A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION
1 June 1998
HEARING OF EVIDENCE ON PROVINCIAL REPORT: FREE STATE PROVINCE
[Editor's note: cannot use this set of minutes]
Chairperson: Mr Manie
Documents handed out:
Freestate Provincial Administration: Provincial Review Report (See appendix)
Director . General Free State
Portfolios Committee and Members of Parliament
Purpose of meeting:
1. Hearing is the result of the Provisional audit report by the Minister of State of affairs or what happened or the progress since the last report (Friday) or what good practices to further to better parliament and recommendations good practices - to follow.
2 To also inform how we can assist to provinces constructively and see or address problems.
Welcome Director General of Free State Dr Setar: Introduce the memorandum submission. Advocate Wessels legal advisor of the legislative matters to assist Dr Setar. Dr Setar highlighted reflections of the management of provinces and of the consultation with the MEC.
The Ncholo reports highlighted basis of the discussion report on progress.
The Orange Free State province as the least fragmented and remained intact even though cocous system managers were well and integrated. The National System was described as a integrated system, pyramid system and centralized as in report of the media, personal, labour and financial report.
The different departments had to be multi skilled.
Constraints of staff shortage, budget, were recognized where delegations with Provinces filled points in management. The problem was at the top of the pyramid where affirmative action was a very slow process.
A brief highlighted discussion of the new role of the Director General in what the past constitution had stated is discussed from page 3 to 4. Currently there is new and expected corporate administration functions such as to; render advise, prove corporate functions and provide information and assist the Premier in political problems and be a Secretary to cabinet.
As Head of the Administration the Director General report directly to MEC head authority.
Questionable problems arise at looking at the powers of the Premier and Director General therefore the Director General is placed in a difficult position according to Dr Setar for example the political responsibility of the Premier. The Director General ensure that the department do something about for example the youth but he does not have the power to delegate or instruct but only by negotiating. There is no legal instrument to put in place the powers of the Director General "the power of the Director General can only go so far".
The Province is mind full of GEAR and cost containment with support of ESCORT and down sizing is in control.
Political interference is attempted by addressing and by having periodic meeting with the management of escort. Meetings are to open the lines of communications. The challenges lie in the writing of the contract and what is blurred in writing of the delegation of members. Challenging cause:
There is lack of direction and uncertainty regarding true powers of the heads of departments as paragraph 3.2 on page 6. A poor role of definitions exist. There is a clear policy framework addressing what is well and it is generating positions. There is a started process at provincializing state documents.
Page 8 paragraph 4.2 issues of process strengthening to co-ordinate is a difficult effort. Dr Setar quoted: "Adam Smith as a baker that supply you with bread but out of human selfish needs and ends".
Therefore there is a battle to co-ordinate only where people see were gain will come to. Co-ordination is mentioned as important in the meeting with the escort, that find do find the present level great. The projects easier to coordinate is for example urban development.
Page 9 Policy Direction is aimed at the objective of policy as directed specifically and working hard to implement ideals.
Page 10 Clustering was brought down on the RDP of provinces which led to the development pollars and is still working in that frame work. Misconduct of case is which become legal issue which becomes a "war". The 2nd paragraph will highlight the legal manoevoures and those contained internally and do not create "wars". Wars usually lead to victims amongst innocent people. It is important to deal with it in more detail.
On page 13 Dr Setar highlighted the key achievements of the Free State Province
[Dr. Setar showed a thick document (DIFFET Report) where he mentioned that only three copies were available and in that he briefly stated and raised concerns in a broad sense that are the answers to some previous arguments.
The contents of the report consisted of mentioned item number 3: The Focus of the project; service delivery; financial planning. Number 5 Consultations: strategic planning; sauce-economic studies and M.T.F.; course center management program and human resource management. The document provided on going guidance of the capacity building of the course of two years and how it has developed over the past three months. The result at the end of the course would have been that three senior Service Officials would have been trained and they would have learned on the transformation and be experts when the project ends in two years and be strong consultants even for flit other provinces. Through this project of the Jacobsdal centre, even major of cities and town clerks would learn and train to build and manage their own city councils and develop and learn to assist local government. In addition on page 20 the UN project is initially to be implemented by DIPSA. The project answer are in the NCH report. It is structured in a manner that that certain aspects and qualities of provinces handle certain expert areas. Otherwise Dr.
commented that the co-ordination in Bloemfontein was doing quite well in terms of working together. These contributions might even be used by cabinent to perfect the system.
