Activities 2023

The Council of Ministers & Accountability of Non-Ministerial Public institutions and Commissions: Adherence to Transparency Principles and Report Publishing

The Council of Ministers & Accountability of Non-Ministerial Public institutions and Commissions: Adherence to Transparency Principles and Report Publishing

The Council of Ministers & Accountability of Non-Ministerial Public institutions and Commissions:

Adherence to Transparency Principles and Report Publishing


Ramallah- The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity - AMAN held a session to discuss a draft report entitled: "The Status of Accountability of Non-Ministerial Public Institutions of the Council of Ministers".  The meeting was held in participation with a number of representatives from non-ministerial public institutions, regulatory and human rights institutions.  The draft report aims to examine the extent by which officials of these bodies are being held accountable for their decisions and management concerning public affair; and to also look into the efficiency of this accountability in preventing and detecting corruption in these institutions.

With that in mind, the discussion and report also aimed to come up with practical recommendations for decision-makers to support the abovementioned goals. In other words, to adopt measures that will strengthen the accountability system and formal control over decisions of key officials of these bodies as well as measures that prevent impunity.

Mr. Jehad Harb, AMAN’s Head Researcher opened the session by stating that the importance of the report lies in its contribution to providing recommendations to enhance political integrity and activate official oversight in the government system of those responsible for decisions related to public affairs. He pointed out that the report’s initial findings showed that the accountability system in this regard is weak in addition to the government’s adoption of a non-open policy, which also weakened social accountability.


Only 9 Institutions out of 36 Publish their Official Reports on their Websites

Ahmed Elayyan, researcher of the report, pointing out that there are 36 non-ministerial public institutions under the jurisdiction of the Council of Ministers. These institutions vary according to the nature of the legal basis by which they were established. Some were established by law, while others by law-by-decision, or a presidential decree or decision; whereas others are headed by a minister in accordance with competence of the institution, while some are affiliated to the Council of Ministers in addition to one institution that is directly subordinate to the Prime Minister. Elayyan also mentioned that only four out of the 36 institutions have submitted their annual reports to the Council.  Moreover, only nine institutions have published their reports on their websites, while 27 others did not publish their annual reports at all. This indicates the Council of Ministers’ lack of follow-up regarding institutions under its supervision and hence there is an absence of accountability all together.  Moreover, reports of the State Audit and Administrative Control Bureau (SAACB) indicated that many of the institutions it audited did not fully implement the recommendations presented to them.


Main conclusions:

  • Appointment of the majority of these institutions’ heads was done without a transparent competition that ensures the respect for the principle of equal opportunity, merit and fairness.
  • These appointments were carried out with no clear mechanism criteria for appointing an executive director/ general director, where some were appointed through the Council of Ministers, or through the board of directors, while others were appointed by presidential decrees.
  • Some legislations do not include legal texts specifying the subordination of these institutions to the Council of Ministers, or instructions regarding methods and importance of the reporting system. This is due to the absence of clear legal standards in drafting legislations for regulating the work of nonministerial institutions and bodies. However, some legislations explicitly stipulate that periodic reports must be submitted every three months, and some legislations have adopted the annual and semi-annual reports system.


Report Submission and Publishing is a Necessity for Institutions and Commissions Affiliated with the Council of Ministers

The report provided a number of recommendations…most important of these are:

  • All institutions and commissions under the jurisdiction of the Council of Ministers must submit periodic reports to the Council within the due time limits assigned, and to also publish these reports on time.
  • To issue the Right to Access Information Law so the the Palestinian public and institutions are able to see the performance and access reports of these institutions, which will help citizens to participate in the formulation of public policy and define national priorities. It will also contribute to their involvement in holding the government and public institutions accountable through social accountability.
  • The Council of Ministers must amend the legal framework governing many public institutions and bodies requiring them to submit periodic and annual progress reports to the Council of Ministers as well as to the publishing of these reports.
  • To activate the Council of Ministers accountability systems by referring reports submitted by the heads of public bodies to the competent body for review; to provide comments and inquiries to officials of public institutions.
  • The Council of Ministers must follow up on the implementation of the SAACB’s recommendations provided to these institutions.
  • The Council of Ministers must develop a methodology for report preparation and submission, such as providing a unified guide to help officials in this regard.
  • The Council of Ministers must conduct joint evaluation sessions for institutions participating in national sectoral plans to address the underlying causes for the ineffective implementation of these plans.

Various Comments & Responses

Engineer. Haider Hajja, General Director of the Palestine Standards Institution (PSI), said that there are two types of institutions, one that is independent, i.e. governed by an independent board of directors that sees to that, and the other is directly affiliated to the Council of Ministers. Hajja also confirmed that the conditions for filling positions are detailed in the organizational structure and that the work process is fully controlled through the employee’s job description form that it is approved by the Council of Ministers.

As for report submission, Hajja stated that the (PSI) submits quarterly reports based on performance indicators of its work to the board of directors. It also submits an annual report as required by law to the Council of Ministers for approval before it is submitted to the President.

Riyad Ad-deesi, a representative from the Water Sector Regulatory Council, stated that the role of the Council of Ministers is not only about accountability, but also about follow up and support of these institutions, which is ultimately in the public’s interest.

While Ayman Shaheen, a representative of the SAACB, pointed out that the Bureau’s duty is to exercise its oversight and auditing role of institutions, including those affiliated to the Council of Ministers; emphasizing that the Bureau adopts international standards in this regard. He added: “the Bureau publishes its reports that are also submitted to the Council and the President”. In addition, the Bureau, through specialized units, follows up on the institutions that have adopted its recommendations especially in the absence of a legislative council. He also noted that there is tangible improvement in this regard by public institutions, hoping that the system of activating accountability will include a wider range of public institutions.

Kamel Al-Rimawi, General Director of Complaints at the Council of Ministers, pointed out that the complaints are divided into statistical, analytical, and final correction.  He said that in order to process, document and address complaints properly, they must be categorized as such. Al-Rimawi explained that a complaint is accepted or rejected only in accordance with the law, and or a stipulated policy.  This clearly includes citizens' complaints concerning services provided by government departments.

Mr. Bahaa Awadallah from the Ministry of Higher Education pointed out that it is important to note that institutions differ in their structure from one another and hence one cannot generalize when addressing issues. However, he praised the importance of true partnership starting from the planning cycle.

Dr. Azmi Shuaibi, Advisor to the Board of Directors of the AMAN Coalition on Anti-Corruption Affairs, explained that the aim of the report is to activate the accountability system applied on institutions under the jurisdiction of the Council of Ministers in its capacity as the competent and supervisory body.  He also said that it is of great importance to highlight concepts such as transparency and integrity through daily practices in order to reinforce and enhance these concepts at work. This must be stipulated in the governing law in order to facilitate the publication of reports submitted to the supervising authority, while ensuring that they are objective, professional and regular.

Dr. Shuaibi stressed that the report's basic recommendation is emphasize the importance of holding general elections "legislative and presidential”, hence restoring the natural order of the government system. This will enable citizens to choose their representatives in political institutions, and restore balance to the political system through a legislative council that enjoys popular legitimacy and hence can exercise its supervisory, oversight and accountability roles on public institutions.

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