Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation on 2012 Management Performance Assessment Tool results

Standing Committee on Appropriations

10 September 2013
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation briefed the Committee on the results of the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) for 2012/13. All 156 national and provincial departments had participated.  Management performance had been targeted because it was the key to improving service delivery -- weak administration led to poor service delivery. The assessment was aimed at inculcating a culture of improvement in departments.

There had been three phases to the assessment. An initial self-assessment, where the department rated itself -- backed up by evidence -- was followed by external moderation of the self-assessment, where the departments could challenge the findings and present extra evidence before a final result was decided. The purpose of this was to establish a baseline from which the third phase, which was planning improvement, could operate and assist in the monitoring of the planned interventions.

The results of the 2012/13 moderated assessment showed that 76% of departments had attained compliance in strategic management, 40% in governance, 27% in HR management and 54% in financial management.

Looking more closely at the strategic management code, 85% had been compliant in having strategic plans, 69% in having annual performance plans, and 75% had been compliant in monitoring and evaluation.  A closer look at the governance code showed that 20% were compliant with service delivery improvement plan mechanisms, 46% were compliant on management structures, 59% had audit committees, 24% were compliant with regard to professional ethics, 36% were compliant with fraud prevention measures, 40% were compliant with internal audit functions and 36% had appropriate risk management strategies in place.  Similarly, when looking more closely at the HR standards, there had been only 12% compliance with respect to HR plans.

One of the findings of a statistical analysis of the results was that national departments did not fare significantly better than provincial departments with regard to financial management. Another finding was that human resources, and the stability of senior management, were the key to achieving results.

All departments had to implement improvement programs to reach a Level Four rating -- indicating full compliance and doing things efficiently.  The Committee should monitor the improvement plans of departments.

Members said that while there were internal audit review committees, the people who appointed them could also fire them.  The Auditor General should appoint the chairpersons of the audit committees.
Members suggested that the Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation should meet with the Speaker to present the MPAT report.  Not all portfolio committees were aware of the report, and perhaps it should be presented to all of them.  Members asked what was fundamentally wrong -- was it a people or management problem?  Was the government getting value for money? Was monitoring taking place?  Was Treasury guiding departments to keep on track?

Members said the Department of Mineral Resources had received a very good score, yet the Department’s licence issuing office was chaotic. Were the MPATs impacting on service delivery?  What impact did the results have on performance remuneration, and were disciplinary actions instituted and followed up? Members said Treasury itself was 35% below compliance, so how could it ask other departments to be compliant?  It needed to get its own standards up.  Were there improvement plans, given that the departments now had their scores?
 

Meeting report

The meeting started late because of confusion over the starting time and because of construction noise which needed to be stopped.   The Chairperson said the report had to be presented to Parliament, as it affected all departments.

Briefing by Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME)
Dr Sean Phillips, Director-General: DPME, said that in the previous year 103 national and provincial departments had participated. This year, all 156 departments had participated.  The assessment was about the conversion of inputs into outputs, and not necessarily whether the output was the correct output.

Mr Ismail Akhalwaya, Acting Deputy Director-General and Program Manager of the MPAT assessment, said that weak administration led to poor service delivery. The assessment was aimed at inculcating in departments a culture of improvement.

There were three phases to the assessment. There was an initial self-assessment where the department rated itself, backed by evidence, on each of the standards. This was followed by external moderation of the self-assessment, where the departments could challenge the findings and present extra evidence before a final result was decided. The purpose of this was to establish a baseline from which the third phase, which was planning improvement, could operate and assist in the monitoring of the planned interventions. All the standards were rated on levels one to four. Level One was for non-compliance with the legal/regulatory requirements, Level Two for partial compliance, Level Three for full compliance and Level Four for full compliance and for doing things efficiently. The Department had a web-based system to gather all evidence from departments. The Department had done a statistical analysis of the results, in conjunction with Wits University.

The results of the 2012/13 moderated assessment showed that 76% of departments had attained compliance in strategic management, 40% in governance, 27% in HR management and 54% in financial management.

Looking more closely at the strategic management code, 85% had been compliant in having strategic plans, 69% in having annual performance plans, and 75% had been compliant in monitoring and evaluation.

A closer look at the governance code showed that 20% were compliant with service delivery improvement plan mechanisms, 46% were compliant on management structures, 59% had audit committees, 24% were compliant with regard to professional ethics, 36% were compliant with fraud prevention measures, 40% were compliant with internal audit functions and 36% had appropriate risk management strategies in place.

