The procedures related to allocation of public funds in culture are included in the Public Finance Act (Official Gazette No. 79/99, 124/00, 79/01, 30/02, 56/02 – ZJU, 127/06 – ZJZP, 14/07 – ZSPDPO, 109/08, 49/09, 38/10 – ZUKN, 107/10, 11/11 – UPB1, 14/13 – corr., and 101/13), which is important for the way public institutions are financed and the General Administrative Procedure Act (Official Gazette No. 80/99, 70/00, 52/02, 73/04, 22/05 – UPB1, 119/05, 24/06 – UPB2, 105/06 – ZUS-1, 126/07, 65/08, 8/10, and 82/13), which applies to the functioning of administration. Public culture funds are also regulated by the Act Regulating the Realisation of the Public Interest in the Field of Culture (2002). The procedures of this act are regulated by the Executive Rules on carrying out public calls and tenders, the Rules on financing Public Institutes, Public Funds and Agencies in the Field of Culture and the Rules on expert commissions.
The Act Regulating the Realisation of Public Interest in the Field of Culture (2002) provides 3 different procedures for financing.
- Direct Call to Public Institutions. The Ministry or municipality, i.e. the funder, calls upon a public institution to prepare a yearly work programme, which is the basis for the beginning of a dialogue between the funder and the cultural producer on programme objectives, their extent and the need for financial resources.
- Public Tender. This is intended to provide programme financing for NGOs and support to projects by all kinds of cultural producers (above all individuals, NGOs and public institutions of which the initiator is another party). Public tenders are officially published and the producers compete for financial support.
- Public Call. With respect to their content and eligible producers, public calls are more or less the same as public tenders. The important difference lies in the fact that producers do not compete among themselves, but are granted financial support as long as they meet the required criteria and depending upon the level of resources available for the call. In practice, public tenders more widely used.
In all three kinds of procedures, commissions composed of external experts participate in decision-making. They prepare a proposal which is submitted to the Minister who in turn makes a final decision based on (or contrary to) their proposals. It is seldom that the Minister overrides their proposals, especially since the decision-making process and the work of the expert commissions are public. The Minister is therefore under the pressure of public opinion. There are exceptions, however; for example, in 2004 when the Minister disagreed with the expert commission for the visual arts and, in the end, decided against their proposals. In the end, the head of the expert commission resigned.