At the end of 1997, the Polish Government launched a work programme for the administrative reform of the country. The bills which are currently being discussed in the Parliament propose introducing a decentralised system similar to that in France. This would mean a distribution of competencies between three administrative levels (there are only two at present): municipality, district, voivodeships as well as the creation of regional councils made up of elected members. In this context, the competencies of the municipalities will remain practically unchanged, the districts would cover inter-municipal administration responsibilities and a large part of those of the voivodeships. The voivodeships would then carry out the standard administration for the State at regional level.
The Regional Council would be elected through direct suffrage, which represents major progress when compared to the present system. It would be made up of an elected Assembly (legislative and control body) and an executive body. It would be responsible for the regional strategy and development policy and its implementation. The competencies of the Council would include: education and higher education, health, culture, social services, regional planning, the environment, management of water resources, infrastructures and transport. It would have its own financial resources (30% from income tax and 15% from VAT, collected at regional level etc.) and would prepare and vote its own annual budget.
The bill envisages that the voivode would supervise the Regional Council in legislative fields and foreign policy. It also envisages the suspension of activities or dissolution of the Council by the President of the Council of Ministers should the Constitution not be respected or if public commitments are not carried out.