Department Restructuring: briefing

Arts and Culture

10 September 2002
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

10 September 2002


Dr M W Serote (ANC)

Documents Handed Out:
Splitting of Corporate Services (See Appendix)

The Director-General of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology briefed the committee on the restructuring process in the department. This process would result in the splitting of the current Department of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology structure into a department of Arts and Culture as well as a department of Science and Technology, each with its own Director-General. He pointed out that so far no real problems had been encountered as a result of the process, only about three out of 400 employees had expressed dissatisfaction with the implications of the process.

Dr Adams, Director-General of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology introduced; Mr. Pedler, Chief Financial Officer in the department, Mr. Moagi, office manager of the Director-General's office, Ms Mbele Human Resources and Mr. Pieter Friderickse, International Relations and Culture.

The Director-General stated that there was a lack of identity for the Department due to its broad focus. The main issue necessitating restructuring was to pursue identities on separate fronts for Arts and Culture, as well as Science and Technology. More importantly, this was done to dispel the perception that the Department Of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology lacked focus.

Two departments were created on 1 August 2002. Everyone on the Science and Technology branch was transferred to the new department of science and technology and similarly, those from Arts and Culture were transferred to the new arts and culture department. Regarding corporate services, the minister for Public Service and Administration, Ms Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, had given them a maximum of 2 months in which to allocate people in these positions. He also pointed out that in a split situation, there were far less concerns about job losses because every employee would be needed in either direction. In fact, a lack of capacity could be a result, such that instead of retrenchments, new personnel in addition to the existing ones would be recruited.

The challenge was to convince the public and other stakeholders that this venture aimed at the creation of two, new fully fledged separate departments and not just branches, within this ministry. This venture showed that the work that these two divisions did had risen to a level where it was necessary for their independent focus and jurisdiction. This would be a venture decided upon by the president.

He appealed to the committee to allow them to capacitate themselves properly to carry out their functions efficiently and effectively. He pointed out that they did not think there was a need to create a new committee in line with the splitting of these two committees. The new post of Director-General for the Arts and Culture department had been advertised and most likely the new incumbent would start work in January 2003.

Dr Adams pointed out that the phases of the restructuring were detailed in the attached document (see appendix). He pointed out that they would like to apply for an increased budget so as to accommodate and facilitate this restructuring process.

Mr. Pedler, the Chief Financial Officer, pointed out that there were very few objections to the restructuring. Out of over 400 employees, only three placement preferences had been made. These requests had been attended to and would be duly allocated.

Mr. S Dithebe (ANC) pointed out that clearly, this splitting had important implications for the committee. Did it mean that there was an inevitable possibility of the department's work conflicting? As far as FEST was concerned, was there any room for collaboration between the two? Were these departments going to belong to separate cabinet clusters?

The Director-General pointed out that collaboration was a strong crosscutting theme in all government business, but the danger of overlapping and clashing issues such as bureaucracies and mandates needed to be addressed. On the cluster issue, he pointed out that the issues crosscut such that every Director-General had to attend at least two clusters and senior personnel allocated to other relevant clusters. The new Arts and Culture Director-General would have to negotiate which clusters to belong in, including most probably, the social cluster.

Ms A Van Wyk (NNP) pointed out that the restructuring process made it logistically easier for the accountability process to function. Both areas of discipline would consequently be able to focus better and the committee would also be able to exercise its oversight role effectively. Would it be possible for the two departments to have two separate parliamentary liaison people so that they could each focus on their work separately? In this restructuring, the vision of each of the two departments needed to be clear and well developed. The public should be served properly, service delivery needed to be prioritised here. Regarding the CSIR, which entities would belong where? How much had been allocated for the two departments in the proposed budget? What were critical posts in the new departments?

The Director-General pointed out that regarding where the several institutions would belong, the issue had not yet been finalised. However, the CSIR would fall under science and technology in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry and other relevant departments. Libraries would fall under arts and culture. The CSIR was also a crosscutting institution with many institutional divisions such that no single department could lay claim to it.

In terms of staff requirements, there was an advertisement of the Director-General post in newspapers and the requirements were also duly listed. Other posts included along the three divisions within each department. He pointed out that they could not disclose these as yet since it was subject to the budget made available.

Ms Tshivhase (ANC) asked if this restructuring would affect the various provincial arts and culture departments and if so, how?

Regarding the provincial situation, he pointed out that this depended on the particular premier in that province. He pointed out that in terms of science and technology, they would not have links with the provinces, but they would be looking for regional alliances in this regard, by way of establishing and using new and existing infrastructure, like institutions of higher learning such as research laboratories.

Ms Mpaka (ANC) asked if this split meant that there would be a change in the strategies adopted by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology? Regarding the personnel's choice for allocation, what procedure was going to be followed in doing this?

On the issue of personnel decisions, he pointed out that every employee had been given the same position they held at Department of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology, they had just been shifted to the two departments respectively. The objections were regarding where an employee, between the two, felt better suited. Critical compliance posts such as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer, had been advertised very quickly where a vacancy applied. On the issue of strategies, he pointed out that this would simply mean that each division would carry out its specific mandate and vision according to the Department of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology strategy in the particular field, be it science and technology or arts and culture.

The meeting was adjourned

First Phase
Splitting of Corporate Services

Communication the rationale for change
Design a clear need and rationale for change
Communicate the rationale to staff and key stakeholders
Design the process and broad time frames
Appointment Department Task Team

Project and process design Implementation strategy
Clarify expected outcomes
Design the program and processes
Have a clear implementation plan and strategy
Communicate and consult

Organizational redesign for Corporate Services Branch
Approval of organization structure by Minister
Consultation with staff and stakeholders
Communicate implementation

Second Phase
Creation of New Departments

Strategic framework
Organizational design and buDirector-Generalet for the newly created departments
Approval of structure for the new departments by the Minister
Communication strategic intent and rationale for new organizational structures to management
Appoint Departmental Task Team (DTT)

Implementation Plan
Communicate strategic intent and rationale for the new organizational structures to DTT
Develop job descriptions/redefine jobs
Negotiations: matching and placement of employees in new positions
Communicate and consult
Advertise and fill vacant positions

Monitor Implementations
Make adjustment where necessary
Communicate and resolve issues
End of second phase.

Critical Success Factors
Clear ministerial and senior executive mandate
Strong project management
Minimise anxiety by clear and frequent communication
Demonstrable success
Human resource support
Agreed time frames
Clear, demonstrable and well communicated rationale
Employee and management support
Dedicated project team



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