Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR)

Standing Committee on Appropriations

22 October 2012
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered the draft Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) on the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). The Committee’s primary responsibility was to monitor spending, including that of the first quarter of 2012/13 as well as comment on key issues that arose from engagements with the Department during the course of the year and provide recommendations. The draft report outlined applicable legislation and the committee’s role, gave background to the mandate of the Department, noted the strategic priorities and objectives as well as the performance of the Department. The report considered the Government’s midterm review before ending with conclusions and observations and recommendations.

The Department had been allocated a final appropriation of R96.2m of which the Department had spent 96.5%. Of the 86 performance targets which had been set, only 54 (63%) had been achieved. The non-attainment of targets was largely due to targets not being suitably developed during the strategic planning process.

Members made the following comments: The
DPME’s control of the Presidential Hotline was also part of its mandate; the key performance objectives per priority programme for Programme 1 had been omitted; the dates given in the report on key strategic performance output should be checked; the format of the quoted program budget amounts should be consistent; the Committee’s comments on the government’s midterm review should be moved to the recommendations section; there had been underspending in the first quarter of 2012/13 and in the past financial year; the DPME should ensure the availability of credible and reliable data and make the information available on its website; the DPME had said it wanted the ‘Results Bill’ but that this would occur only in 2013/14 therefore reference to this should be taken out of the report. Members said that. Members questioned the inclusion of the first quarter of the 2012/13 financial year in the BRRR; whether the report was to consider recommendations for the (future) February budget or for reviewing what had been budgeted for; whether the budget recommendations could be based on the first quarter expenditure and deliberations with Treasury were needed; whether budget recommendations could be made without first consulting the Budget Office.

The Report would be amended for adoption the following day.

Meeting report

The draft Budget Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) report on the Department of  Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) covered an introduction which outlined applicable legislation and the Committee’s role, gave background on the mandate of the Department, noted the strategic priorities and objectives of the Department through its programmes as well as the performance of the Department, considered the Government’s midterm review before ending with conclusions and observations and recommendations.

The Committee read through the document suggesting amendments.

Mr Tshepo Moseou, Committee content advisor, said the importance of the BRRR was that it measured the performance of the DPME in the financial year 2011/12 and whether it had utilised its resources effectively and efficiently. The BRRR report was not only for 2011/12, but also for the first quarter of 2012/13 as key issues arose from engagements with the Department. The report was structured as follows:
Section 1: role of the Committee, and the vision and mission of the Department.
Second 2: strategic priorities and measurable objectives of the Department per programme.
Section 3: financial and non-financial performance of the Department in 2011/12.
Section 4: performance of DPME in first quarter of 2012/13 and Government’s midterm review.
Section 5: analysis of the Annual Report and the Financial Statements.
Section 6: conclusions and observations.
Section 7: recommendations of the Committee.

Mr Moseou said an overview of the performance of the Department showed that it had been allocated a final appropriation of R96.2m of which the Department had spent 96.5%. Of the 86 performance targets which had been set, only 54 (63%) had been achieved. The non-attainment of targets was largely due to targets not being suitably developed during the strategic planning process.

In Programme 1 – Administration (80% of targets were met). The four targets not met were:
- finalisation of risk management strategy and plan
- communication strategy and plan
- development of a procurement plan
- establishment of a comprehensive asset register.

In Programme 2 – Outcomes, Monitoring and Evaluation (60% of targets). The six targets not attained were:
- support to national departments and Premier Offices to translate delivery agreements into provincial targets
- strengthening the evidence base for outcome monitoring and the development and refinement of tools
- promotion and communication of the outcomes approach
- report on alignment of the Annual Performance Plan and strategic plans of national departments to outcomes
- initiating refinements to delivery agreements and quarterly progress updates on the Programme of Action. 

