Department of Public Service & Administration, National School of Government, Public Service Commission & Centre for Public Service Innovation on their 2016 Annual Performance Plans

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Meeting Summary

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) presented its Annual Performance Plan for 2016/17. In the Administration programme, key points related to the submission of quarterly internal audit and risk management performance reports to the audit and risk committee, monitoring and reporting on the DPSA's compliance to internal and external human resources and labour relations policy prescripts and on communications campaigns. The draft public service productivity measurement tool would be applied in two departments. DPSA will monitor and report to Cabinet on progress within the public service with regards to the provision of reasonable accommodation and assistive devices, and in meeting of the public service equity targets. It will also be doing research to inform how the Public Administration and Management Act regulations are to be formulated. It would be submitting proposed models on coordination of the Thusong Service Centres, and alternative service delivery models. The Labour Relations and HR department would be doing investigations into the percentage of vacant but funded posts, which should be below 10% in any department. DPSA would look to revise the current senior management service performance management and development systems, and a proposed model for the graduate service recruitment scheme. Overall, it was intended that departments, with DPSA support, should appoint 20 000 youths into learnerships, internships and artisan programmes. A value proposition was to be developed for the remaining two prioritised projects for the Departments of Health and Police. It would be monitoring provincial departments on their management of technology obsolescence. DPSA had also developed ICT security guidelines and it would support departments in implementing these. Three departments had been identified who would be supported in mapping their business processes and developing standard operating procedures, and DPSA would then monitor improvements in their turnaround delivery times.

Members suggested that the DPSA might need to address the housing subsidies offered to civil servants, since many fell in the “missing middle” where they did not qualify for bonds or for RDP houses. They asked for an indication of the number of suspended employees in the public service, and noted that there was no report given on the public service medical scheme or the workplace skills plan, and also not on the cuts to the wage bills.  Members asked how and when the DPSA would determines that departments needed support, and also wanted to know the rationale behind the figure of 20 000 youths to be taken in, and also how it would monitor responses of departments – particularly at local level – and their compliance to Batho Pele principles. They suggested that the Director General of the DPSA should be giving input into the performance agreements between the President and Ministers. They asked what difference had been made to the budget by the removal of the PSETA responsibility to the Department of Higher Education and Training. Members wanted to know whether the financial disclosure requirements had actually resulted in a lessening of corruption. They asked for the figures spent on disciplinary cases, and at what stage during hearings were experts appointed. They also enquired what DPSA was doing to make opportunities available for students to study forensic investigations, commenting that many graduates wound up not being given decent work, conditions or being incentivised sufficiently to seek careers in the public sector.

The National School of Government (NSG) presented its Annual Performance Plans, noting that it intended to strengthen the compulsory induction programme and give more focus to front line education and training. It would support the implementation of the directive on compulsory capacity development, mandatory training days and minimum entry requirements for senior managers. Training focus would close identified capacity gaps, and the ways to do this were described. The NSG 2016/17 budget transfer was reduced by R91 million and given this, it would have to concentrate on self-funding and generate more revenue, but it was likely that the current reserves of R92 million would be fully used. The trading account will have to raise R153 million from course fees and interest income, although historically the NSG had never managed to raise over R134 million. It was critical for the NSG to widen and deepen its training reach and broaden its stakeholders to include all relevant organs of state including local government. Members felt that the target of developing 21 policies was over-ambitious. They would like to see mandatory courses for every position, as some employees, especially those in water treatment works, were not qualified for their positions. The NSG seemed to train people for current positions rather than helping them get promoted. It felt that the three months for issuing certificates was too long. Members asked at what point departments were deciding not to use the NSG. They commented that compulsory induction programmes was holding back probation periods, and asked the NSG for assurance that it could service local government, and how courses could be changed. Written answers were requested.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) outlined its strategic goals, which were geared to creating an efficient, economic, effective and development oriented public service, and achieving impartial, equitable and excellent service delivery responding to the needs of the people. It aimed to make a positive impact on the sound labour relations and human resource management, and would be implementing recommendations from the developmental state conference. The budget for 2016/17 was R234.2 million. It aimed to continuously improve own governance and financial management, use resources appropriately and maintain an unqualified audit. Other programmes would, amongst others, promote sound human resources management and leadership practices in public administration, and provide participative evaluations of service delivery models and processes, whilst it would continue to finalise complaints on public administration practices and promote ethical practices. Members asked why the Western Cape Health Department was targeted for research in this financial year, questioned why it was envisaging meeting only 80% of targets, and why the budget for anti-corruption was cut. The PSC noted that its recommendations were not binding, but they questioned this in light of the Constitutional Court's ruling affirming the powers of the Chapter 9 institutions. It was asked if it had finalised the research on teacher support programmes, whether all research reports were published and if there was research on  politico administrative interface. Written answers were to be submitted.

