Office (local law)

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Triangle with the federal government at the top, including in layers the federal states, optional administrative districts, (rural) districts, optional municipal associations and municipalities.  The strict stratification is broken up by city-states and district-free cities, which perform tasks of several strata.Bund Bundesländer/Flächenländer Bundesländer/Stadtstaaten (Regierungsbezirke) (Land-)Kreise Gemeindeverbände (Gemeindeverbandsangehörige/Kreisangehörige Gemeinden) (Gemeindeverbandsfreie) Kreisangehörige Gemeinden Kreisfreie Städte
Vertical state structure of Germany

Offices are intermunicipal cooperations in the German states of Brandenburg , Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein . An office consists of several municipalities and has a common administration . Larger municipalities that have their own administration are called free of charge . An office is not a regional body , but a federal body .

There are 85 offices in Schleswig-Holstein (as of January 1, 2012), 79 offices in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and 52 offices in Brandenburg (as of January 2013). Until the territorial and administrative reforms came into force in 1970 in Rhineland-Palatinate , 1974 in Saarland and 1975 in North Rhine-Westphalia , there were offices there too.


Offices were originally created in various medieval territories for state administration and in some cases have been held up to the present day. In addition, offices were usually the lowest court instance. The offices were administered by the bailiff . The territorial division by offices replaced the medieval structure of the Zenten and Zentgerichte .


The Prussian rural community order for the province of Westphalia from 1841 replaced the mayor's offices introduced in the French period (1806 to 1813) with offices with effect from 1843. (→ Offices in Westphalia ). Offices were the lowest administrative instance, local police district and special purpose association and were first of by the government -appointed official men later out of office mayors. After the Second World War, the heads of the offices were called Amtsdirektoren .

In the Prussian Rhine Province , the mayor offices that remained there were only designated as offices from 1928 .

The offices in the eastern provinces of Prussia (Saxony, Brandenburg, Pomerania, Silesia, East and West Prussia), which were set up by the district ordinance of 1872/1881 , were different from the offices and mayor's offices in the province of Westphalia and the Rhine province alone local police districts (Police administration), in which one or more rural communities and manor districts were combined.

During the regional reforms in Rhineland-Palatinate in 1968, the offices still existing in the former Prussian-Rhenish part of the state were converted into association communities ; during the territorial reform in North Rhine-Westphalia , the offices were dissolved by January 1, 1975.

Kingdom of Hanover

The Kingdom of Hanover was divided into offices, the supervision of which was incumbent on the Landdrosteien . After the annexation by Prussia in 1866, the offices were dissolved and circles were formed in 1885 ; in many cases the offices were formed directly into circles or a circle was formed from several offices (or parts of the offices).


The estates of Mecklenburg (until 1918) consisted of lordly and knightly offices as well as cities and their land holdings (eligible for state assembly). Only in the area of ​​sovereign offices (the domanium ) was the (grand) duke absolute sovereign. In the rest of the country he shared power with the knighthood and the city mayors.

Grand Duchy of Hesse

In the Grand Duchy of Hesse or the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt , from which the Grand Duchy emerged in 1806, the provinces of Starkenburg and Upper Hesse were divided into offices that were responsible for both jurisdiction and administration until the administrative reform of 1820/1821. In the course of the separation of jurisprudence and administration, regional courts were set up as courts of first instance and district districts as the higher-level administrative unit of the mayor's offices.


The Duchy of Nassau was initially divided into 28 offices. These existed with a brief interruption until the end of the duchy in 1866.


There were offices in the Free State of Oldenburg until 1939. In the course of several reforms that had already begun during the time of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg , offices were merged. In 1939 the old offices were dissolved and the cities and municipalities belonging to them were assigned directly to rural districts.


In the county of Württemberg , after its expansion in the 14th century, offices were introduced as administrative units between the state administration and the municipalities. The offices included the respective official city with the seat of a stately bailiff and the surrounding villages and hamlets, which were referred to as "official spots".

In 1758 the designation of the offices was changed to Oberamt , whereby an Oberamt could include several sub- offices . The latter were gradually abolished in the course of the 19th century. When the great expansion of the Württemberg territory at the beginning of the 19th century made it necessary to reorganize the administration, King Friedrich had new higher offices established and the existing ones restructured in 1806 and again in 1810, also to create offices of roughly the same size.

