Minister Collins Chabane on performance and delivery agreements approach


28 Sep 2010


Journalist:  When you say Cabinet will recommend remedial action, what kind of remedial action would Cabinet be able to recommend and who would make the final decision? Would it be the President with whom the Minister has signed the actual agreement, is he the person who would make the final decision? Would Cabinet and the President then be able to recommend as remedial action that someone be dare I say remove from their post for none performance?

Journalist:  You mentioned that there are likely changes ahead during the implementation phase, could you please give a bit more information on that.

Minister Collins Chabane: With regard to the first question. We have said over and over again that the process of monitoring and evaluation is to provide strategic information for the various Government agencies or Departments to be able to improve on the weaknesses which they identify. The submission of the reports to Cabinet is for Cabinet to have a collective understanding or view, as you would see that no Government action or Government Department or Government work should be handled by one Government Departmental Minister without the involvement of the other. We have to brief Cabinet from time to time; Cabinet is going to receive reports. Obviously there are issues which Cabinet may need to comment on or recommend what type of actions needs to be taken as some of the issues might be cross cutting, it might not necessarily be resident in those Departments which are in a particular outcome. Therefore for that purpose Cabinet is a correct forum for it to be able to interrogate those issues. That does not take away the rule of the President in his responsibility of the head of the executive and the fact that he is the one who signed the one to one performance agreement with the various Ministers assisted by the Deputy President, so that process remains. As you know we say here in the input that the President will have an opportunity outside the Cabinet process to sit with each and every coordinating Minister of any Department as he so wish to work into the details of the performance of that specific Department which might not necessarily a Cabinet process. But Cabinet as a collective body of minds and leadership of Government will have the responsibility to assist in that regard.

This is the first time we implement this type of system and obviously as we begin to do work you may as well discover that the basis of our data is not as accurate as we thought and therefore we may need some changes here and there. The changes won’t be that significant because a lot of work has been based on scientific information which is available at our disposal and the disposal of the various Departments. So we anticipate that as we begin to implement you might identify areas where if you continue to implement in your original plan you might miss your target or you might also create unintended consequences. Therefore the process of adjustments as we move along becomes important but I just mentioned the changes should not be in such a way that it defeats the original basis on which such a delivery agreement has been made.

Let me also add at this point that the delivery agreements, the content in the delivery agreements will almost be the same with the contents in the program of action. So after the delivery agreement has been done we are busy working on the program of action almost the program of actions of all the 12 outcomes are ready.  But we can’t publish them until they have been confirmed by the coordinating Ministers after they have signed the delivery agreements so the next step is that once they have signed the Ministers will come back to us to say look your format in the program of action does not correspond with the information we have in terms of our delivery agreements. Once there is an agreement between us and them we are able to publish that, so that would be the next phase which would be, it may run simultaneously with the signing of the delivery agreements depending on which set of outcomes are dealt with first. But we hope that we should by the time we are finish the delivery agreement signing, we should be at a point where the program of action almost in the entirety is likely to be completed. 

As we stand now all the delivery agreements, the content of the delivery agreements have been agreed upon, what remains is for the signing. Say for two areas that is the outcomes which deal with the economy and the outcomes which deals with infrastructure. Those is precisely because as you would recall that the growth path has not be finalised, once the special Cabinet meeting has taken place we will see to what extend it will impact on the delivery agreements as agreed and the program of action of action as drafted for now. So those are likely to be delayed because of that aspect that he President announced that there is going to be a special Cabinet meeting to discuss around the economy. Because of the impact on that we think it would be prudent for us to wait for that process to finish so that we are able to see if there is any adjustment that needs to be made. But as for now almost all of them the 12 of them have been agreed.

Journalist:  Can you just bare with me I am trying to simplify this in my mind. These agreements were signed between the Minister and the President if I understand this correctly. Surely by virtue of Ministers’ appointment there are meant to achieve targets why do we need to officialise it? By virtue of the fact someone has been elected say being appointed Minister of Housing whose job it is to provide housing, now we have an agreement to say he provides housing. Surely as Minister of Housing he should be providing housing anyways. So I am trying to understand the basis, I am going back to the absolute minimum basics. What is the purpose of this why do we need this, surely by virtue of their position they have already agreed to fulfil the mandate of that position.

Journalist:  Minister obviously these performance contracts; the aim is to improve service delivery. So when can South Africans expect to experience this improved services, what timelines are we looking at? Secondly you have dealt with this in the past but what will happen to Ministers and Departments who don’t deliver?

