics Estonia; State Support Centre; National Heritage Board; Estonian Folk Cultural Centre

Paide: Estonian National Social Insurance Board, 150 jobs; Information Technology Centre for the Ministry of Finance, 10 jobs; National Foundation of Civil Society, 10 jobs

Tapa: Estonian Railways, 50-100 jobs; EVR Cargo, 50-100 jobs

Valga: Estonian Environment Agency, 50 jobs; Environmental Investment Centre, 83 jobs

Jõgeva: Veterinary and Food Board, 50 jobs

Rakvere: Enterprise Estonia, 150 jobs; Estonian Geological Service (to be created Jan. 1, 2018), 53 jobs

Tartu: more than 600 jobs, including Land Board, 117 jobs; Information Technology Centre of the Ministry of the Environment, 35 jobs; Innove and Archimedes, 339 jobs; Institute of the Estonian Language, 52 jobs; IT and Development Centre at the Estonian Ministry of the Interior, 52 jobs; Defence Resources Agency, 52 jobs

Võru: 160 jobs, including from the Estonian Environment Agency; Environmental Inspectorate; Environmental Investment Centre

Põlva: State Forest Management Centre, 42 jobs; Private Forest Centre, 31 jobs

Jõhvi: 224 jobs, including from state real estate firm Riigi Kinnisvara AS; Centre of Registers and Information Systems; Ministry of Justice (including assistant judges); relocation of main offices of Elering and Eesti Energia, which would mean 600 additional jobs, also on table

Narva: Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, 165 jobs; Integration and Migration Foundation Our People

Feedback from the agencies

While the Estonian Road Administration has noted that they cannot risk losing competent employees, Statistics Estonia, on the other hand, has taken Minister of Public Administration Mihhail Korb’s plans to relocate agency jobs to Viljandi well, reported ERR’s radio news.

Statistics Estonia plans on relocating 50 jobs from Tallinn to Viljandi. According to agency deputy director general Tuulikki Sillajõe, Statistics Estonia already has offices in Viljandi and Tartu, and so these offices will simply be expanded.

According to Sillajõe, much restructuring of operations will not be needed. "We’ll try to relocate those positions in which case working in Tallinn isn’t strictly necessary," she explained, adding that things might be complicated by the fact that it would not be entire departments but rather a few people from each department being relocated. "Surely this will cause difficulties in communication, it won’t always be possible to stop in the office next door to arrange something — so this will have to be done via video call, for example."

Enterprise Estonia is expected to relocate 150 jobs to Rakvere. The foundation’s board chairman Sille Talvet-Unt said that the idea was still too new to comment.

"Naturally we are open to all ideas as well as to relocating some of our employees out of Tallinn," she commented. "We currently already have a branch office in Tartu with over 40 people. But if, how and to which cities this distribution should occur is certainly still a matter of discussion. We definitely have to sit down with the ministry and discuss things more precisely."

The Estonian Road Administration’s HR manager Annika Kitsing said that as their agency offers a nationwide service, 90 percent of its employees are already distributed regionally, and the agency has a total of 17 locations. While current plans call for the agency itself to be relocated to Pärnu, Kitsing stated that the Estonian Road Administration cannot risk losing the work capacity, experience and competence of its regional experts.

MP: These are just ideas for now

MP Ivari Padar (SDE) noted that he has already received phone calls from a number of counties and state agencies alike asking for explanations about the Ministry of Finance’s now-public preliminary plans.

Padar stressed that everything still requires a lot more serious discussion. “This is a collection of possible thoughts about which the government has not yet decided anything and Riigikogu committees have not yet discussed,” he explained.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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