DMPE on Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) 2014 results; Amendment to Public Service Commission Amendment Bill [B21A-15], with Minister

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

24 February 2016
Chairperson: Ms B Mabe (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Planning, Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation (DMPE) presented the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) 2014 results. Human resource management remains the most challenging key performance indicator (KPI). There has been continual improvement in departments from 2012 to 2014 but there are still challenges such as departments merely complying to meet the requirements. There are challenges with finalisation of disciplinary cases and non-payment of suppliers within 30 days.

It was found that Correctional Services, Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Military Veterans, Traditional Affairs and Women, Children and Disabilities are the worst performing departments.

There was a briefing by the Minister and Public Service Commission chairperson about the executive’s proposed amendment to clause 2(3) of the Public Service Commission Amendment Bill. The proposal is to provide for the President to appoint a commissioner to act in the absence of the chair and the deputy chair rather than leave it up to the Commission.

There is no proposed change to the insertion about the renewal of term of Public Service Commissioners– a section which will allow the President to renew for one additional term the term of office of a commissioner within 90 days before the expiry of the first term after consultation with the legislature.

Members questioned the viability and practicality of the new proposal which would require the President to appoint a commissioner to act every time the chairperson and the deputy are absent. Members asked for terms such as “absent” to be more clearly defined to avoid any vagueness.


Meeting report

The Chairperson congratulated Adv Richard Sizani for being appointed chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC). The President selects the chairperson from the existing group of commissioners and the Committee is responsible for filling commissioner vacancies.

DPME on the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) 2014 results
Mr Tshediso Matona, Director General: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), stated that because there are new members in the Committee, it is important to recall the rationale for MPAT. MPAT was developed as a tool to ensure that management practices in government are improved, are sound, and are strong to support the programmes of government, particularly those implementing the National Development Plan.

Mr Matona said that bad management practices, and these are prevalent in the public service, contribute quite significantly to non-achievement of government outcomes so they developed the MPAT tool to identify problem areas in the administration and management as a way of providing an opportunity to identify and implement improvements.

He added that in the years of implementation, weakness has been seen in management especially in the areas of financial, supply chain, asset and human resources management. Weaknesses in these areas lead to critical service delivery failure. Everyone remembers the delayed textbook delivery or shortages of ARVs. Looking at certain provinces, there are problems with paying suppliers within 30 days. So these are some of the challenges we face in the public administration.

The DG stated that MPAT was piloted in 2010 in the Presidency, the DPSA and the National Treasury. Cabinet approved the rollout and it started in 2010.

Dr Ntsiki Tshayingca-Mashiya, DPME Deputy Director General: Institutional Performance and Monitoring, presented the MPAT 2014 results. She highlighted the objective of MPAT which is to ensure that there is capability in government departments to achieve outcomes. She explained the MPAT Theory of Change which starts with an agreement on the standards that will be used for assessment. Assessments are done by departments and once those first assessments are done there is peer moderation where moderators either endorse or refute the assessment. The DDG highlighted that this process enables horizontal learning for departments and that it leads to improved and better lives for people.

She spoke about the key areas of MPAT assessment. The first is strategic management which includes strategic planning, operational planning, service delivery and improvement planning. The second is governance and accountability where they assess the ability of the department to actually deal with risk management and governing structures - are they in place and functioning. The third one is most critical being human resource management. Members will see during the course of the presentation that this is the most challenging. The fourth and final area is financial management.

The DDG said that the MPAT design is made to ensure that the inputs – people, money and equipment - are actually managed through those KPAs to ensure that they meet their outputs which will lead to the achievement of outcomes and make an impact.

They use four levels in MPAT. Level 1 is red and there are lot of departments which have red. Red means that departments are non-compliant in relation to the standards. Level 2 means that the department is partially compliant which is orange. Level 3 means that the department is fully compliant. Fully compliant does not mean that the department is the best but that it has the basics in place to ensure that service delivery happens in order to meet outcomes and outputs. Level four means the department is fully compliant with all areas.  

