The following Acts provide the legal bases which enable the Minister of Culture to provide subventions for cultural institutions (of which the Ministry is the founding body) and to provide project funding outside the public sector:
- the Act on Organising and Conducting Cultural Activity of 25 October, 1991 (OJ 110, p.721 with later amendments and annexes); and
- the Act on Public Finances of 26 November, 1998.
A proposal to amend the existing Act on Conducting and Organising of Cultural Activity has resulted from the Congress of Polish Culture held in September 2009 (see chapter 2.1). The Ministry’s preparations to implement changes in legislation are based on the need to eliminate the hitherto obstacles in conducting cultural activity within the law in force. The changes proposed are: to separate cultural institutions into artistic and disseminating ones, taking into consideration the special considerations under which they operate (e.g. introducing a season-based work schedule in some artistic institutions); introducing time-dated directors’ contracts; entrusting the management / mandating of cultural institutions to legal and private persons, etc.
The Amendment Act on Conducting and Organising of Cultural Activity was signed by the President Bronisław Komorowski in September 2011. The new law entered into force on 1 January 2012. It contains two basic theses on the activity of cultural institutions: (1) patronage in culture is an inalienable responsibility of the state and (2) the mission of the government in this field is implemented through cultural institutions, which have to adapt to changes in the world, modify themselves, increase their effectiveness etc. The new law established an opportunity to entrust management of cultural institutions to an entity selected on the basis of the Act on Public Procurement. Another important change relates to creation of a new category of cultural institutions – performing institutions. It introduces the concept of “artistic season” as a basis for organisation and implementation of tasks of the artistic institution. The amendment act provides new roles of appointment of directors –eliminates the possibility of appointment of the director for an indefinite period; specifies the procedures for conducting a contest for the position and conditions of appointment of the director without a contest. The article on obligation for artists to obtain an employer’s consent for concluding additional agreements has been widely criticised. The intention of the legislator was to indicate that employment on a permanent basis in a public institution should be the artist’s first commitment and the additional employment and other occupations cannot inhibit realisation of the work of the institution. This issue has raised controversy, especially among actors – it can prevent full-time actors employed in theatres from performing in movies, series or commercials, which is common practice.
The following laws enable local governments to grant aid for state administration tasks (financial aid is granted on the basis of an agreement between the Minister of Culture and the local administration units):
- the Act on the change of some Laws Defining the Competencies of the National Administration Bodies of 21 January 2000; and
- the Act on the establishment of tasks in the field of culture which are covered by state‘s patronage of 9 May 2000.
Tenders in the field of culture do not fall under strict procedural rules specified in the Act on Public Tendering.
Tenders can be granted through any procedure without the need of agreement from the Head of the Public Tender Office. Article 71 of the Act allows granting a public tender freely for creative and artistic activities in the field of art and culture and in the case of issues linked with protection of exclusive laws consequential to separate regulations.
Cultural institutions are, however, bound by the Act on Public Tendering through regulations concerning issues such as:
- the obligation to announce tenders;
- announcement of the outcome of proceedings or in the case of granting a tender freely, announcement of contracting the agreement;
- the obligation to treat all applying subjects equally;
- rules of specifying the subject of the tender;
- exclusion from applying;
- acting as a representative of the tendering party; and
- appointing tender commissions, etc.