Public Service Commission, Centre for Public Service Innovation, National School of Government, Department of Public Service and Administration on their 3rd Quarter 2015/2016 Performance

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Meeting Summary

The Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), Public Service Commission (PSC), National School of Government (NSG) and Department of Public Service and Administration presented the results, in turn, of Quarter 3 of the 2015/16 financial year. They looked at the basis of the reporting, the targets, specified what was achieved and provided explanations and updates on matters reported.

CPSI achieved 90% of its target, while 5% was partially achieved. PSC had achieved 73% of its targets.  NSG was facing very tough conditions with a huge budget cut from the National Treasury, and the NSG had to start operating as a business in order to become sustainable. The DPSA had to operate as a business in order to be sustainable in the future.  Mr Govender explained that the DPSA had achieved 71% of its targets. Each of the entities also presented the challenges and what it planned to address them.    

The Committee asked a number of questions, and most would be answered in writing. Questions posed to the CPSI included: comments that its presentation was too general, that more specifics were required, and it was asked to explain what exactly it does and why it is important for government. 

Questions to the NSG revolved around the need for it to operate as a business and how the cut of its budget wold impact on staff, whether it might have to retrench, and why it was intending to make use of the services of currently-serving civil servants, which would surely take them out of office for long periods. Members asked if all contracts must go through the school. They asked if it had another plan to address the fact that companies were likely not to train, if they were facing budgetary shortfalls. One Member questioned the reason for the School and why it felt it needed a building, and its financial sustainability. They also asked how it assessed quality and standardisation of training in other departments, and who was doing ethics training. 

The PSC was asked to explain why it had not dealt with more than four portfolio committees and to detail a little more of its engagement in Parliament. The reasons for not having a Deputy Chair and Chair yet were requested. It was asked to perhaps consider raising the target of finalising 67% of grievances, and to express the success rate also in terms of the time taken to resolve complaints. They questioned what would happen when executive authorities did not submit the compliance forms. It was asked if the fact sheet on financial misconduct would be produced in this year, why the Public Service Report was apparently to be done away with and why the PSC could not deal with corruption but only financial mismanagement. It was asked to expand upon the nature and quality of the complaints received. . 

The Department of Public Service and Administration was told by the Committee that if there were targets which it felt were not achievable, it should rather look to dropping them. One Member found the targets to be quantitative rather than qualitative and wanted to know, for instance, not how many workshops were held but what the content and outcomes of those were. It was asked how productivity in the basic education sector was being measured, and what the replication of models for the Thusong Centre would entail. Members questioned the possible overlaps and duplications between the DPSA and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. Members questioned the government employees housing schemes and apparent contradictions arising out of changes with those who rented being in a worse position than those living on traditional land. One Member was disappointed that different formats of presentation had been made by these entities, making it more difficult to do a comparative assessment of their performance. 
 

Meeting report

Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) on Quarter 3 of 2015/16 performance
Mr Lindana Mthethwa, Chief Director, Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) presented the performance of the CPSI in the third quarter (Q3) of the 2015/16 financial year. He emphasised that the reported progress had been verified by the Internal Audit and Risk Management Unit, and set out the legislative requirements with which it had complied.

In  Q3 the organisation had 21 targets.   As at the end of December 2015, 19 (90%) of the targets were achieved, 1 (5%) partially and 1 (5%) not achieved. He emphasised that mechanisms and corrective steps would ensure that the “not achieved targets” would in fact be achieved in the 4th quarter.

He set out the highlights of this quarter as follows:

Replication: 25 Gauteng Provincial Hospital CEOs were exposed to a number of health innovative solutions that have been unearthed through the CSPI Awards Programme. One of those solutions is the “Saving Blood Saving Lives Innovation” from Edendale Hospital which had saved the hospital over R6.14 million since 2013 through efficient use of blood and blood products to eliminate wastage. This innovation is now being replicated in some of the other Gauteng Hospitals.

Dietetics Project: is also an award winning project that focuses on vulnerable children. The aim is to reduce malnutrition and the number of malnourished children admitted into health institutions in Limpopo. The project is currently being scaled up in other districts of Limpopo. In addition, the National Department of Health has committed to donating equipment to this Project.

