Recently the Committee for State Reform has earmarked also the system of the so-called background institutions maintained by ministries, taking tasks over from them or doing tasks commissioned by ministries during the course of the transformation of the set of governmental organisations. The paper attempts to outline and typify those organisations. It states that the problems attributed to the background institutions are mostly related to the structural traits of our political system, and partly to the specificities of the bureaucratic operation of the central organisations of public administration maintaining them. Presumably the planned management reforms would not be able to eliminate them either. It is the institutes engaged in research that are the most endangered among the background institutions, though they could perform several tasks that are needed, such as the impact study of legal norms.