Department for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report

Standing Committee on Appropriations

21 October 2013
Chairperson: Mr E Sogoni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met for consideration and adoption of the Committee’s Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report on the Department for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.

The format of the report had been changed and approved following a workshop with Members for BRRR. Members made a number of suggestions and amendments. They thought that the report should be clearer with regard to medium term estimates. It should reflect on the programme performance of the Department where it had achieved three targets out of six.
Under spending of R3.2m was listed in the report. Members suggested that this be called a saving, as the objective had been achieved, it was just cheaper than what was budgeted for. The restructuring of variance on expenditure should have been reported in the first quarter rather than the second. Were staff and money transferred elsewhere within the Department as well as the budget that went with it?
Impact should be discussed in a dedicated section of the report. Ten evaluation reports were mentioned in the report; Members asked that this number be confirmed. There was discussion of whether the Department received a clean audit opinion or an unqualified audit report with no findings. The Department’s presentation on impact had been very thorough and clear, this should have been clearer in the report.
The Committee adopted the report with these amendments.
 

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed Members and explained that the purpose of the meeting was to consider and adopt the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) which had to be finalised in that meeting because a special sitting for the report had been scheduled fro 24 October 2013. The draft report had been sent to all the Members of the Committee beforehand.

Department for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report
The Chairperson said that the Committee should look at the report page by page and raise issues that were not consistent with the wording and content of the report. He noted that there was a pro-former from the Office of the House Chairperson. He asked whether it was in line with the format of the guidelines.

Mr Phelelani Dlomo, Committee Researcher, said that following the workshop with Members for the BRRR it was suggested that the format needed to be changed and the template was developed and approved by the Committee section and sent to the House Chairperson’s Office, where it was approved. For example, other Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports (ATC) would include the role and mandate of the Department and the BRRR recommendations of the previous year for all the reports.

Mr M Swart (DA) proposed that page 1 of the report be accepted.

The Committee agreed.

The Chairperson read from page 2 of the report, under methodology: “The Committee has scrutinised and scrutinised all available documents as outlined in section 5 of the Act. The Committee has assessed the performance of the Department in the 2012/13 financial year, as well as performance in the first quarter and second quarter of 2013/14 financial year. Key issues emanating from various engagements between the Committee and the Department were also considered”.

Mr Swarts proposed that page 2 of the report be accepted.

The Committee agreed.

No objections to page 3 of the report were raised.

The Chairperson said that the BRRR recommendations from 2012 were correct.

Mr Swart said they were taken from the 2012 BRRR report which was accurate, as well as from the 2013/14 Budget Vote recommendations which they’ve already seen.

Dr S Van Dyk (DA) noted that the table on page 5 of the report which dealt with budget allocation trends was not clear with regard to medium term estimates because it did not come up to the exact total.

The Chairperson said that they could not be very strict but it was something Dr Van Dyk was drawing their attention to and needed to be corrected. He remembered that in the presentation there were queries about the Department’s total.

The Chairperson noted that on page 6, paragraph 3, of the report there was an under spending of R3.2m listed. He asked whether that was an under spending or if it supposed to be a saving because the Department achieved the objective but it was cheaper than it had been budgeted for, unlike in the past when the Department had claimed to have saved but had not achieved its objectives.

Ms R Mashigo (ANC) asked why the restructuring of variance on expenditure was reported in the second quarter when they already knew about it in the first quarter.

Mr Dlomo said that Ms Mashigo was right it should be included and reported in the first quarter as well.

The Chairperson asked whether that report was it as they reported in terms of interrogating the first and second quarter or as it was presented by the Department.

Mr Musa Zamisa, Committee Researcher, said that that was an omission from the first quarter which was supposed to have been included.
Mr Swart asked whether staff and money were transferred elsewhere within the Department as well as the budget that went with it.

Mr Zamisa said that that the staff were transferred to other components, but the budget part of it was still not disbanded because the Department was waiting for the end of the financial year to restructure that part of it.

The Chairperson read that paragraph as follows: “For the period until September 2013, the Department had spent R84.7m or 44% of its 2013/14 main appropriation of R192.7m. This represents a variance of R15.4m against the first six months’ budget projection of R100.2m. A contribution factor to the variance in actual expenditure relative to the projection is the organisational restructuring process currently underway within the Department which will result in the abolishment of Programme 3: M&E Systems Coordination and Support. The functions of the programme are to be integrated into other programmes within the vote. Additional contributing factors to the variance were the delays in the relocation of the Department to new offices as well as vacancies resulting from resignations”.

The Chairperson said that there was an under expenditure there of R15m, but the reasons given could be why it was not spend. It was not clear how that variance contributed to that.

Mr Swart proposed the acceptance of page 10.