Sector Specific Innovation Workshops
were held for Department of Home Affairs, Correctional Services and Health to build internal innovation capacity and to entrench the culture of innovation for the sectors in question. The Multi-Media Innovation Centre was integral to these workshops as a tool to interrogate own challenges and processes.

A Foresight Exchange Forum for development in Africa was hosted in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in order to assist member states to integrate innovation in the implementation of their national long term plans. The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) was also part of this Forum.

The CPSI Innovation Awards were held in October. The Minister awarded 20 Public Sector Innovative Solutions. This is a critical platform for identifying replicable solutions to address service delivery challenges.

Mr Mthethwa also highlighted performance indicators and achievements within its various branches. He highlighted that efficient integrated planning and reporting was achieved through submission of the relevant reports to the Minister and Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), the DPME and the National Treasury by 31 October 2015. Two identified policies, procedures or strategies were achieved in the Corporate branch. All financial objectives were achieved. The Research and Development branch strategic objective includes the identification and confirmation of challenges for targeted solutions. The measurable objectives include the investigation of service delivery challenges to identify solutions for possible development, adaptation, piloting and/ or replication, in partnership with the relevant stakeholders. Quarter three’s expected outputs include the investigation of potential solutions and the assessment, risk analysis and selection of a potential solution from the submitted offerings. The former expected output was partially achieved, while the latter was not achieved.  The research and development’s achieved output includes the drafting of at least three case studies.  The Centre did achieve all expected objectives in the solution support and incubation. It had spent  R19.410 million of the allocated amount of R29.003 million, or 66.93% of the total budget.

Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Africa on Q3 Performance
Dr Dovhani  Mamphiswana, Deputy Director-General: Integrity and Anti-Corruption, PSC, presented the PSC’s third quarter performance. He noted that fewer outputs were identified by the output focus areas where the impact was more feasible – namely, service delivery inspections. The PSC had decided to place greater focus on improving research and data management capacity in order to improve the turnaround and the credibility of information that is provided to Parliament. The implementation of the reviewed government rules with effect from 1 April 2016 has improved the turnaround time in respect of the output of the PSC workplan.

Overall, by this quarter's end, the PSC had achieved 73% of its output. Of this, 8% was achieved after target date and 19% was achieved behind schedule. Most of the planned outputs for completion in the fourth quarter are on track and outputs that run for more than one financial year, scheduled to be completed in the next financial year, are also on track. Some of the projects that were dependent on the inputs from other departments were lagging behind because the departments did not provide the necessary information within deadline dates.  Some projects had been delayed due to additional activities such as peer review of evaluation reports, which was intended to improve the PSC's findings. In this quarter, the PSC had achieved 71% of the targets – 10 out of 14 planned targets were achieved, and four were not, owing to  capacity constraints and the need to further strengthen the quality of certain reports.

He moved on to note that his this quarter expenditure amounted to R16.17 million which represents 26.5% of the total adjusted budget of R226 million allocated to the PSC.

The Chairperson had asked for some specific statistics, and he stated that PSC managed to finalise more than 80% of the grievances and 67% of the complaints on its database during the quarter under review. The rate of improvement in the finalisation of grievances and complaints was attributed to the decentralisation of the decision making, by matters being delegated to provincial commissioners and assignment to national commissioners. Through delegations and assignments, the commissioners are grouped into panels that meet on a monthly basis to consider grievances and complaints. To ensure quality decision making and consistency, monitoring and evaluation processes were implemented.

In this quarter, public hearings were held on the effective, efficient and economic function of the Office of the State Attorney and the Office of the Chief State Law Adviser, and the report of the PSC was being finalised. The PSC had also approved a framework document that highlighted the importance of a value driven public service and defined each principle driving public administration in terms of section 195 of the Constitution, along with an explanation of the scope and content, and proposals on performance indicators.  PSC would embark on a  process of consultation with its stakeholders concerning the content of the framework document and would, in the 2016/17 financial year, undertake a number of pilot evaluations. Through the evaluation of the constitutional values and principles, the PSC would, in future, provide Parliament with trends on the performance of the Public Service against these principles. This would put the PSC’s state of the Public Service report on a sound footing.

