Qatar’s government structure includes ministries, supreme councils and other government agencies. Qatar’s institutions of public administration are evolving rapidly and striving to meet the needs of citizens and customers of institutional services. About 90,000 employees, including Qataris and expatriates, work in the government and other public sector institutions.
The system of government in Qatar is based on the separation and collaboration of powers. The executive authority is vested in the Emir and the Heir Apparent, who are assisted by the Council of Ministers as specified by the Constitution, while the legislative authority is vested in the Advisory Council.
The Emir is the Head of State and represents the country internally, externally and in all international relations. He is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, which he supervises with the assistance of Defense Council, set under his direct authority. The judicial authority is vested in courts of law; and court judgments are proclaimed in the name of the Emir.
The Emir is assisted by the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet, Prime Minister and six supreme councils. The Emir appoints the prime minister and ministers, accepts their resignations and relieves them from their posts by Emiri Decrees. He entrusts the tasks of each ministry to a minister or the Prime Minister in accordance with the Emiri Decree designating the appointment.
The Prime Minister chairs the sessions of the Council of Ministers and supervises work coordination between different ministries with the vision of achieving unity and integration among all government branches. He also signs the resolutions issued by the Council.
The cabinet is formed by an Emiri Decree based on the proposal of the Prime Minister. The responsibilities and authorities of the ministers and government departments are specified according to the law. The Council of Ministers – being the supreme executive authority in the country – is mandated to monitor all internal and external affairs within its jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law.
Ministries and other government agencies are responsible for executing public policies and programs relevant to them.
History of Government
Constitutional development in Qatar generally keeps pace with the country’s economic growth. The first provisional constitution was issued in 1970 before independence, and was amended in 1972 after independence, to cope with the requirements of the new phase. In 1999, free elections were held to form the Central Municipal Council for the first time in the history of Qatar.
In 2008, the government underwent restructuring and moved toward a ministry portfolio-based approach, which made ministries accountable for specific policies. This approach put the focus on outcomes, increased cross-ministry cooperation and reduced fragmentation in decision-making.
Institutional Development and Modernization
Qatar needs strong public sector institutions to reach the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) for social progress, human development, a sound and diversified economy and a sustainable environment. Achieving these goals requires institutional and organizational capacity building, efficient and transparent delivery of public services, fruitful public‑private cooperation and partnerships, a vibrant climate for business and a larger space for civil society.
In order to fulfill these requirements, public sector development and modernization will focus on developing the capabilities of state institutions and strengthening their collaboration amongst each other. Building the foundations of the future state and ensuring high levels of government performance will require extensive collaboration and a culture of teamwork among line ministries and agencies at all levels — ministers department heads and section heads — and strong leadership. Critical in moving the public sector forward are the support of top leadership and greater power for middle management.
Qatar has been studying the best practices in other countries that have successfully modernized their public sectors. Countries with modern institutions and excellent public sector performance exhibit similar characteristics: a commitment to continuous improvement, enduring dedication to change, sustained mobilization of resources and the ability to learn from mistakes.
Modern, well-developed public institutions have robust processes. They focus on human capital development, practice performance management and deliver public services consistently with efficiency and effectiveness, meeting the expectations of stakeholders. They show a high degree of transparency and citizen engagement and clear accountabilities, and they set higher and bolder annual targets.
By employing benchmarking, situation analysis, diagnostics and focus areas for transformation, the government has identified drivers of modernization—that is, the factors that influence performance and the need to modernize which serve as measures of institutional success. Within the public sector these include:
The State of Qatar has also been focusing on the levers that institutions must apply to modernize, including:
Policy and planning
Budget and financial management
Human resources development
Assessing Qatar’s Needs
What has worked in other parts of the world may not be applicable to Qatar. This is why Qatar has created a situation analysis to paint an overview of the public sector and identify Qatar-specific opportunities for modernization along the levers and linked to the benchmarking outcomes. It drew on a review of documents on institutional development from previous work of the General Secretariat of Development Planning and Cabinet departments; responses to a public sector performance questionnaire sent to all ministries, agencies and supreme councils; and a public sector employee survey that assessed employees’ engagement with their work and willingness and readiness to change.
This was followed by a diagnostic analysis to examine the gap between best practices and Qatar’s current state. It analyzed internal and external factors for modernization and defined maturity stages over the next few years.
Institutional development and modernization of Qatar’s public sector will require a phased, prolonged effort to achieve well-planned structural change. To measure public sector institutional performance, a model has been constructed using the QNV 2030 pillars. Desired outcomes serve as the starting point in developing a set of indicators for measuring how the country is affected by changes in public sector performance.
Improved service delivery in Qatar depends on credible, client-focused and capable institutions that deliver timely and accountable services to citizens and respond to their concerns. Continuously searching for ways to make institutions more efficient will strengthen Qatar in prosperous times and buffer it against shocks in recessionary times.
In order to achieve this, Qatar will require an unwavering commitment to modernizing all aspects of government and improving all sectors and areas of society.
National Development Strategy 2011-2016 is available for download.