The Centre for Public Service Innovation noted that it had achieved fully on all targets in the previous year. Its targets for the current year included developing and implementing at  least two financial or supply chain management policies and procedures, implementing at least two CRM policies and promoting a culture of innovation in the public sector to enhance service delivery through sustaining and managing knowledge programmes, products and platforms, as well as participating in regional and international programmes. It would be looking into service delivery challenges to identify possible solutions, often with partnerships, and would select some case studies for public service innovation through its knowledge platforms. Its budget for 2016/17 was R32 094 000. Members asked how the CPSI determines its priorities in line with budget constraints, and how it was performing internationally on innovation. CPSI was asked how its programmes were related to the Department of Science and Technology and if it had any innovations in place for breaking language barriers in black African schools. Written answers were to be submitted.
 

Meeting report

Department of Public Service and Administration: Strategic and Annual Performance Plan 2016/17 briefing
Mr Mashwale Diphofa, Director General, Department of Public Service and Administration, said the strategic priorities of 2015/2020 had not changed and he would then only focus on the 2016/17 Annual Performance Plan (APP) of the Department (also referred to as DPSA).

He outlined the most important targets as follows:
In the Administration programme, the DPSA plans to:
- Submit quarterly and annual financial statements to National Treasury
- Submit quarterly internal audit and risk management performance reports to the audit and risk committee
- Monitor and report on the DPSA's compliance to internal and external human resources and labour relations policy prescripts and procedures
- Report on communication campaigns.

The Policy, Research and Analysis branch will:
- Apply the draft Public Service Productivity measurement tool in two departments
- Monitor and report to Cabinet on the progress made by the public service with regards to the provision of reasonable accommodation and assistive devices, and in meeting of the public service equity targets.
- Conduct research to inform the design of the draft Public Administration and Management Act (PAMA) regulations for identified sections
- Submit the proposed appropriate institutional model for the coordination of Thusong Service Centres
- Develop alternative service delivery models
- Refine the current draft of organisational functionality assessments tool.

The Labour Relations and Human Resource Management programme will:
- Monitor and report on the percentage of funded vacant posts of departments against a target of 10% or less
- Revise the current Senior Management Service (SMS) performance management and development systems and submit for approval
- Submit the proposed model of graduate service recruitment scheme
- Support departments in appointing the targeted 20 000 youths into learnerships, internships and artisan programmes and report on the number of youth appointed and absorbed by departments

The Governance and Chief Information Officer Programme will:
- Develop an e-enablement value proposition for the remaining two out of five prioritised projects for the Department of Health and SAPS.
- Monitor and report improvements made by all national and provincial departments in managing technology obsolescence.
- Support departments in the implementation of the DPSA developed ICT security guidelines.

The Service Delivery Support programme will:
- Support three prioritised departments to map their business processes and to develop standard operating procedures
- Monitor the improvements in the turnaround times of the delivery of services provided by the three prioritised departments
- Support prioritised departments to improve the quality and implementation of their service delivery improvement plans.

Discussion
The Chairperson said the housing subsidy offered to civil servants was not sufficient and that most of them end up buying RDP houses as they did not qualify for bonds and also did not qualify for RDP houses.

Ms A Lovemore (DA) asked for the number of suspended employees in the public service. She commented that she was concerned that the competency framework had remained in draft form since 2012. She asked who approved the productivity toll. The DPSA did not report on its medical schemes or its work skills plan. She asked when the DPSA determined what departments needed support. The cutting of the wage bill was not mentioned in the APP. She also recommended that the Director General must have an input into the performance agreements that the President signed with Ministers.

Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA) asked the difference that had been achieved or seen by the transfer of PSETA away from the DPSA to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). He asked how effective were the financial disclosures and whether people disclosing was enough to avoid corruption. He asked if people needed to disclose their loans. He asked if public servants annually were asked to attest that they did not have any interest in all the meetings that were held within a particular year. He also asked if the community development programme in the organogram worked well.

Mr M Ntombela (ANC) also asked about the criterion used to identify departments that need support. He asked what informs the 20 000 figure for uptake of graduates, given the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. He asked about the responsive rate of departments to issues raised by communities in line with Batho Pele principles.

The Chairperson asked to be given the figure for the amount that was spent on disciplinary cases, and wondered at what stage during hearings would experts be appointed. She asked what DPSA was doing to make opportunities available for students in search of industrial attachments for studies into forensic investigations. She noted that many graduates were being given tasks of serving tea, complained of sexual harassment and favouritism, and the R4 000 stipend given was no motivation to make the public service a career of choice.

Mr Diphofa replied that he will make a presentation on the housing scheme for public servants at another meeting. The competency framework was already operational. The approvals differed, depending on the nature of the programmes, as some were approved by the Minister while others such as Thusong Centres needed Cabinet approval. The Government Employee Medical Scheme (GEMS) was still in existence, but it was dependent on the contribution of public servants, but DPSA cannot report on it as it was not part of the vote. The training of public servants was the mandate of National School of Government, and it would be reporting on particular challenges at a later stage. The DPSA already knew of the departments targeted for support, but in the APP there were reports on future plans. DPSA was doing further work with the National Treasury on the public sector wage bill, and ways to reduce it. It was being quite strict on the appointment of staff additional to the establishment. The DPSA was not particularly happy with the way in which some of the provinces were performing. He noted that the figure for the PSETA vote for 2015/16 was R93 million. He commented that the requirement to make disclosures will contribute to reducing corruption, and it helps with monitoring going forward. The 20 000 recruitment target was dependent on the level and capability of the public service to absorb and monitor the graduates. The DPSA was using internal capacity in all disciplinary cases and departments that outsourced legal advice did this at their own cost.

National School of Government (NSG) Strategic Plan and APP 2016/17
Professor Richard Levin, Principal, National School of Government, said the NSG will strengthen the compulsory induction programme and give more focus to front line education and training. The NSG will support the implementation of the directive on compulsory capacity development, mandatory training days and minimum entry requirements for senior managers.  The training focus will be on closing the identified capacity gaps. This in turn would be determined by a competency assessment and/or performance assessment at a specific performer level, a combination of generic and technical professional training and prescribed minimum entry requirements into senior management and movement within senior management.

He noted that the NSG 2016/17 budget transfer was reduced by R91 million, from 146 million to R55 million. Given that reduced budget, the revenue generation projection for 2016/17 will have to ensure self-funding and the NSG will use up all its current reserves of R92 million. The trading account will have to raise 153 million from course fees and interest income based on an annual budget of R211.1 million. Historically and with the current approaches to the execution of plans, the NSG had never raised more than R134 million. It was critical for the NSG to widen and deepen its training reach and broaden stakeholders to include all relevant organs of state, including local government. The NSG has to operate on business management principles and close training deals while focusing on building the capable developmental state envisaged in the NDP.

Discussion
The Chairperson asked any if it was possible for the NSG to work with Statistics South Africa (StatsSA)  on the programme that it runs in Stellenbosch.

Ms Lovemore said that she had been warmly welcomed when she visited the NSG campus and she enjoyed the professional interaction. The target of developing 21 policies was, however, too much. She would like to see mandatory courses for every position, as some employees, especially those in water treatment works were unqualified for their position. The NSG seems to train people for their appointed positions also, rather than looking to promotion. She commented that the period of three months for issuing certificates was too long.

Mr Ntombela asked at what point departments decided not to use the NSG for particular training programmes and how prevalent was this issue. He asked whether the NSG had any recommendation on a career of choice for young people? He asked about its global ranking and international connections.

Mr van der Westhuizen said the NSG was under financial pressure. The induction programme for newly appointed public servants was holding back the probation period of public servants. He asked who can change the contents of compulsory programmes. The NSG must assure the Committee on its capacity to service local government as it seems to serve all provincial and national governments. He asked if there were any challenges in trying to change the courses for the NSG.
The Chairperson asked that written responses to these questions should be submitted by Friday of this week.

