Indirect and direct federal administration

Direct federal administration

The term "direct federal administration" means that federal authorities have been established specifically for performing administrative tasks reserved to the federal level. In this field, ultimate decision-making power usually rests with the competent federal minister.

The tasks to be carried out directly by the federal authorities are defined in the Austrian Federal Constitution (sec 102 B-VG). It should be noted that the provinces and municipalities are practically not involved in matters of direct federal administration.

Indirect federal administration

The principle of indirect federal administration implies that the federal state is required to delegate all matters that must not be performed at federal level to the provincial governors or their subordinate authorities. If this is not the case, approval from the federal provinces is required.

From an organisational point of view this constitutes a classic case of decentralisation. Decentralisation in this context refers to the delegation of tasks, decision-making rights and responsibilities to decentralised bodies in accordance with the relevant legal provisions. In principle, these bodies are free to take their own decisions in compliance with statutory regulations. However, they may be obliged to report to superordinate authorities and to follow directions from these authorities.

As a rule, tasks of indirect federal at administrative authority level are performed by provincial bodies, i.e. monocratic administrative authorities in charge of individual administrative districts. In matters of indirect federal administration, the district administrative authorities are subordinate to the provincial governors. The Offices of Provincial Governments assist the governors in their duties. These offices are headed by legally trained employees with the title "Head of the Office of the Provincial Government".

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