Journalist:  I just want to know from the Minister as the Ministers, we have now heard about the coordinating Ministers, they almost service cluster groups, now what if one or two in a cluster don’t perform, will there be some kind of peer review mechanism in the system similar to what we all know in HR terms as a 180 degree or balance score card of input, I just want to know if there is that kind of part of the system.

Journalist:  Minister I just wanted to check the cycle of this evaluation of Ministers, their performance and so on, is it going be six months every year because we are almost finishing the second year of the term of this Government.

Minister Collins Chabane:  Let me start with the last one, we have indicated that we are going to provide regular feedback both to Departments and to the President in the form of reports of what we see is happening. We said we are going to use  not only, Departments will do their own thing, we will also be utilising independent institutions which can assist us to collect scientific data so that at least we reduce the level of dispute about what is correct and what is not correct. So there will be regular feedback almost on a quarterly basis we should be able to brief the President and the Departments on what’s happening, this is what we have picked up on the ground and these are the trends in terms of the issues we are dealing with, so there will be that regular feedback throughout this as we go along. As we said by next month the President will be taking his first set of feedback reports from Departments as he meet the individual coordinating Ministers responsible for that. It is part of that process because as we said in the statement Government has been working to implement this targets which have been set out. So the changes if you want to expect changes in terms of service delivery, there are areas where they might have moved faster than the rest. For example in the areas of education and health there might have been delays because the strikes, because it had significant impact on it, some of the targets which have been set and some of the issues which were supposed to be dealt with in those areas. So there are likely to be areas which might have been delayed but Government Departments have been working according to the plan as set out. What we are doing is formalise it, put it in a format which will be easy t access, put it in a format which will make it easy for us or for all the role-players or stakeholders or the people who service, that they are able to receive information in a format which is user friendly. We should be able to do that, there will be a continuous review and feedback, there is implementation which is taking place, we are not waiting for three years or five years, implementation have been taking place all along. I think when the Departments begin to give formal reports it will become clearer that in some areas they are beginning to make progress and in some areas there are no progress being made and they will be able to indicate what type of remedial action are suppose to be done in those areas.

With regards to what will happen if somebody does not perform. You see the danger which we make is in most cases we focus too much attention to individual Ministers, we are not looking at the system as a whole and as we explained the system you begin to understand that it’s not necessarily an individual person. We have changed the manner in which Cabinet work has been organised, changing the cluster system as it normally used to be, introducing a new system completely of working together. It’s a partnership; the coordinating ministers are just coordinating stakeholders in a partnership to deliver a particular thing. We are saying the delivery agreements to a large extent will be able to identify what rule each and every stakeholder is supposed to contribute for example you might find in one outcome you have about eight Ministers who are part of that outcome. Each and every one of them will have a rule in terms of the align function, they will have a rule to contribute towards the achievement of that outcome, therefore they will be measured according to that. It’s not that the Minister sitting on top will then measure the rest, no, it’s a coordinating Minister to coordinate the rest of Ministers and other stakeholders because it’s not only Ministers, some of them are actually none Government, they are outside Government, things like Parastatal, some of them are institutions which are completely outside Government but which we are pulling together because they are critical in delivering a particular agreement. I think as Departments and Ministers sign their delivery agreements with their stakeholders they will be able to tell you this stakeholder, this is their role and we hope that as we go along those things will improve.

I have been at pains all the time to separate the prerogative of the President to appoint and disappoint Ministers or Deputy Ministers wherever as because that got not much bearing on the work we are doing, it can happen even without the delivery agreement or without the delivery agreement. So that is a separate process, it may be influenced by this process as part of the process but it’s not solely dependent on this process because that would be to interfere with the constitutional power of the President to exercise his responsibility as head of Government or as head of executive.

The purpose of the agreements, you know all of us have been appointed to do a particular thing every time when you get employed or apply for a job you say I am going to be a journalist and I am going to write stories. I don’t think they can just rely on your saying that you are going to write stories, there needs to be a way in which you are targets are set, the way in which you are able to be measured as to whether you are succeeding or not succeeding.

