Slovenia


Council of Europe in cooperation with Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia

Program MOSAIC Workshop on Management of Independent Cultural Centres Ljubljana, 14 September 2000

Vesna Copic

"INSTRUMENTS OF THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES TO SUPPORT

NON INSTITUTIONAL CULTURE"

a few examples


The term “public authorities” covers the state and local authorities at all levels. Depending on the way in which local government is organised, these levels can be regions, departments, counties, municipalities and so on.

The concept of non institutional culture is extended to all those cultural activities that are not institutionalised in the form of public institutions organised as the part of cultural administration.

In general, and also in the field of culture, we can divide the instruments of the public authorities to promote cultural development into the legal, organisational, financial and informational.

I. LEGAL INSTRUMENTS

The regulatory instruments are the legal regulations that govern cultural rights, individual cultural activities and the way in which the public interest for culture is implemented.

Legal regulations, or regulations containing instructions that are valid in law, are ratified international conventions, the constitution, the laws and implementation regulations.

1. International regulations

Adopted international documents in the field of culture relate to protection of cultural heritage and to cultural rights concerning specific groups, such as minorities, and humans as individuals. The following international documents are important for non institutional culture:

- The 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, including protocols

- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966

- The European Cultural Convention, 1954.

Conventions are international agreements the observance of which is binding on a signatory state upon ratification. Conventions can be applied directly as a source of law or assumed into the internal law of the signatory state. But it must be noted that all these documents are tackling culture on a very general level. The trial of Council of Europe to draft the protocol complementing the European Convention on Human Rights in the cultural field by provisions guaranteeing individual rights failed.

2. Internal legal system

2.1. The constitution

The highest legal enactment of the state is the constitution, which sets out the basic principles concerning social, political and economic arrangements and the basic freedoms and rights of the citizen. In the field of culture the provisions are, as a rule, very general and relate to promotion of cultural development, free access to information, freedom of association, freedom of artistic creativity and protection of rights from creativeness, protection of cultural heritage and, possibly, the cultural rights of minorities.

2.2. Laws

At the legislative level both specific, i.e. cultural legislation, and general laws are important for non institutional culture. But first of all it needs to be very clearly emphasised that legislation cannot take the place of cultural policy; it can only create the legal framework for it. Legislation cannot be a substitute for strategic aims and can regulate only the rules of the procedure whereby these aims are achieved. And equally, legislation cannot replace stable funding but can only provide the legal basis for it. In short, legislation is merely a tool and not an aim in itself. In no case can it replace the political will and the necessary resources, but can only provide the legal basis for them.

2.3. Specific cultural legislation

There are three main tasks of cultural legislation:

Enacting the rights and duties

Legislation can give effect to rights and duties in the field of culture and to regulate the legal relations in connection with them. Certain individual laws that are intended to do this include the Copyright Act, the Protection of Cultural Heritage Act, and the Media Act, the law which regulates the rights of artists in the area of social insurance, pension entitlements, etc. A right is a legally protected possibility.

In this area of legislation the most relevant aspect as far as non﷓institutional culture is concerned is with respect to protection of copyright and the regulation of the status of freelance artists.

Establishment of the cultural policy decision making structure

Legislation can set up a cultural policy model by :

defining the players in the cultural policy decision making process (the public authorities, the cultural administration and civil society) and their roles:the public authorities which received a mandate at elections acquire the role to make decisions;the cultural administration, which bas a professional power, with the role of preparing the expert foundations for these decisions ; civil society in the role of pressure groups by participating in the formulation of cultural policy decisions, thereby contributing to its acceptability and feasibility.

• envisaging the mechanisms that guide the process of formulating cultural policy. This is primarily a programme or a strategic document;

• regulating the rules by which this process must be conducted and cover principally the questions as to how the public authorities initiate that process and how they have to lead it.

The individuals involved in non institutional culture must realise that it is in their interest that they are informed about the intentions of cultural policy and that they get the opportunity to pursue their own interests within these processes. And this is much easier if the system is transparent and stable and independent of the goodwill of the politicians, in power. In countries with a long democratic tradition this came about gradually, but in the transition countries it is something that can only be achieved without delay by means of the law.

Definition of public services in the field of culture

Legislation can define which cultural services are the public services and determine the regime for their implementation (museums, libraries, archives, monument service, etc.) included the possibility to transfer their implementation to civil society by means of concession.

Here the main interest of non institutional culture is to persuade the public authorities that the provision of at least part of the public service is more successful and more effective on the basis of a concession as an administrative arrangement to delegate the services and related public fund to the NGOs.

2.4. General legislation

Because society as a whole is regulated by general regulations that also apply to subsystems, such as the cultural sector, the nature of these laws is also of great significance for cultural development.

Here we should mention the following in particular:

- Status legislation
relating to the founding and administration of various types of legal entities in the field of non institutional culture : societies, foundations, cooperatives, commercial companies.

Suitable status legislation is a precondition for the existence and functioning of non institutional culture, as in general it is removed from legal and business transactions and even in formal terms placed on the margins of society. The non existence of the appropriate forms of legal organisation of individuals means a curtailment of one of the basic human rights, which is the right of assembly in order to ensure common interests.

- Tax legislation
tax reliefs are a precondition for healthy funding because they provide the most neutral financial support for culture as they concern everyone and not ônly those that the state publicly subsidises. These mostly concern reliefs on:
- value added tax in the taxation of cultural goods and services
- taxation of income on cultural activities (tax on the profit of legal entities, income tax)
- investments in culture in the form of sponsorship and donations.

