The allocation of public funds in Switzerland is effected on three levels: the federal government, the cantons, the communes, and the private sector. Allocation is subject to the principle of subsidiarity. On the federal level, pursuant to the Dispatch on Culture, the culture budget is determined by Parliament for a period of four years. In the cantons and communes, financial resources for the promotion of culture come from the annually approved public budget – in some cases also for multi-year periods. Other financial resources are derived from foundations and the sponsoring efforts of private enterprise.
Public administrations in Switzerland are, as a rule, run according to the principles of New Public Management, according to which individual areas are allocated global budgets. These budgets must be used in accordance with performance mandates and service agreements – which run for periods lasting from one to four years depending on the regional authority.
Actual budgets are passed, in each case, by Parliament. Laws and decrees regulate the areas of responsibility, but not how they are financed. Another case is bequests which are to be federally administered. Bequests often have to be made available for certain purposes (e.g. social, cultural).