With the adjustment of the Württemberg administrative structures to those in the rest of the German Reich, the upper offices were renamed "Landkreise" in 1934. In order to create larger units, some districts were dissolved in 1938 and the remaining reorganized.


Target minimum size for offices
year Residents
1948 2000
1966 5000
2008 8000

In pre-Prussian times, the sovereign offices in Holstein formed the lower administrative units from the 15th century . They united several communities and had legal, fiscal and administrative tasks to perform. At the head of the administration of the office was the bailiff , usually a nobleman who, as the representative of the sovereign, exercised all official rights and was also the court lord of the first instance. In the villages belonging to the office, peasant self-government was guaranteed by a peasant bailiff.

With the introduction of Prussian law in 1867, the Holstein offices (and their Schleswig counterparts) were converted into the current districts with a new demarcation , which in 1889 received administrative districts as subdivisions - in addition to cities and larger municipalities - as an amalgamation of smaller municipalities, after the Schleswig Hardesvogteien and the Holstein parish bailiffs had been abolished. The Schleswig-Holstein offices were purely local police districts in Prussian times.

After the formation of the state of Schleswig-Holstein , the administrative districts were dissolved in 1948 and offices were created as new administrative units for municipalities with less than 1000 inhabitants, each office being responsible for at least 2000 inhabitants (office ordinance from 1947), and later for at least 3000 inhabitants. With the office order of 1966, the offices should then be responsible for at least 5000 residents, which was implemented in the course of the district reform of 1970/74 . Since 2008, an administration has been responsible for at least 8,000 residents, which has led to a large number of associations and administrative communities .


The structure of the offices is regulated in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein in the respective official regulations. In Brandenburg, the office has been regulated in this since the introduction of the municipal constitution in 2007. The official administration usually consists of several specialist offices (e.g. main office, public order office, building office and finance department).

Office Committee

The highest body and representative body of the office is the office committee.

It is not a representative of the people in the strict sense, as it is not an elected representative. Rather, it is a collegial representative body whose members are sent by the municipalities belonging to the office. The posting takes place partly qua office (mayor) and partly by the municipal council.

In Brandenburg, the official committee is composed of the mayors of the municipalities belonging to the office as well as an additional member of the respective municipal council.

Office director / head of office

The head of the office is the honorary head of the office (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein) or the full-time office director (Brandenburg, Schleswig-Holstein). The Brandenburg official director is the full-time head of the official administration and representative of the office. There is also the position of "Chairman of the Office Committee".

Offices in Brandenburg

In Brandenburg, offices form a community association below the district level and are public corporations .

Organs of the office

  1. Office director: full-time head of office administration and representative of the office
  2. Official committee (supreme decision-making and decision-making body): it consists of the mayors of the municipalities belonging to the office and, depending on the population of the municipalities, a number of other members who are elected from the municipal councils

Overview of the offices

271 municipalities in Brandenburg are official, that is, they are united in a total of 52 offices to handle their administrative business (as of January 1, 2020).

Offices in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Offices in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are federal corporations (Section 125 (1) sentence 1 KV MV). Members are the official municipalities ( regional authorities ).

The official representative of the office is the head of office.

Types of offices

  1. Office with its own administration (as a rule)
  2. Office with a managing municipality (office uses the administration of an official city)
  3. Office without its own administration (administrative community with a non-official city)

Organs of the office

  1. Official committee (highest decision-making body and decision-making body)
  2. Head of office

(Legal basis: § 131 KV MV)

The official committee

Is the highest decision-making and decision-making body of the office. It consists of all official mayors and other members.

  • Municipalities with less than 500 inhabitants send their mayor to the official committee.
  • Municipalities with more than 500 to 1000 inhabitants send an additional member.
  • Municipalities with more than 1000 to 2000 inhabitants: two.
  • Municipalities with more than 2,000 to 2,500 inhabitants: three.
  • Municipalities with more than 2500 to 3000 inhabitants: four.
  • Municipalities with more than 3,000 to 3,500 inhabitants: five.
  • Municipalities over 3500 inhabitants: six.

Duties of the head of office

The head of office chairs the office committee (Section 138 (1) KV MV).