Mr Mamphiswana also highlighted the successful roundtable on the 2014 State of the Public Service Report, in partnership with UNISA, in November 2015.  The roundtable stressed the importance of a partnership between academia and administration on skills training for a value driven and technically competent public service. Service delivery inspections were conducted in the education sector to determine the availability of learners and teacher support material. Inspections were also conducted at hospitals in Mpumalanga, Free State and Gauteng provinces, as well as border gates in the Free State. The reports on these inspections are currently being finalised. The availability of medical supplies and medical equipment had remained a challenge in most facilities. This was mainly due to budgetary constraints and in some instances, especially Gauteng, it was as result of delays in payment of service providers despite 30 day payment requirement. 

During the period under review, the PSC engaged with the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, with the Portfolio Committee on Health on the PSC’s report on the distribution of medicines, and with the Standing Committee on Appropriations on the Appropriations Bill, looking at performance versus expenditure, to support Parliament's oversight function.

A statistical overview of the 929 finalised cases of financial misconduct reported to the PSC by the national and provincial departments for the 2014/2015 financial year was also produced. In Q3, he PSC recorded 85% compliance on the submission of financial disclosure forms by the due date of 31 March 2015, and was engaging with the executive authority on those outstanding.  The PSC has also recently engaged with the representatives of the Department of Higher Education regarding the progressive realisation of access to further education, where it highlighted the importance of well-structured and regular engagements with stakeholders and students to ensure their views are taken into account when policy decisions are made.

In the Q3, the PSC had managed to spend 74.27% of its total budget. The revised allocation from the National Treasury over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) has already been agreed to by National Treasury. 

The PSC is still experiencing challenges with the procurement of office accommodation for its national office and selected provincial offices. Engagements with the Department of Public Works was under way to make sure that accommodation is secured. It had been busy in this quarter with filling posts of Director General and the Deputy Director General. 

Mr Mamphiswana concluded that the PSC was re-positioning  itself as an organisation that vigorously and proactively communicates effectively with stakeholders and aims to increase its visibility at national and provincial level.

Finally, he indicated that proposed activities in the fourth quarter would include:
- Nationwide inspections and citizens forums
- Tabling and release of public administration investigations/ complaints
- Tabling of research reports through roundtable discussions
- Public lecture series on key areas that will promote good governance and administration in the public service
- Preparations for the strategic planning session, from 12 to 14 April 2016, with the theme “Enhancing the role and impact of the PSC in building a capable and developmental state”. The following will be the key themes. He set out the key themes (see attached presentation for full details)

National School of Government (NSG) on Q3 Performance
Prof. Richard Levin, Principal, National School of Government, explained that the National School of Government (NSG) is driven by the National Development Plan imperative to build a capable state that is able to deliver to the needs of the public.  The NSG guidance included the  Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), Outcome 12 priorities, directives issued by the Minister, the directive on the induction programme, the induction of senior managers and building a Centre of Excellence in leadership for the public and private sectors. NSG  also recognised that the current performance levels on volume of training were unacceptable, but he would speak to steps taken to improve performance and master the basics of an education and training institute capable of delivering high volume. He would highlight the need to create organisational stability, including building stakeholder confidence towards the NSG offerings and increase access to its learning and development programmes. 

The NSG is currently refining the programme for the rollout of the compulsory induction programme. The intention is to have a more focused training of Front-Line staff in terms of the Ministerial directive and priorities and so it was looking at .closing development gaps that are determined by competency assessment and performance assessment at these particular levels. The NSG is also focusing on the prescribed minimum entry requirements into the SMS as well as a movement within the senior management service.

The two programmes were outlined (see attached presentation). The training policy, planning specialist services, finance and communication performance are on track. There was a challenge around corporate management, especially training management and delivery where the NSG was under 50% achievement on the target, and this would  impacts on the revenue of the organisation. 

The NSG issued around 24 000 quotations and stipulated that the conservative forecast is that there will be a total of 30 000 people trained, half of the original target. However, the School had issued stock for about 18 775 induction learners. The numbers may rise once the reconciliation is done and the attendance register checked. Training  is being immediately booked and confirmed this month, as well as training done through free online courses.

Prof Levin said that currently the NSG operates in an unregulated, decentralised training environment. This means that departments can use any training provider and can do any activities in the induction programme – such as sending staff to expensive three-day workshops  and tick that off as training done. He emphasised that the NSG needs to operate as a business, although currently it is not really configured to do so – for instance, it has no sales division to follow up on quotations. Changes are needed to  positively affect the delivery model.