If for example you identity that the problem might be training, lack of skills, lack of capacity you immediately implement a remedial solution to try and find capacity in that institution to make it work better. So the delivery agreements and all the performance agreements and the program of action is meant for us to be able on a continues basis to identity and measure performance not only of individuals of Departments, institutions and of Government as a whole so that we see if we are going in the right direction or not. Not for us to be surprised 15 years down the line that you know we have set ourselves to create a better health for all but we not moved an inch and we make our statement in our policy documents that whilst we have done so much in the past, but the outcomes which we achieve are limited. There’s so much access in terms of health there is so much access in terms of education but the actual content which comes out of that process has not been what we intended it to be and that’s why this system was introduced. Now let me repeat something slightly we started with the performance agreements which was signed between the Ministers and the President. Now those have been signed those performance agreements with each and every Minister between the President and each and every Minister. These are the sets of things which I will be held accountable for these are the things which I promise to deliver in my term of office and so on and so on. We then took those and worked them out in what we call a delivery agreement now delivery agreement is not only by the Minister the Minister co-ordinates a wide range of stakeholders and participants in delivering a particularly thing. So there need to b ea partnership so a delivery agreement is a partnership agreement between all the role players who are suppose to deliver a particular outcome.

Minister Collins Chabane: A performance agreement is an agreement between the President and the relevant Minister. We make a point that after the delivery agreements have been finalised and the program of action has been set up we are busy negotiating with the DPSA that is the Department of Public Service and Administration and the Public Service Commission. Now the performance agreements of HOD’s and all senior managers and they have to be measured also according to what the Department has promised to do and what are the issues which we are suppose to be dealing with particularly as we deal with when we enter the phase of efficiency to try and build and efficient administration across the board that will become critical for us to identify what are the gaps and what role is everybody suppose to play. So the accountability won’t only end up with Ministers it goes to cascade down, everybody has got a role to play employed by Government will be expected to play their part because if they don’t then the target which we have set ourselves are not going to be reached.

Journalist: You say it’s not about individual ministries, it’s about groups of people working together but we have seen in the past that when individual Ministers are responsible for certain Departments and things go wrong in those Departments they haven’t necessarily been held publicly accountable by Government. And there are many examples I can talk about Eskom, we can talk about what happened in the Health Department a few years ago. Some of these are politically loaded comments, I understand that but let’s for argument sake say something goes drastically well in a Department. Who is then responsible, is it the person who is the Minister, is it the eight Ministers working together? Surely the point of accountability is to be able to point at the person or the very small select group of people, not necessarily the whole cluster and say these are the people who should have got it right and these are the people who didn’t. By making it such a big groups a sort of collective responsibility; aren’t you actually making it more difficult to make people accountable? Thanks.

Journalist: You mentioned that there would be quarterly reports. Would these reports be publicly available or would they just go to the relevant people, or in other words will the people know how the Ministers are being assessed as well as the people down the chain have been assessed.

Journalist: Minister last week you were speaking at the Progressive Business Forum and spoke about the cluster system having affectively been scrapped. How do Ministers meet and what form does the new partnership take. And what has happened to the economic cluster ministries, can you tell us more about how that system works.

Journalist: I want to know the HOD’s and the senior managers in Departments; do they sign their delivery agreements with the Minister or with the President?

Journalist: Given the massive increase in corruption identified in public service by the Public Service Commission, Minister could you tell me how Ministers are going to be able to rely on the information coming from their Departments which must be critical in these quarterly reports?