He leads the administration on a voluntary basis according to the principles and guidelines of the official committee and within the framework of the funds made available by him. Together with the office administration, he prepares the decisions of the office committee and implements them. (§ 138 Abs. 2 KV MV)

The head of office also carries out the tasks of the assigned sphere of activity (e.g. housing benefit). (§ 138 Abs. 4 KV MV) This is particularly important for offices with managing municipalities. Otherwise, warnings are due at z. B. Violation of the parking ban is void.


Amt Neuhaus : Here the term has been preserved in a municipality name in Lower Saxony . It lies east of the Elbe, belonged to the state of Hanover ( district of Lüneburg ), then to the GDR ( district of Hagenow ) and now to Lower Saxony (again district of Lüneburg).

Offices in Schleswig-Holstein

The legal basis of the official system in Schleswig-Holstein is the official order. According to this, the offices are corporations under public law, which serve to strengthen the self-administration of the municipalities belonging to the office. As a rule, their population should not be less than 8,000.

Task delegation

Since the change in the official regulations on March 22, 2012, a maximum of 5 from a catalog of 16 tasks may be transferred to the office (Section 5 (1)), and a transfer back is also possible on request (Section 5 (4)), provided that the overriding concerns not oppose the common good. Previously, the number of tasks assigned to the office was not limited. However, the Schleswig-Holstein State Constitutional Court ruled in February 2010 that such an unlimited transfer of tasks to the office is unconstitutional, as it opens up the possibility of "[...] that the offices develop into associations of municipalities as a result of the increasing transfer of self-administrative tasks by the municipalities , but for this case [...] it does not provide for the direct election of the members of the official committee [...] ”.


The office committee is the decision-making body of the office. According to § 9 AO, it includes the mayors of the municipalities belonging to the office as well as members elected by the municipal councils, the number of which depends on the number of inhabitants. This number is with a population of over

  • 1000 to 2000 one,
  • 2000 to 3000 two,
  • 3000 to 4000 three,
  • 4000 to 5000 four,
  • 5000 to 6000 five,
  • 6000 to 7000 six,
  • 7,000 to 8,000 seven

and then an additional one for every 2,000 additional residents. The members have a different number of votes, which also depends on the number of inhabitants. For every 250 inhabitants or part thereof, the members of the official committee for the municipality have a total of one vote. The total number of votes is divided equally among all members, with the remaining votes falling to the mayor. The office committee elects the head of office . He is the chairman of the office committee and judicial representative of the office. In the case of offices administered on a voluntary basis, he is also the head of administration, to whom the chief administrative officer reports. Offices with more than 8,000 inhabitants can determine that the administration is led by a full-time official director .

Offices since the 2008 administrative reform

Since the implementation of the administrative reform in 2008 there have been 87 offices in Schleswig-Holstein, the size of which is between 1,300 inhabitants ( Pellworm office ) and around 40,000 inhabitants ( Südtondern office ).

The aim of the administrative reform was to reduce the number of administrations. According to the Ministry of the Interior, this has succeeded: The number of administrations was reduced from 222 (2000) to 145 (2009).


There are two interdisciplinary offices in Schleswig-Holstein:

Registered cities in Schleswig-Holstein are:

There are also numerous examples of cities that have made administrative agreements with the surrounding offices but have retained their independence from offices.

See also

Local authorities:

Corporations under public law:

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Publisher: Landesportal Schleswig Holstein - Contents - The offices. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on September 18, 2016 ; accessed on September 18, 2016 .
  3. Rural community regulations for the province of Westphalia 1841 (PDF; 1.6 MB)
  4. Karl Heinrich Ludwig Pölitz : The European constitutions since 1789 up to the most recent time . 1832, p. 295 f . ( Online in Google Book Search).
  5. ^ District regulation for the province of Hanover (1884)
  6. Law and Ordinance Gazette for the State of Brandenburg Part I - No. 19 of December 21, 2007
  7. Legal basis: Section 132 (1) and (2) KV MV
  8. Online edition of the current version
  9. ^ Judgment of February 26, 2010, Az. LVerfG 1/09
  10. Map of the offices, municipalities and cities in Schleswig-Holstein (PDF; 840 kB) from the North Statistics Office, as of May 25, 2008
  11. Information from the Ministry of the Interior about administrative associations ( memento of January 24, 2012 in the Internet Archive )