The Committee agreed.
The Chairperson requested Mr Dlomo should reflect on the programme performance of the Department where it had achieved three targets out of six.

Mr Dlomo said that there was a section in the report which to this. It was not specified in the report, though it did show the three targets set out by programme one. The report showed that the Department did not achieve because there was a target for programme one in terms of performance for 2012/13.

The Chairperson said that earlier Ms Mashigo had indicated that they should have some kind of a sequence where they talked about impact.
Mr Zamisa responded that the administration section dealt with programmes and unpacked targets which had been achieved, targets that were not achieved, and targets that were partially achieved. It happened that one of the targets in administration that was supposed to have been achieved related to impact. But all in all the impact had a separate section which dealt with the impact exercise as it was done in the Department. Therefore, there they were just flagging the targets of the Department and impact was a target of administration.

Mr Dlomo said that on page 10, section 5, of the report the first paragraph outlined the steps to be followed. The second last sentence read as follows: “This section provides an assessment of service delivery performance in 2012/13 Annual Report and for the first quarter of 2013. The section will also include highlights of the some key projects completed by the Department”. Therefore, on paragraph 5.1 the analysis would be what was contained in the Annual Report in terms of what was achieved or not achieved and reasons thereof. After that it was assessed at an aggregate level for the whole Department. 79 targets were attained and it specified per programme how many targets were attained, how many were not attained, and the reasons thereof. Once that was completed it looked at the projects that were completed by the Department and included the impact.

The Chairperson noted that the last paragraph on page 12 of the report mentioned ten evaluation reports instead of eight evaluation reports that he knew, which had jumped to 15 evaluation reports. In the Annual Performance Plan (APP) there were eight evaluation reports where the Department achieved one out of the eight.

Mr Swart proposed the adoption of page 13.

The Committee agreed.

The Chairperson said that on page 12 the correct number of evaluation reports was ten, but somehow he knew of eight evaluation reports.

Mr Swart corrected the words “auditor concludes” which was supposed to be “the Auditor-General concludes” on point 5.1.3 page 14 of the report.

The Chairperson said that the Department did not receive a clean audit opinion but it received an unqualified audit report with no findings, and there were no matters of emphasis in the report.

Mr Dlomo said that the Department did receive a clean audit opinion, but what the Auditor-General (AG) raised were the additional matters that were to be noted. Therefore, the findings that the AG reported on were related to understanding the outcomes of their financial statements and predetermined objectives, which would be important for them to understand but were not emphasis of matter that contributed to an opinion rather than clean audit.

Mr Swart proposed the adoption of pages 14 and 15.
The Committee agreed.

Ms Mashigo said that they had a full and clear presentation about impact from the Department and that needed be clearer in the report.

Mr Dlomo agreed with Ms Mashigo because amongst their team they had debated about that. For example, they had received a report about outcomes from the Department which contained over 100 slides with intense discussion. But when they initially reported about it they had reported on indicators on education and what the Department presented, but they felt it made the report too long and someone might see it as reporting on performance from other departments. The team had decided that they should not give too many details in relation to other departments but just a summary of that. This was something the Committee could advise them on.

Ms Mashigo asked whether they had the summary of the impact with them in that meeting because the impact was going to drive how the performance of other departments was been done.

The Chairperson agreed with Ms Mashigo and the report was correct to link the impact with the actual work that was done. Ms Mashigo was correct to say that they should receive the impact as the Management Performance Assessment Tool Report.
Mr Swart corrected the words “which” to be “of which” on paragraph 2 of page 17.

Mr Swart proposed the adoption of page 17.

The Committee agreed.

The Chairperson sought clarity on the first paragraph of page 18 with regard to the targets that the Department had achieved because one target was not achieved by the Department.

Mr Dlomo said this was correct.

The Chairperson read on page 18 as follows: “with regards to performance in the first quarter, the number of targets set were 18 out of which 15 were achieved, 1 was partially achieved and 2 were not achieved.  The DPME reported that two targets relating to the Heads of Departments (HoDs) assessments, which depended on the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) issuing a new Peformance Management and Development Policy (PMDS) for HoDs, were excluded from the first quarter targets. The one partially achieved target relate to the completion of only one case study out of a planned target of three case studies on financial services data model (FSDM) best practice. The approval of the case study plan and completing the three case studies were delayed because of support to the site visits. The Department reported that the two outstanding case studies will be completed in the second quarter”.

Mr Zamisa said that it should be remembered that the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) was part of the research papers that they were supposed to have received in the third quarter and fourth quarter, but they only received 22 research papers, which was partially achieved in that regard. Therefore, the work had started already around the MTSF.

Mr Swart proposed the adoption of the report.

Dr Van Dyk seconded the proposal.

The Committee adopted the report with amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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