Procedural law the procedures by which decisions are made in respect of rights in the field of non institutional culture (in connection with subsidies, etc.) that are intended to protect citizens from arbitrary decisions by administrative bodies. Particularly important here is the principle of equality and the right of appeal.

This involves regulations concerning:

• the transfer of subsidies and grants

• the compulsory tendering

• the contracts and concessions

Legislation regulating local government and its financing

Culture is to a large extent left to local government and the consequences of this are strongly felt by non institutional culture, which is to a large extent dependent on the municipalities and other local authorities as far as providing the conditions for work, from financing of projects to securing premises, is concerned.

Legislation in the field of public finances

Of all the fields of culture it is non﷓institutional culture that is generally the biggest victim of financial regulations, because as a rule the projects cannot be financed in advance and therefore remain without working capital, and because of the belief that savings can be made in public funds if the procedures are as bureaucratic as possible and the financial transfer made as difficult as possible.


II. ORGANISATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

Cultural administration

The public authorities can also support the development of non institutional culture through the way in which the cultural administration is organised. Because generally the state supports the development of institutional culture by establishing state museums, theatres, galleries and so on, and ensures that they have uninterrupted funding (the same applies to the local authorities), non institutional culture is in serious danger of getting only whatever is left over. Whereas the ministry with responsibility for culture perceives the state institutions as its own, non institutional culture more often than not is without a representative in the cultural administration. Therefore one of the most important things is that the cultural administration be organised in such a way that responsibility for the development of non﷓institutional culture is reflected within its organisational structure. The fostering of non﷓institutional culture must become a transparent working area of the cultural administration.

Two solutions are possible:

- that this is done within the ministry
- or that special public agencies or foundations are established.

- value added tax in the taxation of cultural goods and services
- taxation of income on cultural activities (tax on the profit of legal entities, income tax)
- investments in culture in the form of sponsorship and donations.

Procedural law the procedures by which decisions are made in respect of rights in the field of non﷓institutional culture (in connection with subsidies, etc.) that are intended to protect citizens from arbitrary decisions by administrative bodies. Particularly important here is the principle of equality and the right of appeal.

This involves regulations concerning:

• the transfer of subsidies and grants

• the compulsory tendering

• the contracts and concessions

Legislation regulating local government and its financing

Culture is to a large extent left to local government and the consequences of this are strongly felt by non institutional culture, which is to a large extent dependent on the municipalities and other local authorities as far as providing the conditions for work, from financing of projects to securing premises, is concerned.

Legislation in the field of public finances

Of all the fields of culture it is non institutional culture that is generally the biggest victim of financial regulations, because as a rule the projects cannot be financed in advance and therefore remain without working capital, and because of the belief that savings can be made in public funds if the procedures are as bureaucratic as possible and the financial transfer made as difficult as possible.

II. ORGANISATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

Cultural administration

The public authorities can also support the development of non institutional culture through the way in which the cultural administration is organised. Because generally the state supports the development of institutional culture by establishing state museums, theatres, galleries and so on, and ensures that they have uninterrupted funding (the same applies to the local authorities), non institutional culture is in serious danger of getting only whatever is left over. Whereas the ministry with responsibility for culture perceives the state institutions as its own, non institutional culture more often than not is without a representative in the cultural administration. Therefore one of the most important things is that the cultural administration be organised in such a way that responsibility for the development of non institutional culture is reflected within its organisational structure. The fostering of non﷓institutional culture must become a transparent working area of the cultural administration. Two solutions are possible:

- that this is done within the ministry

- or that special public agencies or foundations are established.

Project funding

One of the most known forms of subsidising culture is giving the grant for certain project or activity.

Advance payment

Putting in place a system of advance payment which would provide the start﷓up capital with the possibility of full settlement after the work or service has been carried out.

Structural funding

The main problem of the non institutional culture is the provision of more stable conditions for their operation. The costs which don’t depend on concrete projects but requires permanent funding to keep the organisation alive are the running costs such as rent, electricity, heating ... .

Separate budget item

In view of the caution sounded above that non﷓institutional culture is dependent on what is left over from the financing of institutions, the first measure is to put in place a separate budget item that is intended only for non﷓institutional culture.

III. INFORMATIONAL INSTRUMENTS

Informational instruments relate primarily to monitoring the situation, identifying problems and evaluating the effects of cultural policy, including all the aforementioned instruments, and to the provision of information for individuals and organisations on the possibilities for them to obtain state aid. This is of vital importance in the process of the emancipation of civil society in its relationship with the public authorities.

Databases

It is necessary to set up databases that will reflect the actual state of affairs, including in the field of non institutional culture, because this is the most credible basis on which to rely when pursuing demands. The decision to gather certain data is linked to a prior decision as to which quantitative indicators are relevant.

Documentation

The systematic gathering and archiving of documentation enables the public to see the workings of politics and the cultural administration. It is also important to ensure access to information about the measures and experiences of other countries and relevant institutions in the field of cultural policy.

Registers and records

In connection with rights laid down in law, registers and records must be set up that enable the public to inspect the allocation of these rights.

CONCLUSION

There are for sure a lot of other examples of the public instruments to promote culture and non institutional part of it as well but I want just to show that the development of non institutional culture has to be addressed also in a very functional practical way.

Ljubljana, 14. September 2000﷓ Vesna Copic