Programme 3 – Monitoring & Evaluation Systems Co-ordination & Support (53%). Targets not achieved were:
- getting detailed IT infrastructure designs from the State Information Technology Agency (SITA)
- the review of the drafted components of GIS
- holding stakeholder workshops for M&E IT guidelines
- developing an integrated DPME projects dashboard
- a framework on the modelling needs of DPME
- the establishment of task teams and steering committees
- the completion of a file plan
- the development and implementation of an information/data plan
- attending 90% of policy formulation discussions and meetings
- enabling 12 outcomes spatially
- modifying the Department of International Relations and Co-operation’s Bilateral Agreement Database to accommodate M&E functionalities.

Programme 4 – Public Sector Oversight (65%) of its targets. It only partially achieved six targets relating to 45 APP assessments:
- reviewing the content and process for Head of Department performance assessment
- developing a framework for Frontline Service Delivery (FSD) monitoring
- developing frameworks for citizen based FSD monitoring
- developing a delivery support framework and the facilitation of three support interventions linked to FSD and management weakness.

Comments from the Committee
Mr M Swart (DA) said that the Department’s control of the Presidential Hotline was also part of its mandate.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) pointed out that the key performance objectives per priority programme for Programme 1 had been omitted and should be placed before 2.2.1 in Programme 2.

Mr G Snell (ANC) said that the dates given in 2.2.3 on key strategic performance output should be checked.

The Chairperson said that the format of the quoted programme budget amounts should be consistent.

Mr Swart said the sentence regarding digital terrestrial TV in 4.4.4 was incomplete.

Mr N Singh (IFP) said that the Committee’s comments appearing after 4.4.5 should be moved to the recommendations section at the end.

Mr Snell questioned the inclusion of the first quarter of the 2012/13 financial year in the BRRR.

The Chairperson said the guidelines of the House Chairperson were that it be included in the BRRR. The BRRR was not aligned with the financial year. He acknowledged that the first quarter spending patterns of the Department could not be judged against the Annual Budget and the Committee needed the first quarter targets of the Department to assess the first quarter expenditure. He said the Midterm Review Report should be discussed in a separate paragraph in the draft report.

Mr Snell asked whether the report could consider recommendations for the (future) February budget or should it be reviewing at what had been budgeted for.

The Chairperson said that the Committee was reviewing what had been done by the Department in the past financial year but its recommendations could have financial implications which would impact on the (future) budget of the Department.

Mr Swart noted that there had been under spending in the first quarter and in the past financial year.

Ms Mashigo said that deliberations with Treasury was needed and questioned whether the budget recommendations could be based on the first quarter expenditure of the Department.

Mr Snell said the Committee could not make budget recommendations without consulting the Budget Office. Rather than place the recommendations under Section 7, the recommendations should be considered pertinent facts and so could be included in the conclusions and observations section.

Mr Singh reminded the Committee that the BRRR had to provide an assessment on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department and had the right to include comment on the Department’s use of its resources.

The Chairperson said the recommendations were for the Departments attention, it was not necessarily going to the Treasury.

Mr Swart said the recommendations were there to help the Department when its discussions with Treasury. The BRRR was submitted to the Minister of Finance and to the Minister of the relevant Department.

Mr Snell said the recommendations, with the addition of the comments on the midterm review, could then conclude the report.

The Chairperson said that comments on the first quarter spending also had to be included.

Mr Snell said that comment along the lines of the Department not being immune to the under spending that all departments were suffering from did not absolve it from developing credible Annual Performance Plans which took into account accurate spending patterns.

Mr Swart said that the Department had said it wanted the “Results Bill” but that it would only occur in 2013/14. Reference to this should be taken out of the report because it was referring to something that would only occur in the future, in 2013/14.

Mr Snell said one could not dictate on the matter of legislation but one could state that the Department had to engage with stakeholders on best practise as far as this legislation was concerned, because the Department had not approached the Committee with anything regarding the Results Bill.

The Chairperson said that the Department had raised the issue and therefore the Committee was re-in forcing the Departments call.

Mr Snell said that the Department should continue with its preliminary work.

Mr Swart said that recommendation 7.4 (line 3), that the Department ensure the availability of credible and reliable data, should include making the information available on a website, as not even the Committee was getting information.

The Chairperson said the document would be corrected and amended for adoption the following day.

The meeting was adjourned.

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