2.2 The regional level (voivodeship)

Public administration at the voivodeship level is of a dual nature. Since a voivodeship is a unit of a territorial self-government, administration is run by the organs of the voivodeship self-government as well as by the organs of the public administration in the voivodeship. The bodies of self-governmental administration in a voivodeship are voivodeship legislative body and voivodeship executive body.

The voivodeship self-government

Voivodeship as a self-governmental community has a different range of tasks than a commune or a county. Both communities act independently. The tasks of a voivodeship are focused on the function of a regional character and they comprise mostly three categories of issues:

  • shaping and keeping the spatial order,
  • stimulating the economic enterprise and carrying out the development policy in a voivodship,
  • preserving cultural and natural heritage.

The aim of a voivodeship territorial self-government is to form regional development and provide for public services of regional character and range. The essential instruments in creation of a regional development are: voivodeship development strategy including the regional operational programs, many years standing sector voivodeship programs (e.g. environmental protection, innovation support, and transportation development) and voivodeship spatial management plan.

While executing its tasks a voivodeship may establish on its territory commonly biding local acts of law. Establishment of those regulations may come about based on the statutory authorization and within its limit. Those regulations can be exclusively established by a regional legislative body – the voivodeship parliament. Simultaneously, in cases of high importance for a voivodeship, a referendum can be carried out.

Holding authority in a voivodeship in a representational way is a fundamental rule. For that reason the bodies of Sejmik (voivodeship parliament) and voivodeship board are established.

The Sejmik (voivodeship parliament)
The Sejmik is the decision making and review body of self-government in the voivodeship. The members of Sejmik are directly elected for a four-year term. The Sejmik is above all responsible for regional policy. The competences of the voivodeship parliament comprise the essential issues for achieving objectives within the range of regional self-government, such as:

  • passing the voivodship development strategy and voivodship programs,
  • passing the voivodship spatial management plan,
  • passing and controlling the execution of a budget,
  • enacting local acts of law, including a voivodship statute,
  • appointing and dismissing the voivodship board,
  • passing resolutions in a more important wealth (material) issues of a voivodship.

The Sejmik appoints its chairperson and his deputies from its own circle. The chairperson organises the activities of the Sejmik and chairs its sessions, however he must not represent the voivodeship externally. Sejmik Commissions may consist exclusively of its elected members.

The voivodship board
The voivodeship board headed by the voivodeship marshal is the executive body of voivodeship self-government. In contrast to communal self-government, it is the voivodeship board, and not the elected assembly (Sejmik), that is the body of general competence. Consequently the board manages all the issues of voivodeship self-government, unless those issues were restricted by legal means to other subjects. The tasks of the voivodeship board comprise in particular:

  • execution of resolution passes by the voivodship parliament,
  • preparation of a budget project and execution of a voivodship budget,
  • management of the material wealth of a voivodship,
  • management, coordination and control of the activity of a voivodship organizational units.

The voivodeship board consisting of 5 people is headed by the voivodeship marshal, i.e. the board’s chairman. Members of the board may be elected from the circle of councillors or from outside the composition of the legislative body. Only the voivodeship marshal has to be elected from among the members of Sejmik.

The voivodeship marshal manages the affairs of the board and simultaneously functions de facto as the second, besides the board, executive organ. The Marshal manages current issues in a voivodeship and represents it outside. In urgent cases connected directly with an endangered public interest, threat to the health and life as well as in the cases, which might result in a big material loss, the marshal takes up measures, which lie in the competence of the board. Apart from that, he/she is entitled to issue decisions in individual cases concerning public administration, which belong to the properties of a voivodeship. The auxiliary body of the voivodeship board is the marshal office together with the voivodeship’s self-governmental organisational units.

By cooperation with regional communities of other countries the voivodeship may participate in activities of international institutions and regional associations. Its activities within the mentioned structures must be performed in conformity with internal law as well as foreign policy of the state and its international obligations and must be limited to the tasks and competencies of a voivodeship.

The voivodeship’s governmental administration
Governmental administration in a voivodeship consists of consolidated and nonconsolidated administration. Non-consolidated administration in a voivodeship is constituted by local structures of central bodies of administration specialized in a narrow range of issues (e.g. revenue administration, customs, maritime, statistics office, etc.).
Consolidated administration consists of the voivode and the managers of consolidated services, inspections and guards being under his supervision, such as among others the conservation office, the building inspection, or the National Fire Brigade. Some of these services, inspections and guards may be extended to county level (e.g. building inspection), in case of which the head of the county is their supervisor. The voivode manages all those issues of public administration in a voivodeship that are not restricted to other bodies of that administration. The voivode is:

  • a representative of the Council of Ministers for the area of a voivodship,
  • a superior of consolidated public administration,
  • a supervisory body for the units of a territorial self-government (communes, counties, voivodeships),
  • an organ of a higher appeal level in an administrative procedure,
  • a representative of the State Treasury.

Based on and within the limits of statutory authorisation, the voivode may enact local acts of law, completing in this way the local legal system established by bodies of the self-government in a commune, county and voivodeship. He is appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister upon a motion of the minister proper for public administration affairs. He carries out his tasks with the help of the 1st and the 2nd deputy voivode and of the managers of the consolidated services, inspections and voivodeship guards. Deputy voivodes are appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister upon a motion submitted by the voivode. The voivode determines the range of tasks and competences performed by the deputy voivodes. Managers of consolidated services, inspections and voivodeship guards are appointed and dismissed by the voivode, apart from the voivodeship Police chief and the voivodeship chief of the National Fire Brigade, which are, though, appointed with the voivode’s consent.
The voivode statute of the voivodeship office that defines the organization of the consolidated public administration. The statute covers the structure of the voivodeship office as well as that of organizational units, which constitute an auxiliary apparatus for the managers of consolidated services, inspections and voivodeship guards. The voivode disposes of an advisory body consisting of:

  • the deputy voivodes,
  • the director of the voivodeship office,
  • the voivodship Police chief,
  • the Voivodship chief of the National Fire Brigade,
  • other people mentioned in a statute of a voivodship office.

The voivode's superior organs are the minister proper for public administration issues and the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister supervises the activity of a voivode with view to its conformity with law and government policy as well as in terms of its accuracy, reliability and economic efficiency.