||South Africa: Improving Monitoring for Better Service Delivery
||Friday, June 14, 2013
Public Institutions, Knowledge Management in Government
||Jun 14, 2013
“We need to do more to build a culture of continuous improvement as opposed to keeping on doing things in the same way because they have always been done that way,” said Chabane, who tabled his Budget Vote on Tuesday.
In order to address these challenges, Chabane said his department was engaged in a range of monitoring and evaluation capacity building initiatives, including managing national and provincial monitoring and evaluation forums, learning networks, developing guidelines and training courses for officials, and partnering with other countries to learn and share best practices.
The department has also partnered with the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA) and the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA) in order to build capacity for monitoring and evaluation.
Reacting to calls that the ministry needed to be given “teeth” to enable it to enforce its recommendations, Chabane said the department was continuing to explore this issue with other departments at the administrative centre of government, and would bring an initial policy document to the Standing Committee on Appropriations in the coming months.
He, however, warned that there was an already existing legal system for accountability and consequences for poor performance, as described in the Public Service Act and Public Finance Management Act.
“In line with the Constitution, this legal system emphasises the accountability of the Executive Authorities and Accounting Officers of departments to Parliament. If Parliament calls departments to account for how they are acting on findings, it will help the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) to ensure that its findings are acted upon.”
He cited the example of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), where the number of days to process a social grant has decreased from 30 days in 2009 to five days in 2012.
There had also been improvements in the time the police react to calls for assistance, the time taken to fill vacancies and to finalise disciplinary cases. In education, successes have been seen in the number of learners matriculating, and in health, improvements in its services.
Municipal Assessment Tool
Chabane said work would continue to constantly improve monitoring.
He said they would pilot the implementation of the Municipal Assessment Tool (MAT), focusing on both the quality of generic management practices such as planning, human resources, financial management, community engagement and governance, as well as the quality of basic service delivery in 10 municipalities.
The pilot, according to Chabane, will inform the refinement of the assessment tool, so that assessments of municipalities can start taking place more widely from next year.
“We hope that once embedded in the system of local government, this will go a long way towards laying a firm foundation for sustained improvement in the performance of municipalities.”
One of the intentions of the municipal assessments is to lead and drive a process of addressing issues raised by the Auditor General, and Chabane hoped that the these assessments will result in improved audit reports overtime.
In the past financial year, 156 national and provincial departments participated in the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) assessments. This represents a substantial increase over the 103 departments which participated in the 2011-12 MPAT assessment cycle.
Chabane attributed the increased level of participation to the fact that many departments have indicated that they find the assessment process useful.
National Development Plan
With regards to the adoption of the National Development Plan (NDP) last year by President Jacob Zuma, DPME will share a long-term strategic framework within which more detailed planning can take place
The crucial challenge, Chabane said, was to ensure that medium and short-term planning is situated within the context of the long-term agenda of the NDP, which provides a road-map for tackling the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
In order to achieve this, in collaboration with the National Planning Commission Secretariat, the ministry is currently in the process of translating the NDP priorities into the 2014-2019 Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).
The MTSF will be positioned as the first 5-year building block of the NDP, and will inform the new five-year strategic plans of national and provincial departments.
This, according to Chabane, will result in a clear line of sight between the actions and targets in the NDP and the actions and targets in the plans of individual departments, which in turn will ensure that the NDP is thoroughly and systematically implemented.
It will also ensure that progress with the key actions and targets in the NDP will be regularly reported on to Parliament, through the annual reporting process.
Chabane said there is currently a high correlation between the priorities in the NDP and the current 12 priority outcomes.
“Many of the indicators and targets are consistent and overlap with the current delivery agreements. This correlation will enable us to maintain continuity in the planning and monitoring and evaluation processes of government.
“The draft MTSF will be submitted to the July Cabinet Lekgotla for consideration and finalised for submission to the new Cabinet for consideration after the 2014 national elections,” he told MPS.
The department will this year carry out 16 evaluations in this current financial year. The department has been allocated R192.7 million for the 2013/14 financial year. Of this, R109 million will be spent on compensation of employees, R75 million on goods and services, and R9 million on payments for capital assets.