He outlined that there is an online programme for performance management which is projected to be made compulsory. It is still in test phases, envisaged for level 9 to 12 and middle management. It is free and as a result, learners can enrol online. Learners can self-pace. The advantage of online learning is that it does not take employees away from the workplace, allows the learners to follow the course at their own pace, with support provided if needed, and certify themselves.

Prof Levin wanted to hone in on some achievements. The NSG was beginning to change the delivery model, and part of this referred back to the launch, in Q3, of the  management performance course online. In this year – 2016, The NSG stepped up the marketing site and managed to get over 1 000 officials registered, and it was also encouraging the large departments to support the initiative.

He noted that almost everything done by the NSG was outsourced. The NSG is a brokerage service, with over 140 programmes developed, and it will hire training facilitators.  This therefore makes the school a contract management agency. The need to further change the model has been discussed with the Portfolio Committee earlier.
The NSG established a programme management unit to develop health capacity for the induction programme. NSG had hired eight trainers and made a proposal to Cabinet to utilise public servants as trainers. This was approved in February 2016.  There were around 1 000 accredited trainers for the end of induction programme, who are serving public servants, and Prof Levin explained the importance of formalising the programme, and making sure that people identified were released.  This is an illustration of the fact that the school is shifting the model slowly.

A GIZ-funded programme was in force, to help the school build the capacity of public servants who have been accredited as trainers. Other achievements by the NSG included the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding with the China Academy of Governance, and pilot learning programmes in Beijing and field visits. The NSG proposal for funding which was approved by the EU in December 2015, and this should bring in  approximately €10 million over a period of five years – at current exchange rates, around R200 million. This would help the NSG to re-engineer itself to configure in line with the trading account and operations required to generate revenue. It would also help the school in terms of the delivery of compulsory programmes.

The NSG had issued certificates in effective leadership to 82 executive development programme participation programmes in collaboration with the North West University in October 2015. The NSG also supports the Premier of Gauteng province with emphasis of Frontline delivery staff through the excellent customer care programme developed for the staff in question. The NSG is working with Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA )on the funding side, with 1500 learners targeted, and over 1 000 unemployed graduates have been trained. NSG hopefully should train another 1  000 and meet targets by the end of the financial year.

A public service conference was held in Kimberley,  attended by 600 delegates. NSG  presented the induction programme for the SMS, and feedback would be used to strengthen induction materials for senior managers and other NSG programmes.  The NSG also introduced the library management system and which is being capitalised by the current collection.

Prof Levin noted the following challenges. The decentralized and unregulated public service human resource development environment puts the responsibility for training on the shoulders of the departments, and they merely trained as they saw fit. Value for money was not always known, nor impact, because there was no system of monitoring and evaluation of the impact of these training interventions

NSG is not geared to operate as a business although it had tried to rectify this by partnering with a number of institutions, such as Justice College, to allow other training institutions to use the NSG’s materials, which would assist in delivering high volume training. Free online programmes would help to increase numbers and put less strain on department releasing their staff – although the precise combination of online and face-to-face sessions would be settled over time, along with change management to ensure that  public servants do complete courses online and also get the benefits in terms of building their capacity.

The NSG relationship with the SETA will strengthen the quality of the entire public sector training and capacity development interventions, and increase the resource base. The NSG had reduced the vacancy rate to 11%, against a norm of 10% and was moving to ideal staff numbers. It had under spent its compensation budget, and also on goods and services, but should achieve full expenditure of the budget by Q4.  It had showed  overspend on capital assets , due to improvement needs in the IT area, but it would use savings from goods and services to cover this.

Prof Levin noted that the NSG was well below the comparative sales figures for the previous financial year, except for July and November. However, this was partially due to the debtors' book: the outstanding debtor’s book at the end of December was R40.1 million which was made up of R22.4 million from the prior years and R17.6 million for the 2015 year. The NSG collected R21.7 million of the debt in the current year relating to the prior years. The NSG had also now sent out letters to director generals. If the amounts were not paid by the end of February, the National Treasury had agreed to support the NSG in the debt collection. It was showing effective creditor payments, within 10 days,  administration systems in place.

