From Encyklopedia Administracji Publicznej

DECENTRALISATION – a way of organising public administration in which the lower level bodies are not hierarchically subordinated to higher bodies, they independently enact the tasks delegated by law, while being subject to supervision only from the point of view of legality. In decentralized system of public administration the following rules are in force: 1. each particular administrating entities have clearly defined competences; 2. these competences are determined or transferred from other bodies by legislation and are implemented autonomously; 3. the supervision of the decentralized bodies by the state is limited and refers to ensuring the proper performance of tasks. The supervision should on the one hand guarantee the unity of the state, and on the other hand, it should ensure the freedom and independence of action of the decentralized bodies. Dec. assumes independence of the lower level bodies, which means that the higher level body: cannot decide about the personnel appointments of the lower body; it cannot instruct the lower bodies on how to execute the tasks within their competences; it may enter into matters dealt with by a lower body only in situations expressly defined by law. The most important form of decentralized administration is → local government, i.e. public governing by public-law associations independent from the state, composed of all the inhabitants of a given territory. The principle of dec. is also a systemic principle adopted in Poland and means the functioning of local government in all units of the basic territorial division, equipped with its own tasks and responsibilities, as well as elected authorities. Other decentralized entities may be involved in the execution of tasks by local governments, e.g., municipal enterprises, private companies with public administration functions, professional self-government, social organisations, etc. [ K.A. Kuć-Czajkowska ].

Literature: B. Dolnicki, Samorząd terytorialny [Local government], Kraków 2016 ■ Z. Leoński, Samorząd terytorialny w RP [Local government in the Republic of Poland], Warszawa 2006 ■ A.K. Piasecki, Samorząd terytorialny i wspólnoty lokalne [Local government and local communities], Warszawa 2009.