Questions to Dr Setar:
Before the actual questions were actually opened Dr Setar stated that a joint meeting between the Executive and the managers involved in these projects was important to deal with any possible misunderstandings. Dr Setar mentioned the importance of the development of common practices such as in EXCOR where the Director Generals meet every two weeks: on Wednesday EXCOR meets and then on Thursday Dr Setar meets and consults and addresses the concerns of internal arrangements that can not be legalized. For example there has been concern in the area of panic participation Minmax, because the building of a Corporate culture is important and it can not be legalized. Some guidance is needed and policy direction of what the intentions are and not knowing what the overall policy is that the Director General must build corparetness in the Provincial Government. It does need guidance in the situation of where the Premier cannot delegate the Director General but can advise the Premier that the government or province is going for example wrong. Therefore Dr Setter stressed with great emphasis on the clarification on the role of the Director General.
Question by Cherryl: About the financial development who is going to make it happen, and who is responsible for that?
-The internal auditing process, elaborate
-The relation of the Director general to the assessment of the year 2000 compliance
-Is the executive responding to pub account of the community
Questions by Rev.Phenethi: Complained that he had not received the report earlier to and being able to process the importance of the report to base questions as a form of questions to debate relevant answers.
What right the Director General has in relation to the MEC
The elimination of ghosts in the province of the Free State and the recovery of money and how those are involved in the elimination.
Prof. Marivate: Questions of the role of the Director General as accounting officer or in the constitution of provinces. The Director General finds it difficult to fulfill his duty
Answers to the questions:
The Free State has no provincial head each Head of the Department responsible of finance directed the MEC as, political head and to operate under the treasury.
(many of the members present were not agreeing on these matters and shaking their heads) Dr Setar raised the matter of where to locate qualified financial managers and that it has been advenised to short list the proper people for the posts.
Cherryl the question asked about the year 2000, the computer bug and the accounting level of addressing in general how the problem of local government is going to handle the problem especially vulnerable departments like the water department, there fore a moratorium has to be found to clear the situation.
Question by Mr Dexter. The question about the exists that have to be discovered by the police and further investigation needs to be called for and to examine the payment system. In April they bad a head count in the department of to investigate of why there are "ghosts"
Mr Phillip from the ANC had a comment to the committee, where the committee does not only affect the provinces but that relationships between the Director General and the president is not a solved problem and it will be further flagged in other departments. He mentioned that it is important for the committee to discuss the other little issues "left around that do cause problems"
Question by Mr Dexter: Does the Director-General just chair Department Managing committees or does he act as a co-ordinator
Provincial report: Free State 01/06/98
FREE STATE PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION
REPORT BY THE DIRECTOR GENERAL
Provincial Review Report: Hearings On Provincial Governments To The Portfolio Committee
1 June 1998
On behalf of the government of the Free State we wish to express our appreciation to appear before the portfolio committee and report on progress since the Ncholo report. Let us emphasise however that the Ncholo team did not discover anything the province was oblivious of. Instead we maintain that we were in full control of the situation. First, our processes were intact as we worked to get the fundamentals right. The Executive Council was well on its way developing policy and setting priorities. Secondly, the Executive Council had approved a Cabinet System with the objective of developing a coordinating system and promoting corporate governance. Clearly, the Free State government is committed to develop a common approach toward governance.
It is unfortunate that the Ncholo team developed a blind eye to many achievements of the provincial government. We are not entirely critical of the findings of the report. All we are saying is that it should have been balanced. Consequently, in reporting on the questions sent to us by your committee, we shall structure this document as follows:
In the first part we will address the issues raised directly. Secondly, we will highlight achievements of the government since the decentralisation and performance improvement initiative which was started in 1996.
2. KEY PROVINCIAL ACTIVITIES
The government needed to decentralise a highly centralised administration and this process was already on-going at the time of the Ncholo audit. Clearly, we as the administration had identified shortcomings brought about by decentralisation. These included lack of skills and expertise and delays in appointments. Some of these delays were due to lack of delegations on personnel matters particularly to Heads of Departments. However, decentralisation is now reaching a completion stage and analysis of problems and possible solutions is being undertaken. Various human resource policies are being developed and multi-skilling initiatives are being undertaken.
The functions that were decentralised are as follows:
· Legal administration services
· Media- and Liaison services
· Support Services (typing and messenger services)
· Personnel Administration services
· Labour Relations services
· Financial Administration
The aim of the decentralisation initiative is to provide each provincial department, including the Office of the Premier with their own infra-structure to render general and certain specialised support services. The objective is to facilitate speedier decision-making and better service delivery.
As decentralition is being completed, the issue of delegations arises. Previously, the powers were virtually all with the Provincial Service Commission. In time, the Director General received powers to recommend appointments below the management echelon. Those in the management echelon remained with the Commission. The result was that processes for employment were very long and tedious. It is therefore not surprising that the Office of the Premier has functioned since January 1997 without an approved macro-structure. The result is that it has not been easy to till key critical vacant posts.
In the last few weeks the Director General received delegations to recommend the filling of posts up to the level of Deputy Director General. We hope that this will expidite appointments of officials particularly in critical posts.
It is clear that in terms of the new legislative framework the role of the Director General will shift to strategic issues. Thus, as an administrative head, the functions of the Director General will be inter alia as follows:
· To ensure corporate co-ordination within the government wit the objective of promoting efficiency and effectiveness.
· To reader advice on the strategic and integrated development of the provincial government.
· To initiate administrative policy with a view to promote the corporate functioning of the government as a whole.
· To provide information
· To proactively monitor efficiency and effectiveness in government, identifying shortcomings and submitting rectifying proposals in addressing such shortcomings.
The new strategic functions of the Director General can be summarised as follows:
· Premier Political Programme Services (i.e. high profile political-related functions such as Gender Management, Youth Management, Disability Desk, the Management of the Premier's Fund, and so on),
· Corporate Transformation and Management Services (for the entire provincial government)
· Secretariat Services (various).
· Integrated Development and Planning Services (for the entire government).
· State Law Advisory Services
Of great concern is that there are those who hold the view that now that the Director General is going to be placed in the Premier's Office, his work will diminish and that he will require only small skeletal staff. Evidence points to the contrary. In his strategic role, the Director General will now have to be supported by a small but highly qualified staff. For example, the Director General of Public Service and Administration has approximately 50 management echelon posts with a staff establishment of 350 posts. Clearly, in this regard, the level of responsibility was taken into account.
In this section, I would like to conclude as follows:
The question regarding role definitions of the Director General and that of Provincial Heads of Department, is a serious one. At present the Director General is still defined as Head of the Provincial Administration by the Public Service Act, 1994. In this Administration his position has been seriously eroded by the fact that Provincial Heads of Department report directly to their respective MECs and the fact that he is not the accounting officer for the whole Administration. These two factors made it very difficult for the Director General to manage (and take responsibility) for the Provincial Administration as a corporate entity.
In the proposed new legislation regarding the structuring of the public service, this matter is veiled in further uncertainty. The Director General is now coupled only to the Office of the Premier and will in future only be able to act is Head of the Provincial Administration by way of reflection to the superior position that the Premier takes in Executive Council and not because his or her powers and functions are spelt out as such in legislation.
It is therefore suggested that serious thought, at a political level, be given to the question of whether the Provincial Administration must in future still function as a corporate unit or not. Whatever the outcome of this debate might be, will determine the position of the Director General as Head of the Provincial Administration. Should the outcome be that the Provincial Administration must in future still function as a corporate entity, the Director General must be given clear statutory powers to enable him or her to manage public administration in the Province properly. Should the decision be to take away the corporate character of the Provincial Administration, the position of the Director General, as Head, obviously becomes superfluous.
The Executive Council has managed its developmental objectives well within financial constraints. It has effected down-sizing generating savings amounting to millions. The benefit of these savings have accrued to national. While the province supports this initiative, incentives could be considered for high achieving provinces.
Nevertheless, the province has initiated its own cost cutting measures intended to generate or free up hinds for development projects. The Department of Finance, Expenditure and Economic Affairs has developed cost cutting measures adopted by the Executive Council.
In terms of the cost cutting measures, all departments will be required to submit actions plans to the Executive Council detailing how they intend to achieve political objectives in the 1998/99 budget year. It is expected that savings will be generated from reduced personnel budgets. Consequently, various control measures have been set to contain personnel budgets.
3. POLITICAL INTERFERENCES IN ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS, LACK OF DIRECTION AND UNCERTAINTY AS TRUE POWERS OF HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND POOR ROLE DEFINITION BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT ARMS OF CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION AND BETWEEN CENTRAL AND REGIONAL/DISTRICT STRUCTURES
3.1 Political interferences in administrative functions
The Ncholo report indicated a great concern about role confusion in line management functions and the role of politicians. It indicated that the MECs see themselves as accountable officers of line departments and that they make operational decisions and internal managerial decisions.
This problem is being addressed on an ongoing basis. Discussions between MECs and HODs are being encouraged and further joint meetings between the Executive Council and head of departments have been held. These have tended to alleviate misunderstandings and tensions. However, there are other issues particularly in the area of labour relations which are often a source of conflict.
On the whole this aspect is improving. Some departments report clear roles between the MECs and the head of department while others report that political interference is necessary as political guidance us needed during the transition stages of transformation. The latter view is a minority view as it conflicts with the direction this government is taking in terms of accountability. The point is that, if managers are going to sign performance contracts, they must enjoy unimpeded space to execute their contracts. Any kind of interference, be it political, will not make this possible. Consequently, those signing performance contracts must be aware of the implications.
3.2 Lack of direction and uncertainty regarding true powers of heads of departments
The heads of departments fall under the political leadership of their MECs. In terms of the Public Service Act, they have received all human resource delegations. As accounting officers, they have all the responsibilities conferred upon them under the Exchequer Act Further, they receive all Executive Council resolutions on matters pertaining to their departments. They further receive support from their colleagues through The interdepartmental Management Committee (IDMC) chaired by the Director General. In addition the Director General is available for one on one consultations. Recently, the Executive Council approved the appointment of Financial Managers for the departments and the capacity of human resource directorates in these departments is also being improved. New HODs receive relevant documentation on their statutory duties and then follow these up with a series of consultations with relevant stakeholders. Clearly, the HODs have more than adequate support from the government to perform their functions.
3.3 Poor role definition between the different arms of central administration and between central and regional/ district structures
It is not clear what is being referred to here. However, different arms of government have their points of reference either through statutory powers or if not statutory, through clearly stated terms of reference. For example, in the provincial Executive council, all the committees have terms of reference. The administration, where it has committee, they also have set terms of reference.
In the past, relationship between the administration and the provincial service commission have been strained due to perceived overlaps in roles. However these are being ironed out through bilateral meetings where necessary. In terms of relations between the central administration and the districts, delegations have been made to ensure smooth administration.
4. NO CLEAR POLICY FRAMEWORK, LACK OF CO-ORDINATION BETWEEN ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURES AND STRATEGIC PLANS, AND FAILURE TO MONITOR AND EVALUATE SERVICE DELIVERY PERFORMANCE AGAINST OBJECTIVES/TARGETS
4.1 No clear policy framework
There exists various policy frameworks, on cross cutting issues, developed particularly by the Office of the Premier and the Department of Finance, Expenditure and Economic Affairs. Those developed by the former focus on human resource management while the latter focus on financial management. Other departments such as the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport develop documents particularly on procurement for use by the administration.
Generally most departments have clear policy frameworks based on service plans and set targets. Same departments have developed strategic plans only. Those that have gone a long way include the Departments of Health and Social Welfare.
The Executive Council Sub-Committee on Policy, Planning and Development is also responsible for policy development and has in recent months stepped up its work load. This Sub-Committee has held workshops to provide policy direction to government. In recent months, particularly this election year, the Sub-Committee is striving to ensure that departments focus on deliverables.
The Executive Council Sub-Committee on Finance advices on financial matters and is also a mandating committee on labour matters.
The Sub-committee of the Executive Council on Implementation provide guidelines to departments on implementation matters. This Sub-Committee will assist where policy may not be clear but there are implementation problems. This committee focuses on the implementation of Executive Council resolutions.
4.2 Lack of co-ordination between organisational structures and strategic plans
Co-ordination is effected through the Executive Council and its Sub-Committees. The interdepartmental Management Committee (IDMC) is also responsible for working towards co-ordination. The Free State Government has a small but a well conceived Executive Council System. The Executive Council is linked to the administration through the Director General to the IDMC. The Director General is the Secretary of the Executive Council and he chairs IDMC. In this way, he is able to inform IDMC about Executive Council decisions and vice versa. Both the Executive Council and IDMC are supported by a Secretariat co-ordinated by the Director General. The Secretariat personnel currently focuses on recording resolutions and ensuring that they are implemented. This is a very limited role and we hope to increase its capacity to also do analysis especially on issues of co-ordination. Ideally, people heading Secretariat Services, that is the section that is responsible for Integrated Development and the one for Executive Council services should be at Chief Director level.
The service plans are making it possible for departments to evaluate their organisational structures and to fit them into their strategic plans. This has been particularly effective in the departments of Health arid Social Welfare which have gone a long way with the process. Other departments have only done service plans and are yet to restructure their structures. Budgets are also being decentralised with cost centres being established to align these processes to strategies. The Office of the Premier is well on its way in this direction, albeit as an internal arrangement since the macro-structure is in process of being approved.
The Office of the Premier, through the Directorate of Human Resources and Organisational Development supports the Director General in driving the entire transformation of the government. This core develop the areas of capacity building, training and human relations. The Office of the Director General also co-ordinate Integrated Development Planning and is currently developing a comprehensive document in collaboration with the departments.
Last year, the Executive Council organised departments into clusters to ensure co-ordination. The structure of the clusters is spelled out below. Please not that these clusters are structured in a manner that specifies lead, support and co-ordinating roles for various provincial departments. The clusters are:
· Housing and Infrastructure
Lead: Housing and Infrastructure
Support: Health Education and Agriculture
Co-ordination: Local Government and Housing
· Job Creation and Economic Development
Lead: Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism Public Works
Support: Sport, Arts, Culture; Science and Technology and Safety and Security
Co-ordination: Environmental Affairs and Tourism
· Human Resource Development
Lead: Education, Sport, Arts, Culture, Science & Technology, Social Welfare and Health
Support: Not specified
The geographical focus of these clusters covers Bloemfontein, Botshabelo/Thaba Nchu, Sasolburg, Kroonstad, Goldfields, Eastern and Southern Free State.
It should be clear that these clusters are based on the RDP pillars which the government adopted earlier on.
These pillars are:
· Investment in human capital
· Meeting basic needs
· Transformation of the public service
· Economic and infrastructure development
· Crime prevention
· Environmental management
The cluster concept is therefore preceded by multi-sectoral planning or integrated development strategies as spelled out by the pillars. The government is currently developing an integrated development plan as an on-going process. Consequently, discreet sector specific projects will be identified for implementation. Therefore, all efforts are being made to ensure co-ordination.
4.3 Failure to monitor and evaluate service
Service delivery is monitored oil an on-going basis by the beads of departments in collaboration with the MECs. In most departments clear targets have been set and agreed upon and this will thus make it easier to monitor outputs of departments. As we have indicated, the Implementation Sub-Committee of the Executive Council also assists in monitoring. The IDMC, chaired by the Director General also does co-ordination work. The IDMC has set up a task group to develop terms of reference for co-ordination at the management level. That is, what kinds of activities need to be co-ordinated and how must it be done.
5. BACKLOG OF MISCONDUCT CASES AND LACK OF DISCIPLINE GENERALLY
Provincial heads of departments are happy to report that since this function has been decentralised, there can be no stopping departments on addressing all backlogs. The Interdepartmental Management Committee (IDMC) will however be provided with a statistical report which would also depict current status as at a particular date. A feedback mechanism to the Executive Council will then be developed and implementation thereof is guaranteed prior to 30 September 1998.
Of concern however is that current legislation, procedures and regulation still cause officials charged with misconduct to rely on certain technicalities thus delaying the process of finalising cases. It must be remembered that negative administrative impact will result, if a misconduct case is not finalised within a period of six (6) months. The result of this is that because of these cumbersome procedural issues, a single case of misconduct can sometimes take many months to complete. I would certainly be in favour of a workshop to be held, bringing all stakeholders together and look at ways of relationships, procedures dial makes administration privy to abuse and thus having a negative effect on service delivery.
6. OVER CENTRALISATION OF FUNCTIONS SUCH AS HUMAN RESOURCES AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, INSUFFICIENT DELEGATION OF KEY MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS
As reported earlier, the Free State Government decentralised all human resources functions with effect from 1 January 1998. In respect of financial management the process started in January 1998 and filling of Posts was scheduled for 1 April 1998. Due to certain logistical problems it is expected that filling of such posts will occur by 1 July 1998.
With regard to key management activities to heads of departments, the provincial service commission delegated certain powers to the Director General with effect from 8 May 1998. Discussions with provincial heads of departments will be held as to which other key powers should be further delegated to them. Target dates for finalisation is set for on/ before 3 June 1998.
7. GROSS LACK OF SKILLS IN KEY FUNCTIONS AND LACK OF TRAINING OR DEVELOPMENT POLICY TO ADDRESS THIS
The large number of vacancies in respective departments and inability to fill them is attributable to the following:
7.1 Budgetary cuts imposed by State Expenditure on all provincial departments
7.2 Lack of competitive scales for skilled persons to be recruited by administration
7.3 Inadequate and/or under-financed training facilities conducted by government within provinces.
Our province is targeting to state its case at the Public Services and Administration MinMec for policy development and urgent implementation thereof
8. WEAK FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, BUDGETING, MONITORING AND REPORTING, AND LACK OF SKILLS AND CAPACITY TO SUPPORT HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AS ACCOUNTING OFFICERS
The Office of the Premier is responsible for driving transformation in the entire government. It is doing so in collaboration with the provincial departments assisted by a Coopers and Lybrand (London) funded by DFID. The Director General chairs the steering committee of the Free State Transformation
Programme which in turn reports to the Interdepartmental Management Committee (IDMC) chaired by the Director General. Reports on progress are made by Heads of Departments to their respective MECs and periodic reports art also made to the Executive Council.
The Free State Transformation Programme started in July 1996 and was already in place when the Ncholo audit was undertaken, the project was well underway. A fact that was hardly recognised by the Ncholo audit
The key achievements of the Transformation Team under the chairmanship of the Director General are as follows:
There have been some significant successes in the project over the 20 months it has been in operation, such as:
(a) Introduction and implementation of strategic service planning techniques in Social Welfare, Safety arid Security, Office of the Premier, Local Government and Housing and Education and Health, as well as the production of a training manual of 7 trainers in service planning and facilitation. The benefit of this input has resulted in increased capacity with the Government for individuals to train and facilitate within their own Department, as well as other Departments. This is having a multiplier effect in terms of extending and embedding knowledge and expertise. Additionally, the success of the integration of these techniques within the Free State is being actively promoted by the Department for International Development (formerly ODA) as good management practice.
(b) Development of a training manual in medium term financial planning and budgeting, training of 6 trainers and introduction of activity based costing techniques in the Department of Health and Social Welfare. In addition, awareness raising in other departments has seen the beginning of the process of realigning departmental budgets and monitoring reports to match departmental objectives and activities.
(c) The formulation and implementation of a framework for decentralisation of key services such as finance and human resources, which has resulted in skills transfer in specific areas and large scale ownership of the process throughout the Province. The drive to escalate the implementation of these decentralisation processes has provided an intensive and valuable learning experience for officials in addressing the macro and micro issues involved in this initiative. As such, it has been an extremely effective capacity building tool, and this new found expertise is now being sought by other Provinces. The Free State Provincial Government is regarded amongst the leaders in the field of the decentralisation of services within the Public Service.
(d) A review of the integrity of the complete payroll of 65, 000 people, the first phase of the review established controls and has resulted in significant changes to the payroll control environment and included the physical verification of over 32, 000 employees. The reduction of "ghosts" on the payroll has provided a saving of R 3 m to date. It is anticipated that the second phase of the review will produce equally positive results.
(e) A review introduction of service profiling, performance standards and the production of job description and employee specifications in a number or service areas. This has provided clarification and greater understanding on programmes of work and the level and quality of minimum inputs required to meet targets and standards.
(f) A review of revenue collection has led to additional funds being obtained from USAID for funding pilot revenue collection projects. One of the major problems facing provinces regarding their own revenue is how to collect revenue effectively. The Province therefore decided to initiate two pilot projects on the collecting of outstanding revenue at tile Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport and the Department of Health. At the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport the focus is on the collection of outstanding revenue regarding motor vehicle licences, registration fees and permits. At the Department of Health two pilots sites at Welkom and Winburg hospitals were selected for outstanding patient fees. Both pilot projects are still in process and an evaluation of the success achieved in monetary terms is therefore not possible at present. However, it can be mentioned that at the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport already a good response has been achieved not only in payments, but also in correcting the data on the NAVIS system, where information is kept.
(g) A detailed customer survey on Free State Provincial Government services which provided constructive feedback on how services are being received by the community. The information is providing a useful tool for the politicians in communicating with their constituents, and for the Government in re-appraising service delivery issues.
(h) Supporting the Free State in drafting an Interim Integrated Development Plan. The establishment of the plan introduces mechanisms and processes to secure strategic co-ordination and integrated implementation of the Government's activities in achieving political targets. These approaches enable the production of a consolidated Integrated Development Plan and the means of effective ongoing monitoring, evaluation and review methods for annual renewal of the Plan.
(i) Supporting the Free State in producing a rural development strategy and establishing a strategic development initiative with local governments in the South Western Free State. This initiative promotes the process of governance at local level enabling an environment for economic growth and social development which is responsive to the needs and interests of the poor and disadvantaged within the community. It also facilitates political empowerment and democratic accountability through the introduction of strategic service planning, integrated development and community development initiatives.
(j) Providing support in human resource management and organisation development to secure the elimination of institutionalised hierarchical, bureaucratic and discriminatory practices. Particular assistance has been provided in the consolidation of the "centre core" and the relationships with decentralised units to clarify roles and responsibilities. Specific policy support has been provided in the drafting of a recruitment and selection code of practice, performance management system and a Provincial policy on redeployment
(k) Capacity building and training across a range of skills, knowledge, approaches and techniques. As well as the areas mentioned above; technical skills training ha been provided in a number of human resource specific areas which has supported the decentralisation process.
(l) Enabling 6 Free State officials to participate in study tours in the UK to improve understanding and awareness in issues involving financial management, resource allocation, strategic service planning, customer care, poverty alleviation and equality.
9. PROJECT FOCUS FOR YEARS 1 & 2
The scope of the Programme shifted during 1997 and the first part of 1998 that specified in the Project Inception Report , which was compiled in September 1996. There are several general points that need to be made in respect of the shift in focus of the project from Inception Report stage and the current programme. There have been both external factors and internal constraints that need to be accounted for, such as:
(a) the original Logical Framework and project plans were ambitious and too broad. They did not take in to account the current capacity levels, the resources and adaptive capacity within the Free State government. It became apparent that between the period July 1996 to April l997, the original project focus generated far more change that the Free State government could absorb.
(b) there have been many national initiatives during the past 20 months to which the Free State government has needed to respond. These include the White Papers on:
- Transformation of the Public Service;
- Service Delivery (Batho Pele)
- the New Employment Policy for the Public Services;
- Affirmative Action and
- the Public Service Laws Amendment Bill, and
- Local Government
These documents have for the most part addressed policy frameworks. Because they are somewhat academic in nature, they leave the serious issues of practical implementation for the Provincial Government to grapple with. This has been problematic given the limited appropriate resources and level of capacity available. These White Papers required the Transformation Programme to refocus on certain areas to address the changing policy framework. This has necessarily impacted on the progress made with the project. The Transformation Programme was therefore re-shaped to respond to these national priorities.
Accordingly the focus of the project as agreed by Interdepartmental Management Committee (IDMC) in May 1997 was:
(a) service delivery
(b) integrated development
(c) financial management, and
(d) human resources
The programme has been supported by 2 full time consultants who have been focusing primarily on supporting the objectives within these four pillars.
Additional short term and medium term support has been procured through the project in the areas of financial management and integrated development, as well as also bringing additional support for service planning and human resources.
10. FUTURE FOCUS OF THE PROJECT: YEARS 3 & 4
There is a vast amount of work remaining to be done in the transformation process to build confidence and capacity within Free State officials. This is necessary to embed the necessary general management skills in order for them to function effectively and finally to provide the necessary support to senior managers to integrate the project in the overall scheme of management practice in order to ensure its sustainability in the longer term.
The focus of the project in future needs to be revised from that pursued over the previous 24 months for the following reasons;
(a) In July 1997 the Executive Council adopted the "cluster" approach in order to integrate and strengthen provincial and departmental initiatives in a holistic manner. The clusters are focused around four key areas:
(i) housing and infrastructure
(ii) job creation and economic development
(iii) human resource development and
(iv) rural development
The identification of these clusters supports the Free State's desire to redirect resources to where they are most needed. It is therefore crucial that the Transformation Programme supports the agenda of the Executive Council, and the objectives of the Free State Provincial Government are mirrored by the Transformation Programme.
The project therefore needs to be more sharply focused on service delivery and integrated development. This is particularly important since:
(a) the emphasis on service delivery, which is tied in with strategic planning, development and performance management, provides a clear link with the policy objectives and concerns of the Executive Council
(b) integrated development is of great interest to Executive Council since it its through this route that they seek to support and concretise the process of institutional change and reorientation by breaking down departmentalism within the government with the aim of improving the effectiveness of service delivery
(c) there is recognition that the above initiatives need supporting through a comprehensive change management arid capacity building programme to ensure long term sustainability.
The extension to the Transformation Programme has offered the opportunity to allocate more concentrated resources to the area of integrated development and service delivery. Resources over the next 24 months will be concentrated in the following areas:
(a) service delivery and strategic service planning
(b) integrated development providing guidance and support to the development planning function in order to improve the effectiveness of service delivery across the Province. There is to be a particular focus on capacity building in local government with a monitoring and liaison link with rural development initiatives.
(c) financial management
(d) change management, with emphasis on human resources, capacity building, performance management and cultural change
A project is currently being discussed in the South West Free State with the six towns of Koffiefontein, Jacobsdal, Jagersfontein, Luckhoff, Oppeermansgronder and Frauresmith. The South West Free State Pilot Project will involve the establishment of a Regional Social Economic Regeneration Committee and a District Level Development Management and Planning Unit. It is anticipated that this pilot project will tie in closely with and be supported by the Free State Transformation Programme.
In addition to support from DFID the Transformation Of the Provincial government is supported by a UNDP/COMSEC funded project. This project is hosted by the Free State Government, The Director General of the Free State Chairs, its Steering Committee consisting of seven Provincial Directors General and is the accounting officer of the project. The project has a project Director housed on the premises of the Provincial government and her work is supervised by the Director General on a weekly basis and from time to time as necessary. The project provides support in as indicated in "Annexure A"
PROVINCIAL MANAGEMENT CAPACITY BUILDING PROJECT
The Provincial Management Capacity Building Project is a management and organisational development project which the Free State shares with six other provinces, namely, Gauteng, Northern Province, North West, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwa Zulu Natal. It is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Commonwealth Secretariat (COMSEC). The project was launched in October last year and a business plan to implement various management and organisational development programmes was developed in December last year. The Business Plan outlines in broad terms the implementation Strategy for the six focus areas of the project. Attached is a list of the focus areas. The following is a summarised progress report.
1. Management Development Workshop
The first series of management development workshops called the Roadshow was implemented in April this year. The workshops were target at middle to senior management. The Free State workshop, attended jointly with the North West and Northern Cape, took place between 14 and 18 April. The workshop addressed critical, crosscutting management challenges experienced by managers in their daily exercise of their duties. Based on the report from participants, the workshop was a good investment of the managers' time and effort. In the second half of this year more workshops will be held to address other topics in management development. Other Project activities that are in the pipeline include the following:
2. Internal Audit capacity building programme
In April this year The Project hired a highly qualified chartered accountant from England to provide technical assistance as part of improving the financial management systems of participating provinces. The consultant, Mr Kenneth Elford had already experienced working with the Northern Cape and Gauteng under a separate arrangement with the Commonwealth Secretariat last year. The purpose of the recently completed assignment was to take the Northern Cape and Gauteng a step further and to assess the needs as well as plan technical assistance with new provinces.
Mr Elford spent three and half weeks completing the work he started in Gauteng and Northern Cape, and reviewing the structures and systems of internal controls in the provinces. He talked to the Directors General and heads of financial departments to structure a further technical assistance programme for participating provinces. Mr Elford is scheduled to come for his second assignment under this Project in July this year. Then he will continue work with those he has already visited and start new work with the Free State and Eastern Cape.
3. Information Technology
The Information Technology capacity building exercise is meant to he conducted in collaboration with the IT unit of DPSA. The purpose of the collaboration is to ensure linkages and harmony between provincial initiatives and those of National Government.
The Project is planning a series of consultative meetings between the Project Manager, the consultant, Mr. Joe Tabone, DPSA chief Director Mr Theo Nkone and provincial senior staff, including Directors General. Eastern Cape was identified as the venue to pilot the programme.
A pilot meeting was held in Bisho on May 12 to test how the programme should be handled. The May 12 meeting was useful in terms of understanding the current capacity level of the province in regard to IT. It was also useful in pointing out an appropriate structure for future consultative meetings.
Based on experience from this first meeting, a detailed programme is being planned and the first series of consultative meetings will start in mid June.
In April a highly qualified and accomplished consultant was hired to design a comprehensive programme of capacity building for the provinces. The consultant, Ms. Sue De Villiers, who has wide experience in communications in the private sector and government, facilitated the planning workshop on communications held in Bloemfontein in December, She served as a spokesperson to the Minister of Justice from 1994-96, served as principal researcher on COMTASK. and was a member of the Implementation Committee for the GCIS, chaired by the Deputy Minister in the Deputy President's Office. She just completed the outline of the programme, which will be implemented starting in late June this year.
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