The NSG does not intend revising the medium term strategic plan.  The NSG staff members are are currently putting together a suite of compulsory programmes, for which they will seek Ministerial guidance (see attached presentation for full details). He noted that the NSG also needed stronger support systems to track what was happening on the ground. The NSG outsourced everything, and had no campus. As the School built capacity, it would need a space to deliver training – and it was planning to having regular formal platforms for engagement, particularly for senior managers. NSG was not suggesting that National Treasury should  buy a new building, but maybe look for investment in an existing one by a public entity and then lease.

NSG had maintained its delivery targets and had constructed the Annual Performance Plan for the next financial year, with a target of 52 600, which includes the implementation backlog on the compulsory induction programme. However, Prof Levin noted that the NSG budget had been seriously cut – from R146 million down to R55 million. The NSG would be pushed to prove that it could trade and raise about R153.4 million, far more than the R134 million it had raised before. He was optimistic on the new management and operation system that would make every manager of the NSG far more accountable, with weekly meetings. He also noted that online courses were receiving a greater focus; it needed a lot of support but the potential was tremendous. NSG will obviously evaluate the impact  to see whether this kind of training is effective.

R10 million funding from the EU is going to help the School strengthen back office systems, as well as fund some of the programme responsibilities with the African Union.  National Treasury support should help with recovery of old debts and build up some reserves.

Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) on Q3 Performance
Mr Kenny Govender, Deputy Director General, DPSA, tendered an apology for the Director General who was out of the country.

He gave an introduction to the basis of the Annual Performance Plan and its verification. He noted that the third quarter performance was 71%. The DPSA acknowledged that the performance was not where it should be, and was not ideal but the Director General had put measures in place to try to ensure that the Department would achieve all its targets by the end of the financial year.  The required compliance and oversight reports that are expected of the department on a quarterly basis have all been done and submitted to the required institution on the required dates. He gave a brief overview of the targets achieved and highlighted the measures in place to address the shortfalls.

Under Programme 1 he noted that the report on the implementation of HR policies had been submitted, along with communications campaign reports and revised public service regulations had been drawn, amended and submitted to the State Law Advisers. Non achievement of a number of targets for the third quarter were affected by the revised Public Service Regulations, because the consultation period had been extended, and not submitted to the Minister as a result in this quarter.

Under Programme 2, the key project had been the draft of the Public Administration Management Act. Recommendations on the coordination of the Thusong Service Centres was being consolidated and the funding model has been investigated with the National Treasury. Four workshops had been conducted in provinces of the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga concerning the implementation of the policy on the provision of reasonable accommodation devices to support the recruitment of people with disabilities in the public service. The intention is to get towards the target of 2%. The department of public service is currently at around 1.5%. 

He noted that targets were not achieved in the sub programme that dealt with productivity and work measurement techniques, because of delays in the consultative workshops and because consultants had now been appointed, although the work should be completed by May 2016. Two sectors with whom the DPSA would work, who had experienced delays in productivity and work measurement techniques, were Department of Health, in the application of the productivity measurement framework, and the Department of Basic Education, dealing with labour relations in human resource management.

Mr Govender drew attention to two key projects in this quarter. The first was the feasibility study on public service graduate recruitment scheme, which was now concluded, and the DPSA was looking at various options arising out of that, to ensure that the public service had a  pipeline for recruitment into critical skills and skills gaps within the public service. The second key project entailed ensuring that the youth are brought in the public service and are given some exposure. DPSA supports the employment of at least 20 000 youth per year, and had achieved this target for the last three years. Currently the DPSA had recruited 14 000 graduates and was hoping to reach 20 000 by December. Work was underway for the implementation of the employee housing scheme.

Outstanding projects included the Q3 report on discipline management although this was now being finalised. Some governance programme around Chief Information Officer were not achieved. Four value propositions were developed but two were yet to be finalised. The ICT security and access management guidelines had been developed, and communicated to other departments. DPSA had been working with Departments of Education, Police, Social Development and Human Settlements. DPSA would   develop the propositions and works with the relevant departments around implementation. It also supported the State Information Technology Agency(SITA) in the purchasing of information and communication technology  products and services. The intention was to conduct a study across the public and private sector and to ensure guidelines to leverage government's ability to reduce the cost of both products and services. 