Minister Collins Chabane: Let me tackle the two political ones and allow Shaun to deal with the administrative ones for now so that he doesn’t come here and doesn’t say anything. Now with regard to accountability, I hope I could find a simple way to say it. All Ministers have signed individual performance agreement with the President for which they will be held accountable now that is the individual accountability but we then say the second level is a number of these outcomes can’t be delivered by a single Minister. You need a cluster of Departments or institutions to be able to deliver that outcome, now there’s the delivery agreement is a partnership agreement of all the role players who are suppose to deliver on that outcome. Take for example in education, in most instances education are not responsible for building for schools but schools are very critical for the education environment. Another Department like Public Works or any other institution provides the infrastructure around which schools should be able to function. Now you can’t hold the Minister of Education for if they are not responsible for building classrooms for lack of classrooms or classrooms which are not renovated or something like that. For education to be able to undertaken in a conducive environment you need Public Works or any other institution to provide the infrastructure so for the provision of infrastructure if that infrastructure provision is under a Minister in that agreement with the President that Minister’s agreement would have said, I will provide, make sure that I provide infrastructure for conducive learning. So when you come to a cluster what you call the delivery forum, you say from our side this is the contribution we are going to make, so when you meet with other role players you are able to say look in terms of our mandate, in terms of the budget we have we will be able to deliver classrooms at this pace, renovate classrooms at this pace. So if that doesn’t happen it’s not the Minister of Education who should be held accountable and it’s not the whole group but the whole delivery forum encourages a spirit of co-operative governance. Encourages the spirit of partnerships and encourages the spirit of working together so that they are able to move forward. So yes there will be a collective responsibility, you would remember even the constitution says, Ministers both individually and collectively accountable to Parliament, so that collective accountability does not remove the individual accountability to Parliament in terms of the constitution. So the delivery agreement and the performance agreement are coached almost around the same system of operation. The next point I would like to address is with regard to whether the cluster system has been scrapped and what replace it. We said when we started we started with the five priorities ultimately ended up with 12 outcomes. We then said let’s look as to whether Government is positioned, is structured in such a way that it would be efficient for it to be able to deliver on these services. The cluster system for example you’ve got a social cluster in the social cluster you will have the Department of Health, Social Development, Department of Education and probably the Department of Human Settlements and so on. If you want to deliver on these outcomes grouped like that are those ministries or Departments positioned sufficient enough to respond to the challenges that we face. Everybody we spoke to and especially when we begin to practise it became clear that it’s not appropriate. For example if you have to deal with education whilst social development might be important to deal with the issues related to social development on the education sphere but it’s more appropriate for the Minister of Education to spend more time with MEC’s and HOD’s in that Department to deal with issues related to education. That is how it has been shaped and if you begin to see the details of the changes which are going to take place as people sign the delivery agreements you are going to realise the difference between the cluster system and the delivery forums which we are implementing. It doesn’t replace the Cabinet system, the Cabinet committee system, these are implementation forums not necessarily mainly to do policy they may initiate policy because they are practically involved in the process and raise a question that we think we need a policy change in this area but it’s not their responsibility to develop a policy. The implementation part will be dealt with by the delivery forums the policy to the extent that it impacts on the work they are suppose to do or a recommendation they can make to make policy changes which are suppose to respond to the challenges which they face on the ground. The policy aspects remain a Cabinet matter and we don’t want to confuse the implementation and policy implementation because once you do that you are going to lose focus on the implementation which is our key driving are with regard to this thing. I will ask Shaun to deal with some questions.

Shaun Phillips: I would like to answer the question which was posed regarding the performance agreements of senior managers and HOD’s as the Minister indicated the President has signed performance agreements with each of the Ministers those were signed in April and those performance agreements between the President and the Ministers indicated how each of the Ministers will be contributed to the 12 outcomes which Government has prioritised. In turn the Ministers are signing performance agreements with their HOD’s or DG’s and it cascades down to the system where HOD’s and DG’s sign performance agreements with the senior managers which report to them. So the key content in the performance agreement between the President and the Ministers will cascade down into the performance agreements of the HOD’s, DG’s and senior managers. The delivery agreements are something very different the delivery agreements are not signed by the President they are signed by a group of Ministers and provincial MEC’s and sometimes external stakeholders and they are really a delivery plan for how an outcome is going to be achieved. If you look at the 12 outcomes that we have all of them require more than one Department or institution to work together even in area like Basic Education or Health the outcome isn’t delivered by the Minister of Basic Education or Minister of Health alone, as you know we have in terms of the constitution we have three spheres of Government and the constitution spells out roles and responsibilities of the various spheres and we have concurrent functions which are particularly the responsibility of provinces and municipalities and partially the responsibility of National Government. So there’s a need for a plan to achieve an outcome like improved basic health to be negotiated between all the different partners including the Minister of Health and the MEC’s for Health on provincial level. So delivery agreement is different to a performance agreement it’s a negotiated agreement between the partners who need to work together to achieve an outcome it’s not an individual performance management mechanism as is the case with the performance agreement.

I would also like to answer the question on how will Minister rely on information from their Departments. As the Minister indicated one of our roles as the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation is to collect data on the achievement of the outcomes from a wide variety of sources, there are various organisations in society who are doing research and collecting information on issues which are in the 12 outcomes such as health and education and we will be collecting all of that information from such institutions. Using that to triangulate the reports that we will be receiving from the Departments to check the validity of the data the Government itself is producing. Thank you.

Journalist: This question was asked before; will we know the outcome of the quarterly reports? Thank you.

Shaun Phillips: As the Minister indicated the key information including all the indicators and targets from the delivery agreements are being collated into the program of action which is going to be publicly available and posted on the Presidency website. The monitoring system for the delivery agreements and the program of action is a quarterly reporting system where the forums which are co-ordinating the various outcomes will produce quarterly reports which will be send to the Department of Performance Monitoring Evaluation and from there submitted to Cabinet committees and Cabinet. Those quarterly reports on each of the 12 outcomes will also be summarised into quarterly reports against the program of action which will be available on the Presidency’s website. So the answer is yes the quarterly reports will be publicly available. Thank you.

Media briefing ends


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