Similarly, when looking more closely at the HR standard, there had been only 12% compliance with respect to HR plans. Only 29% were compliant in respect of pay sheets. This was important, in order to avoid “ghost” workers.  There was only 3% compliance in the subsection, management of diversity. This dealt with achieving equity in the women and disabled people employment targets.  This indicated that either more support should be given or the regulations had to change.

Under financial management, national departments did not fare significantly better than provincial departments. The two provinces of concern were North West and the Eastern Cape.

The statistical analysis showed that human resources and the stability of senior management was the key to achieving results. The top five national departments were the Departments of Science and Technology, Trade and Industry, Environmental Affairs, the National Treasury and Mineral Resources.

There had been some improvement over the previous year, and the Department had included case studies in the report for dissemination. All departments had to implement improvement programs to reach level four, and the Committee should monitor the improvement plans of departments.

Discussion
Mr M Swart (DA) said that while there were internal audit review committees, the people who appointed them could also fire them. He said the Auditor General should appoint the chairpersons of the audit committees.

Mr G Snell (ANC) suggested that the Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation should meet with the Speaker to present the report.

Mr Swart said that not all portfolio committees were aware of the report, and that it should perhaps be presented to all committees.

Mr N Singh (IFP) asked what was fundamentally wrong -- was it people or management?  Was the government getting value for money? Was monitoring taking place?

Ms A Mfulo (ANC) asked how the problems around having external moderators for the internal assessment had been resolved. Was Treasury guiding departments to keep on track?   The Department of Mineral Resources had received a very good score, yet she knew the Department’s licence issuing office was chaotic.

The Chairperson asked whether the MPATs were impacting on service delivery.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) wanted know what impact the results had had on performance remuneration, and whether disciplinary actions were instituted and followed up.

Mr Snell said Treasury itself was 35% below compliance, so how could it ask other departments to be compliant.  It needed to improve its own standards.

The Chairperson said there was a problem with service delivery, because the report showed that service delivery plans in national departments stood at around 20%.  Management structures had scored 46%.  The work was not an optional issue -- it had to be done. He asked whether the departments could be prioritised according to governance or human resources. He agreed that the report should be disseminated to a larger group than just the Standing Committee on Appropriations.  Were there any improvements plans, given that the departments now had their scores?

Dr Phillips replied that the report had been presented to Cabinet, the Director Generals Forum and to Parliament, and welcomed the call to present to portfolio committees.

He said the challenges would not be solved overnight. South Africa was not the only country grappling with these types of problems. The Canadian government initiative, on which this intervention was modelled, as well as initiatives in other countries such as Russia, India and Kenya, had all attempted to grapple with the same problems. The key lesson from all these countries was that there had to be persistent and consistent implementation of the assessment program.  The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) should be roped in to assist where there were high levels of non-compliance. If no improvement resulted, it meant that departments were doing the same things over and over.  The priority areas should be departments that were weak and where the standards attained had been weak.

The popular perception was that provinces lagged far behind the national departments, but the results showed that there was not a big gap between national and provincial departments.  The key underlying problem was that top management was not paying attention to issues that they thought did not deserve their attention.  Departments were struggling with service delivery because they were constantly in crisis management. The Department of Home Affairs had in the past, for example, had service delivery challenges over the issuing of ID books.  Once the underlying management problem had been resolved -- that of a weak operational process -- the Department had been turned around and service delivery had improved.

It was important to note that the assessment was measuring only the codes and not a department’s complete performance.  The codes had been grouped into various areas.  For example, governance was measured according to the codes, not to all governance of a department, and therefore it was not a complete picture of the department.

The Chairperson said that similar to the Auditor General’s report, departments were getting a “pass” for their compliance reports, yet people on the ground were not getting services.

Dr Phillips said the use of the subsection payment of suppliers within 30 days had been used as an example of service delivery, and that service delivery was impacted upon by management issues.

Mr Akhalwaya said the ranking numbers in the slide on page 12 of the presentation should be reversed.

The Chairperson said it appeared that urgent attention should be given to people in the departments who did not appear to be doing their work. He had thought each department had an internal audit committee, but the results showed otherwise.

Report on oversight Visit
The Chairperson called on members to make inputs towards the findings and recommendations of the draft oversight report on the visits to Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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