Legislation on social alarm and care phone services and its enforcement
Safety services arranged using social alarms, care phones and complementary devices are intended to provide assistance in situations in which a person cannot, for one reason or another, cope independently in his or her own home or service flat, for example, and therefore requires access to help at all hours. Safety services required for coping at home are considered equivalent to the home-help services referred to in Section 17 of the Social Welfare Act. These home-help services are considered as social services.
Social services produced by municipalities are governed by the Social Welfare Act (710/1982) and Social Welfare Decree (607/1983). The Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Services for Older Persons (980/2012, i.e. act on services for the aged) is also applied to social and health care services intended for aged people. In addition to municipalities, safety services can be provided by private persons, corporations or companies. The Act on Private Social Services (Laki yksityisistä sosiaalipalveluista, 922/2011) applies to these services. The surveillance authorities for the Social Welfare Act, act on services for the aged and the act on private social services are the municipal bodies responsible for the supervision of social welfare services, Regional State Administrative Agencies and Valvira.
The Consumer Safety Act (Kuluttajaturvallisuuslaki 920/2011 in Finnish Statute Book, hereinafter CSA) is a secondary and supplementary law. It is only applied to the safety of services if an equivalent level of safety has not been provided in other legislation. As a rule, the CSA is therefore not applied to social services. A service falls within the CSA's scope of application only if the social welfare authority considers the service in question not to constitute a social-welfare service. In practice, even though social alarm, care phone services and other equivalent services are referred to in Section 6.1(13) of the CSA, only a marginal part of safety (telephone) services remain within the scope of the CSA.
In cases where a private person has agreed on alarm arrangements with another private person, such as a member of his or her family, and the service is not being provided commercially, neither social welfare legislation nor the CSA will apply to the arrangement.
The equipment used in social alarm and care phone services is governed by the Act on Radio Frequencies and Telecommunications Devices (Laki radiotaajuuksista ja telelaitteista, 1015/2001). The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority is competent for supervising the conformity and safety of such telecommunications terminals.