Saudi Arabia: The New Saudi Arabian Decision-Making Support Center

Last Updated: 8 June 2016
Article by Zaid Mahayni
Most Read Contributor in Saudi Arabia, November 2018

Introduction

Pursuant to Decision No. 337 dated 16 May 2016, the Saudi Arabian Council of Ministers approved the creation of the 'Decision-Making Support Center' (the "Center"). The Center will be headquartered in Riyadh and will report directly to the Royal Court.

Duties of the Center

The Center will be responsible for supporting governmental decision-making processes in different areas, using scientific and practical methods. The Center will:

  1. monitor, analyze the impact of, and suggest ways to address, events, developments, changes, trends, and issues, at the domestic, regional and international levels;
  2. prepare forecasts in different fields, as well as plans to deal with different hypotheses;
  3. prepare studies on impediments to proper development and suggest plans to address those impediments;
  4. assist in the provision of information to the Council of Ministers, the Committee for Political and Security Affairs, the Committee for Economic and Development Affairs;
  5. conduct research on any assigned matters; and
  6. assist in the education of the public around governmental decisions.

Towards the accomplishment of its role, the Center may:

  1. establish partnerships with public agencies, as well as research and consultancy centers and firms;
  2. conduct research and studies on the various topics of interest to the Center;
  3. conduct public opinions polls around different topics, as well as around proposed or enacted governmental decisions;
  4. create channels of liaison with the public, either through traditional or new media forums;
  5. establish and hold a share in corporations;
  6. request information from public agencies;
  7. create databases; and/or
  8. organize workshops and meetings.

Services to the Private Sector

The Center may offer its services to the private sector against fees.

Internal Governance

The Center shall be managed by a board of directors (the "Board") composed of at least five members ("Directors"). Directors must be well experienced and will be appointed by Royal Order.

The Board shall have the right to:

  1. determine the Center's internal structure;
  2. propose, and submit for the approval of the Chair of the Council of Ministers, the Center's financial and administrative policies;
  3. establish the technical policies, processes, rules, and standards to be followed by the Center;
  4. establish an operational plan for the Center;
  5. establish the rules for the delivery of services by the Center, as well as the corresponding fees; and
  6. approve donations offered to the Center.

The Center's Executive Director

The Board shall appoint an executive director, who shall:

  1. recruit and oversee the Center's staff;
  2. approve expenditures within the Center's budget and approved financial policies;
  3. implement the resolutions of the Board;
  4. propose, for the Board's approval, the Center's plans, rules and policies; and
  5. present periodic reports to the Board on the Center's activities and achievements.

Relationship with the Center's Staff

The relationship between the Center and its staff shall be governed by the Labor Law (as opposed to the Civil Service Law). The Center's staff shall also be entitled to the benefits and protections of the Social Insurance Law.

Training

The Center must create a program to train staff in the specializations of the Center. The Center must report to the Royal Court, every year, on the achievements of the said program and on further steps that may be taken to improve its performance.

Conclusion

The creation of the Center should contribute to the achievement of the Vision 2030 national development plan. It remains to be seen however what specific topics and issues will be addressed and prioritized by the Center. It will also be interesting to see who the principal clients of the Center will be, especially that the Center may take assignments from the private sector.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Zaid Mahayni
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