The Civil Service and Independent Agencies

Saudi Arabia Table of Contents

The nine-member Civil Service Board, responsible to the Council of Ministers, exercised formal authority over the employees of all ministries, government organizations, and autonomous agencies. It presided over the Civil Service Bureau, which implemented the decisions and directives of the Civil Service Board that pertained to grade classification, pay rates, recruitment and personnel needs, and personnel evaluation. Beginning in the early 1970s, the number of civil service employees in Saudi Arabia increased dramatically as the government expanded its social services. By 1992 an estimated 400,000 persons were government employees, including about 100,000 foreign nationals.

During the 1970s, the number of autonomous agencies also expanded. Although most of these agencies were under the administrative auspices of a particular ministry, each agency had its own budget and operated with considerable independence. Several agencies, including the General Audit Bureau, the Grievances Board, the Investigation and Control Board, and the Organization for Public Services and Discipline, were not attached to any particular ministry. The latter three agencies were responsible, respectively, for hearing complaints of misconduct by civil service employees, investigating complaints against government officials, and dispensing disciplinary action against civil servants judged guilty of malfeasance in office.

Civil servants were classified either as government officials (professionals who comprised three-quarters of total government employees in 1992) and lower-paid employees. All civil servants were ranked according to grade, and advancement depended on merit and seniority. Training was provided within each ministry and at the Institute of Public Administration, an autonomous government agency with its main training center in Riyadh, and at branches in Jiddah and Ad Dammam.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress