Social Security Services: Continuation of briefing by Public Service Commission on Administrative and Technical Improvements

Social Development

18 February 1998
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Meeting report

WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

19 FEBRUARY 1998

SOCIAL SECURITY SERVICES: CONTINUATION OF BRIEFING BY PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION ON ADMINISTRATIVE AND TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENTS

The focus of the committee meeting consisted of a slide presentation on "An Investigation into Social Security Services", which was presented by Advocate Visser of the Public Service Commission.

After the presentation, members of the committee asked questions.

Ms Turok (ANC) wanted to know what had already been implemented and what must still take place regarding suggestions for improvements. Adv. Visser responded that consultation between the Home Affairs and Welfare Departments was taking place. No political decision about the macro system had taken place yet. Hence it was difficult to proceed. The debate revolved around whether the macro system should be the national, provincial or hybrid model.

Mrs Chalmers (ANC) asked Advocate Visser what would should happen next in terms of the "building blocks" and who would authorise such steps. Adv. Visser replied that the committee could have a major impact on decisions and the committee should express itself on the report. It was decided that the next step for the committee was a comprehensive implementation plan. With this decision made, the meeting adjourned.

Herewith the report from the Welfare Committee Task Group set up to look at the considerations of the Public Service Commission investigative report.

 

Appendix 1:

This is a summary of the main proposals as reported in the PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION PRESENTATION OUTLINE of 19 February 1998

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (1)

· Functional Process

That the existing functional process relating to the consideration and payment of grants be upgraded and amended e.g.:

· Procedure be amended as set out in the Annexure B

    • Uniform computerised application forms be implemented
    • Procedure manuals be provided

· Pay-out methods be improved

· Voucher and cheque payments be phased out

2.2 That national policy be issued to provide inter alia for

· Reconsideration of reviews

· Proper verification

· Handling of backlogs

 

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (2)

· Computerised social security system

That a central IT database be maintained

That interim improvements be implemented

That the functionability of the system be analised

That a standardised management information system be implemented

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (3)

· Human resource management

That the organisational structure of the national Department of Welfare be restructured to provide inter alia for:

· (a) Co-ordination and allocation of the total budget for social grants

· (b) Co-ordination and rendering of support in respect of:

The system of payment of grants

HR

Provisioning administration

IT

· (c) The establishment of an evaluation unit (A proposed organisational structure will be submitted)

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (4)

That the organisation and staffing of provincial administrations be restructured with the view to:

· Separate functions to eliminate possibility of fraud and corruption

· Provide an appropriate post establishment

· Empower persons to enhance efficiency and effectiveness

· Provide sufficient IT support services

· Manage service providers effectively

· Vest accountability and responsibility in key administrative role players.

· Establishing an internal audit unit

(Draft organisational structures will be developed for consideration.)

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (5)

Staffing be enhanced, e.g.

· Proper career pathing

· Training

· Special attention be given to staff morale and work ethics

That a human resource plan be formulated and implemented for each provincial administration and that it be co-ordinated at national level.

A co-ordinated national training programme be launched to train personnel at national and provincial level

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (6)

· Finance

Establishment of management information system Improvement of cost calculations

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (7)

· Logistical matters

Accommodation upgrading strategy be formulated for each province and co- ordinated at national level.

Transport upgrading and cost efficiency strategy be implemented by the provincial administrations and coordinated at national level.

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (8)

· IT Support Service

An IT-upgrading programme be implemented and coordinated at national level.

That efficient support services be established at national and provincial level.

A helpdesk be provided to users.

Service level agreements be established Management of IT contracts.

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (9)

· Verification and Control

That verification and control be upgraded as proposed, e.g.:

- Utilisation of fingerprint form of Department of Home Affairs

- Linkage with other government information resources

- Internal improvement of systems

- Internal improvement of procedures

- Improved pay-out procedures

- Improved reconciliation procedures

SUMMARY OF MAIN

PROPOSALS (10)

· Fraud and corruption

That fraud and corruption be addressed as proposed, e.g.:

- System amendments

- Procedure amendments

- Instilling of a Code of Conduct

- Education of beneficiaries

- Internal auditing

- National evaluation

- Disciplinary steps

 

Appendix 2:

REPORT OF THE WELFARE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE TASK GROUP ON THE CONSIDERATIONS OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION REPORT

A meeting of the task group was held on Tuesday 17 February 1998.

· All parties represented at the task group selected the proposed Hybrid Model for a national social security system.

· The incremental approach to the implementation of the Hybrid Model would not be a viable option due to the lack of capacity at national level. National should rather invest in training of provincial officials to empower and capacitate provinces to be able to administer services efficiently. There should also be greater monitoring by the national department.

The following conditions MUST be met:

    • A national computer system (database)

· Types and amounts of grants must be determined and controlled nationally

    • Fiscal requirements for social security grants should be handled nationally (appropriation by Parliament) with conditional allocations to provinces.

· There must be national and provincial auditing.

· There must be accountability at both levels of government.

· Delivery of social security services should be a provincial responsibility but national should monitor closely.

· Future backlog. should be a provincial responsibility. All new applications should be processed within three months.

· Past backlogs should be a national responsibility.

· It should be noted that the present system cannot be changed unless the hitches in it are ironed out. Reliable data is essential before the system can be changed.

· Information technology should not be too advanced especially when taking into consideration the capacity in rural areas. Some form of manual back-up should also be maintained as an emergency measure.

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