At the lower levels of public administration, the distribution of public financial resources and the management of cultural organisations has been the responsibility of self-governing regions (VUC – higher territorial units) since 2002. Slovakia is divided into 8 self-governing regions. Their assemblies (regional parliaments) are elected by the inhabitants of the governed region for terms of four years.
The powers of regional governments in the area of culture are governed by Act 302/2001, Act 416/2001 and other regulations relating to culture. The powers of the higher territorial units are:
- the establishment of regional libraries, regional public education centres, including the establishment of observatories and planetariums, galleries and theatres;
- the creation of conditions for the creation, presentation and development of cultural values and cultural activities within the region; and
- support for the preservation of monuments and cultural heritage within the region.
The duties of the state administration are carried out by offices in each self-governing region. Their area of responsibility includes organisations of regional or greater importance – museums, galleries, theatres, libraries, public education centres and observatories. Five self-governing regions have a specific culture section in their organisational structure, in two regions culture is combined in a section with education, youth and sport and in one region it is combined with tourism and cultural heritage. The management activities of the self-governing regions focus mainly on financing the activities of the cultural organisations that have been put under the administration of the self-governing regions. The regions use most of the funding designated for culture for such activities. A much smaller portion is distributed through open calls for projects or individual grant schemes for culture (intended also for non-profit organisations or private-sector organisations). A number of self-governing regions have their own development programmes for culture.