Public Service Commission (PSC) Strategic Plan and APP 2016/17
Dr Dovhani Maphiswana, Director General, Public Service Commission, said the PSC strategic outcome oriented goals were to:
- Make a positive impact on the attainment of an efficient, economic, effective and development oriented public service
- Make a positive impact on the attainment of impartial and equitable service delivery that responds to the needs of the people and treat them with dignity
- Strengthen institutional capacity
- Make a positive impact on the attainment of sound labour relations and human resource management

The budget for the PSC for 2016/17 was R234.2 million. Over the medium term, the PSC will promote the constitutional values, principles and implement recommendations from the developmental state conference. The Administration programme will ensure that the PSC achieves its strategic objectives through continuous improvement of governance and financial management, the appropriate use of resources and maintaining an unqualified audit. The Leadership and Management Practices programme will identify and promote sound human resources management and leadership practices in public administration. Monitoring and Evaluation programmes will provide institutional assessments and programme evaluations that support policy and management decisions. The PSC will also provide participative evaluations as well as evaluations of service delivery models and processes to support policy and management practices. The Anti Corruption and Integrity programme aimed to investigate and finalise an average of 60% of complaints lodged, to improve public administration practices. Ethical conduct of public servants will be promoted through financial disclosure forms submitted to the PSC, the referral of 90% National Anti-Corruption Hotline cases, and providing advice on professional and ethical conduct in the public service.

Discussion
The Chairperson asked why the Western Cape Health Department was targeted for research in this financial year.

Ms Lovemore noted that she had also been warmly welcomed when she visited the PSC offices. She asked why the PSC aimed at achieving only 80% of its targets. She asked why the budget for anti-corruption was cut. The PSC notes that its recommendations were not binding, however, the Constitutional Court ruling affirmed the powers of Chapter 9 institutions.

Ms van der Westhuizen said the PSC does independent research on public service delivery. He asked if the report on teacher support programmes had been published. He asked if all PSC research reports were published on its website. He asked if any research had been done on politico-administrative interface. He asked if any research was done on food distribution and why it escalates during election time.

The Chairperson said she visited the food bank in her constituency and food was distributed daily. The only time the media reported on food distribution was during election time. Some of the foods distributed were perishables and could not be stocked for longer.

Mr Ntombela said the PSC must investigate what hindered normal food distribution on a daily basis.

The Chairperson asked that written responses must reach the Committee Secretary by Friday.

Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) Strategic Plan and APP 2016/17
Ms Thuli Radede, Executive Director, Centre for Public Service Innovation, said that the Centre (or CPSI) had achieved 100% of the 2015/16 targets as set out in the 2015/16 annual operational plan. In 2016/17, the CPSI will submit the organisation’s medium term expenditure framework input to the DPSA and the National Treasury. Quarterly performance reports will be submitted to DPSA, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and National Treasury. In this year, it also intended to:
- Identify, develop and implement at least two financial or supply chain management policies and procedures
- Identify, develop and implement at least two Customer Relations Management (CRM) policies, procedures, plans or strategies
- Promote a culture of innovation in the public sector to enhance service delivery through sustaining and managing knowledge programmes, products and platforms
- Participate in regional and international innovation programmes for learning, sharing and profiling of South African innovations to strengthen good governance initiatives.
- Investigate service delivery challenges to identify solutions for possible development, adaptation, piloting and replication in partnership with relevant stakeholders.

She added that case studies will be selected for public service innovation, for dissemination through the CPSI knowledge platforms and products. Innovative models will be demonstrated to public servants and it will facilitate the replication of successful models in identified sectors and find solutions that improve service delivery.

The budget for 2016/17 was R32 094 000.

Discussion
Mr van der Westhuizen appreciated the work done by the CPSI on reducing queues in hospitals in Gauteng in the previous financial year. He asked how it determined priorities in line with budget constraints.

Ms Lovemore said that she would in due course make an unannounced visit to CPSI offices. She commented that the APP book was full of terminology she did not understand and the presentation was more simplified than she had been expecting.

Mr Ntombela asked how the CPSI was performing internationally on innovation. He asked how the CPSI's efforts were related to the Department of Science and Technology. He asked if it had any innovations in place for language barriers in black African schools.

The Chairperson asked that written responses should be received by Friday, ahead of the budget vote the the following week.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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