In relation to service delivery support, the DPSA had supported departments to improve their business processes, as well as their standard operating procedures. The focus is on improving back-office functioning, as well as improving turnaround times, both of which were measured as part of Outcome 12.

DPSA quality assures delivery plans received from departments, and had managed to validate 72.5% of the 83 delivery plans received by the Department, and provide comment, in Q3. It had conducted the national and provincial workshops in the Generation Africa Peer Review mechanism.

Four service delivery plan targets were not met, which were linked to the Batho Pele standards, but others were developed and were with the Director General for approval, then would be communicated and their implementation overseen. DPSA had also developed a set of toolkits and information guidelines to support departments. DPSA would try to  ensure that they will be achieved at the end of the financial year.

In the programme for DPSA governance and public administration, the draft Mentoring and Peer Support Framework for Senior Management had been finalised and presented to working sessions and the Cluster. .It would be piloted in identified departments next year. 

The information sharing sessions on competency assessment has been completed in collaboration with the service providers to ensure there was uniformity and consistency in application. Workshops had been conducted with departments to prepare them for implementing the directive on Compulsory Capacity Development, mandatory training days and minimum entry requirements for senior managers. DPSA also monitored and tracked the average time spent by the heads of departments, to ensure that there is some degree of consistency in appointments.

 and the broad belief is that if one ensures that there is some consistency in the appointment of heads of departments, there will be an improvement in performance in the departments as well.

Workshops were conducted to support the implementation of the revised determination on other remunerative work by departments, to prevent public servants from doing business with the state, in Q3, working with the Department of Arts and Culture and the Government Pension Fund.  DPSA would be giving full effect to these particular regulations. DPSA also introduced or developed an intervention strategy to support departments who were experiencing difficulty in relation to human resource, management organisational development and information technology, as measured by the  management performance assessment tool.

DPSA was not able to  finalise the guideline for operational delegations either, or the appointment of board members to State Owned Companies. It should be concluded in Q4.

In Q3, the overall budget was R941.482 million and the Department’s expenditure was R668.248 million, or 71% spending instead of 75%. DPSA is moving to a new building and there was a slight delay in the payment of services linked to the new building. A breakdown of expenditure and transfer payments was given across the categories (see attached presentation).
Within the DPSA, the average payment period of creditors was 12 days, and all payments in the last six months were done within the 30 day period. DPSA incurred  no irregular expenditure. The Director General had introduced weekly monitoring and reporting for under-performing targets. He was confident that by year end  DPSA should achieve 100% of its target.

Discussion
The Chairperson congratulated everyone who managed to achieve their targets despite all the difficulties, and looked forward to the final performance reports at year end.

The Chairperson felt that the CPSI presentation was too general and that it needed to be specific.  The Centre needs to tell the Committee about the hospitals where a reduction of long queues was achieved. She also asked whether the Centre is able to communicate to members of the public and whether the public knows about the work the Centre is doing, so that they would be aware of the positives and not merely complain at public meetings.

The Chairperson said the NSG had to operate as a business, particularly since National Treasury would not re-allocate the funding it had taken away.

The Chairperson noted that the PSC had only spoken of dealing with four portfolio committees, and she believed it could engage with more.

The Chairperson said that she would await the annual report, to check whether this Department would be able to achieve targets, and suggested that it should do away with any targets that were not achievable, as keeping them would only invite negative targets

Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA) asked the PSC to confirm that the positions of Deputy Chair and Chair of the PSC had been vacant for about two years. He was pleased to hear that there has been a huge improvement in the finalisation rate of grievances, but he did not think the target of finalising 67% of the complaints on the database during the financial year was enough. He asked whether the Commission will be able to express their success rate in terms of the average time taken to resolve grievances.

Mr van der Westhuizen asked the National School of Governance what the impact of the cut of the budget would be on staff. The Annual Report for 2014 said that staff expenditure was under R100 million per year.  He asked the School whether the number of staff had been reduced, or was in danger of having to retrench. He noted that amounts for sales were generated from contract management and the consultants, but the consultants were not in the budget as they were not staff. He wanted clarity on this point. He wondered if the compulsory induction course would be done without the facilitation of the National School of government or whether all the contracts had  to go through the school.