This Report is for the 2014 cycle and that the cycle is from September to March. This enables the departments enough time to give feedback. The draft for 2015 is already done.

The DDG presented the main findings of MPAT 2014. She highlighted that human resource management is central to service delivery yet it consistently records poor performance and that this point was made last year.

She pointed out that whilst there is compliance on financial management it does not yield the desired outcomes or value for money. They want to see more value for money not just a case of spending budgets for the sake of complying with Treasury requirements.

The DDG pointed out that in terms of Service Delivery Improvement Planning and Implementation, departments are prioritising the wrong areas.

She mentioned finalisation of disciplinary cases and payment of suppliers as other persistent challenges.

In terms of learning, the DPME conducted a case study, using MPAT, which looked at those departments that performed well and those that did poorly. This was done in order to understand why some perform well and others poorly. She mentioned that leadership was a factor which affected performance. If it was weak, the departments performed poorly so managerial leadership needs to be strengthened. She added that capacity is another area. Capacity is the capability to integrate the resource management, the people management, and the day to day operations to cause people to perform effectively and to cause departments to deliver on their mandates.

She spoke about the lessons learnt from MPAT implementation. Here she stressed the need to prioritise support of Directors General / Heads of Departments so that they are on par with each other. In departments where the Director General has had long tenure, there tends to be stability as they have had time to learnt and master the art.

The way forward includes plans to select poor performing departments and perform root cause analysis to aid the design of the support, amongst other things.

In terms of department average scores, KPA1 Strategic Management scored a 3.0 average which is the same as last year. KPA2 Governance and Administration, departments have not reached level three but are at 2.8 but have improved from 2012 and 2013. KPA3 Human Resource Management - she has made the point that this is the challenge area. From the onset, departments did badly and improvements have been small. KPA4 Financial Management: departments have been improving steadily.

The average of all KPAs is 2.7 which shows that management issues must be sorted out in order to get service delivery right.

The Chairperson asked that the meeting deal with the worst performing departments before the engagement starts. She wanted to take the top five and compare it to other years. She requested a breakdown of the five worst performing departments. She mentioned that the departments themselves will be asked to present to the Committee.

Mr Henk Serfontein, DPME Chief Director: Management Performance Monitoring & Support, stated that the worst performing departments are: Correctional Services, Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Military Veterans, Traditional Affairs and Women, Children and Disabilities. He mentioned that MPAT is a development tool so where there is improvement there should be patience.

The Chairperson stated that Correctional Services has never done well and that MPAT is not about complying. She asked what the DPME has done to assist Correctional Services, Military Veterans and Traditional Affairs. She added that they must focus on the two: Correctional Services and Military Veterans. She added that other problematic departments included Public Works. She asked how this department had performed.

Mr Matona answered that there is a slight improvement in Public Works.

The Chairperson suggested that the DPME makes Correctional Services the pilot project and the Committee is targeting a positive response in September.

Ms R Lesoma (ANC) suggested that the DPME partners with other departments and not just say that they will.

Mr M Hlengwa (IFP) built on the Chair’s issue with Correctional Services. He wanted to underscore that an intervention is needed because the problems are vast and varied. He mentioned that Military Veterans’ financials are new and that a “hamba kahle” approach should be taken.

Mr S Motau (DA) spoke about the main findings and said it is clear that failure in human resource management has consequences. He noted that the Way Forward part of the presentation touched on a root cause analysis. He asked if people are employed without being competent in management and if there is an empowerment system? Otherwise people should lose their jobs.

Ms A Lovemore (DA) mentioned that she had submitted a written question for ministerial reply and a minister had previously said that there is a strategy to support poor performing departments. She asked if this had been done? She asked if the DPME has linked the strategic plan and APP outcomes. She asked where the information about leadership issues comes from. She also asked about the provinces. She asked who takes responsibility for the improvements.

Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA) asked when will there be consequences in terms of the tool.