Mr van Westhuizen told the DPSA he has a problem with targets that are not qualitative, and he argued that merely saying that it held two workshops was not helpful; he wanted to know how many young people, for instance, had been helped to attain internships and artisan courses. He asked about the  number of successful workshops conducted by the public service and whether the administration department had been successful in achieving the target of employing 20 000 young people in internships. Again he noted that the workshop on Basic Education scheduled for 3 March had to do with productivity and work measurement in the education sector.  He asked for expansion on the workshop and asked how the Department intended to measure productivity in the sector for basic education.

Mr van der Westhuizen highlighted that the Maponya Mall, which has been cited as a Thusong Centre that represents a very good financial investment, is utilised exclusively by a number of government departments. The major shareholder is seemingly the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). He asked what DPSA meant by replicating models.

Mr S Motau (DA) stated that if the NSG was unable to improve its delivery performance in 2016, then its  financial sustainability would be at risk.  Any budget cuts beyond that would undermine the NSG’s ability to meet its financial obligations. He emphasised that South Africa has a bleak economic outlook.  In such situations, the first thing companies do is to not market and to not train. Given what had been already said about the budget cuts and the associated risks for the school, then he wanted to know the School’s contingency plan?

Mr Motau paraphrased the performance of the PSC in 2015/16, noting 85% compliance on the submission financial disclosure forms but asked what “communicating” with the executive authorities meant – was it begging people to submit, or what was it actually doing?

Ms A Lovemore (DA) noted that her questions could have been better informed if the presenters had got the documents to the Committee earlier.

She started addressing the PSCI, saying that she did not understand fully what it was doing and what was its bottom line and drew attention to the Finance Minister's statement about identifying necessary and unnecessary department and other organs of state. She asked what made the Centre necessary – she thought it might be that it actually effects changes through innovation and thereby changing the services that affect people on the ground. If so, then it must show better service delivery.

Ms Lovemore asked if the PSC Fact Sheet on financial misconduct would be produced in this year. She wanted to know why the Public Service Report had been done away with. She also questioned why financial misconduct has to be reported to the PSC, but corruption does not.

Ms Lovemore hoped that the DPSA would formulate its targets in terms of what it perceived to be achievable.  She also asked where the SETAs were channelled through DPSA and who they accounted to.

Ms Lovemore asked the NSG why the revenue is the lowest in five years. She also did not understand why outsourcing is not a sustainable model and why the school has to have premises.  She also expressed that she does not understand why the National School of government is necessary, if departments are identifying their own training needs and identifying their own trainers. It had correctly highlighted a real problem of lack of quality assurance within departments as to what courses are acceptable, what are not, and how the departments are spending their money on training.  She stressed that some departments might not have expertise and it therefore sounded like there should be much better communication with departments. She asked the NSG to expand on quality assurance within departments. She was concerned that departments were able to use any providers and thought there must be guidelines. She asked who was doing the ethics training, noting that there were constant complaints about corruption, although there is no measure for this, other than in financial terms.  She wondered if the budget speech's mention of centralised procurement would affect the training. A national level school might have a level of control over training providers. She noted that the Cabinet Meeting minutes had said that both serving and retired public servants would be utilised by the NSG for the induction programme.  She thought that retired public servants must be used for if currently serving ones were constantly released to do training, this suggested that their full-time jobs were not necessary. She asked whether the National School of Government had any say in what a worthy incentive could be for completing training.

Ms Lovemore thought that the government employee housing scheme was signed off through the Bargaining Council, but she was now interested in what level of communication there had been on the two changes. She asked whether individuals who rent have been told that they will no longer receive the allowance of R900, which would be going into a forced saving, whilst those who owned land in traditional areas would continue to obtain their pay-outs. 

Ms R Lesoma (ANC) suggested that it would not be possible for the delegates to respond to all the questions, and retorted to Ms Lovemore, when she started to question this, that it was traditional in this Committee for follow-ups to be done in writing.

Ms Lesoma expressed her concern to  the DPSA that the approach of the presentation was not uniform which posed a challenge to the Committee when trying to comparatively assess the performance of the different departments. She also suggested that the delegation should be downsized, given the budgetary constraints, and that delegates attend successive meetings interchangeably. She queried the comment on office space and said the DPSA must have offices. 

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