Ms V Mente (EFF) suggested that the Department of Public Works be added to the list of departments that need help. This is because it is still at level 2. She added that she is worried about the mandate of the DPME. They recommend but cannot enforce punishment. The Correctional Services situation is unacceptable and no one in the department is taking responsibility. She asked who must take responsibility. She added that more departments should be added to the list of underperforming departments if the tools presented in the case study are the ones used to evaluate the departments.

Mr S Mncwabe (NFP) brought up the persistent challenges on slide 7 of the presentation. The finalisation of disciplinary cases should be resolved sooner as people sit at home earning a salary. The late payment of suppliers is a problem because it affects SMMEs.

Mr M Dirks (ANC) mentioned that Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) does the same thing as this committee by holding a hearing with each poorly performing department. He suggested that the DPME should update this Committee on what is happening in SCOPA.

Mr M Ntombela (ANC) asked if the engagement between the departments and the assessors is open?

Ms Lesoma suggested that it would be helpful for the DMPE to keep track of what the Committee has recommended before and to say what the department has done. She suggested that cross-cutting department matters should be shared for feedback.

The Chairperson stated that the reporting needs to improve. She added that it was unfair that the Committee asks about a specific department because the role of the DPME is to coordinate. She concluded by stating that the Committee will send the questions to the relevant departments.

Mr Matona replied that in terms of departments and outcomes, DPME takes a holistic state-wide approach to this and that it is important to see MPAT in that context. MPAT on its own will not address all the problems that MPAT is revealing. This would require all players to come together.

He stated that what the department has now is a tool. Previously it was anecdotal, so MPAT gives the department a scientific diagnosis. The tool tells the department what the problem areas are.

He added that a lot of work is being done to enhance consequence management. Further, he stated that DPME does not have capacity to intervene. DMPE must be able to intervene and work with the relevant departments but they will need to be supported.

Ms Tshayingca-Mashiya answered the questions on standards, saying that they are available online.

On whether there is time allowed for departments in terms of remedial action she answered that there is time given. The report is only out in May. She added that as suggested they will include Public Works in the list of poorly performing departments.

On the question of value for money, she suggested that the MPs assist with oversight. The Department is there for planning, monitoring and evaluation. They go into the departments and assess. She highlighted the importance of the tool.

The DDG stated that a unit that deals with the non-payment of suppliers already exists. This unit follows up with departments that are guilty of non-payment.

Mr Serfontein responded to the question about why some entities are assessed and not others. He replied that DPME currently focuses on national and provincial departments. He mentioned that they have worked with the DTI to create a similar tool for public entities and that there is a similar tool for municipalities.

On the question about the difference between standards and case studies; he stated that standards are used to assess who is performing and who is not. Thereafter the department will do a case study based on that.

Mr Serfontein explained that departments do have self assessments in September. Thereafter moderators evaluate these in November. After that, departments go through a challenge period which is currently happening. During this period, DPME works with the departments and a final score is given.

The Chair asked if they have no access to public entities and municipalities, what will happen.

Mr Serfontein replied that there is a tool for municipalities. Public entities are with the DTI and that Human Settlements is working on one for its entities.

Mr Ntombela mentioned about performance measures for ministers from the President [inaudible].

Ms Lovemore said she is concerned that provincial department results are given to the premiers. She asked why they are not available because her Eastern Cape premier will not give these to her. She added that as a representative she should have access.

She stated that the assessments cannot be subjective so the DPME should expand on the assessment tool.   

She asked which aspects did the DPME identify that link most directly to service delivery.

Dr Tshayingca-Mashiya stated that departments get specific objectives – she mentioned the NDP and MPAT – and that there are expected outcomes for these objectives.

She added that the DPME goes to provinces to present to the results. The information is presented to the executive and that the information is available.

Mr M Booi (ANC) stated that the NDP speaks about a capable state. It is 20 years since they have been in government and he acknowledged that the process is implemented over time; he asked when the state will be able to deliver.

He made an example of Prasa and how the register has disappeared for the R17 billion deal. This makes it difficult for the Auditor-General to audit the books. He stated that it is the managers that are destroying the books so what should happen?

Minister Ramatlhodi suggested that the DPME, DPSA and the PSC should meet more often because their work has overlaps.

The Chairperson agreed with the recommendation.   

Proposed Amendments to Public Service Commission Amendment Bill [B21A-2015]
The PSC chairperson, Adv Richard Sizani, presented this document which seeks to amend a section of the Amendment Bill as it was tabled before the Portfolio Committee in September 2015. In his presentation, he covered the objects of the Bill.

On the renewal of the term of a commissioner, he spoke about Clause 1 which will allow the President to renew for one additional term the term of office of a commissioner within 90 days before the expiry of the first term. This would be in consultation with the relevant national or provincial legislature.

On the new proposed method to appoint a commissioner to act in the absence of the chair and the deputy chair in Clause 2 of the Bill, he went through the proposed amendment to the method which makes provision for the President to appoint a Commissioner to act in the absence of the chair and the deputy chair.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee is not finalising the matter today. She consulted a parliamentary officer.

The parliamentary officer stated that the Bill was already tabled in Parliament last year and was not withdrawn. If the Department is happy and the Committee is satisfied it can remain going through the parliamentary processes.

Mr van der Westhuizen asked to clarify if the proposed amendment is contained in the Amendment Bill. He asked who is the owner of this amendment presented today and has it gone through Cabinet.

He asked how the clause about asking the President to appoint a commissioner to act as chair will work when the chairperson is absent. Will the President be called on every time to appoint the chair? He asked what the thinking behind the Bill is.

Ms Lovemore asked if clause 1 amending section 4(5) where it states “after consultation with the National Assembly” is legally understood because consultation is a very broad term.

Ms Mente stated that definitions are needed in order to understand the amendment. She asked what the definition of ‘absent’ is. She asked how long can the acting chairperson act.

Mr Motau asked how the appointment of an acting chairperson by the President will actually work.

Mr Booi argued that you cannot draft an Act that will make the President an administrator of the PSC. He argued that it leaves room for people like the National Commissioner of Police to do similar things. It sets a bad precedent and could be problematic.

Mr Hlengwa asked for a definition of ‘absent’. He made an example of Committee Chairperson Mabe not being available. He asked why the PSC cannot get someone to chair amongst themselves as per established norm. He asked what the rationale is.

Ms Lesoma raised a concern about the renewal and non-renewal of commissioner terms. She said that it has become subjective. She raised a question about how the commissioners are assessed.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on certain parts of the Bill such as renewal.

Mr van der Westhuizen mentioned that the PSC deputy chair position is vacant. He asked since when. He also asked earlier about the position vacated by Prof Levin when he moved to the School of Government and whether it has been filled.

The Chairperson asked that the Committee leave that matter for another meeting.

Adv Sizani responded that the Bill is still in the parliamentary process. Both the Minister and himself have consulted the executive. This proposed amendment to the Amendment Bill is not a new process but continuous. The Bill was not withdrawn. The rationale is that the amendment deals with a principle matter and not the day to day running of the PSC. It is when someone is required to take leave for a long time. The proposal is that the President should appoint the acting chairperson. He added that there are many means of communication now so it would not require the President to be present to appoint a chairperson. He can email or sms for example. On the question of how long should the person could be in an acting position, if it is a short time period, the chair merely comes back into the role. Otherwise the President can appoint someone to act.

The question on the assessment of commissioners is a difficult one. PSC is accountable to the Committee and not to the executive and the commissioners act together so they are assessed collectively. There is no individual performance. He stressed that the issue of renewal should not be misunderstood in terms of removal procedures. These are laid out in the Act.

Ms Mente asked for an explanation of the “within 90 days before the expiry of the first term of office of a commissioner” and the renewal. She asked if renewal is between a Commissioner and the President or does the Portfolio Committee get involved.

Minister Ramatlhodi answered that it would be after consultation.

In response to the Chairperson asking if it is a section 76 Bill, Mr Sisa Makabeni, State Law Advisor, responded that it is.

The Chairperson asked for timeframes and Mr Makabeni replied that it must be adopted by the Committee and National Assembly before it goes to the NCOP.

Ms Mente asked that definitions be added.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

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