Recruitment Strategies for the Public Service: briefings

Committee: Public Service and Administration, as well as Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Date of Meeting: 13 Jun 2006

Summary

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Minutes

PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 June 2006
RECRUITMENT STRATEGIES FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE: BRIEFINGS
 
Chairperson:
Mr P Gomomo (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Recruitment strategy in the Public Service (PowerPoint Presentation)
Briefing on recruitment tool for Principals & Senior Management Teams
Briefing on Recruitment Tool for the Principals (PowerPoint Presentation)
Public Service Commission Selection Toolkit (PowerPoint Presentation)
A toolkit on Recruitment & Selection Booklet
Employment of Foreign Nationals (PowerPoint Presentation)
Policy on Employment of Foreign Nationals and Secondment or Exchange of Public Service Act - Employees and Foreign Nationals

SUMMARY
The Department of Public Service and Administration, Public Service Commission and the National Department of Education briefed the Committee on recruitment strategies, selection and recruitment of foreign nationals, school principals and heads of departments and recruitment for public servants broadly. The Committee raised concerns around the lack of quality education to enable South Africans to secure better jobs with the necessary skills.

MINUTES

Briefing by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)

DPSA Chief Director, Mr Sipho Ntombela; Director, Dr Irene Mpolweni and Deputy Director, Mr F Pelser, briefed the Committee on the Department’s recruitment strategy.

The presentation indicated that the Human Resources Recruitment strategy was informed by the intention to find the right people, with the right skills, at the right time, for the right place within the organisation or public service. The presentation dealt with what constituted a Human Resources Recruitment strategy and the legislative framework. It also dealt with the time frame in which casual employees may be appointed, which was no longer than twelve months; the process of advertising posts and specific measures for senior management posts and other posts.

The recruitment strategies or initiatives that the Department had embarked on included the following: policy on the Employment of Foreign nationals, internships, learnerships, mentorship, a sustainable pool of middle managers, training and development programmes and bursary and scholarship programmes, provision of ICT Assistive Devices for employees with disabilities, recruitment constraints, HR planning which included retention strategies, maintenance and HR development, challenges to some of these strategies and scarce skills.

Discussion

Mr R Baloyi (ANC) asked what some of the constraints that faced the DPSA were. Was there any plan in place to manage acknowledged constraints?

Dr Mpolweni concurred that the issue of capacity remained one of the constraints in addressing the Department’s challenges. The HR project helped the Department to see the importance of aligning objectives with the broader plans of the Department to ensure that when recruitment was done, there was an understanding of the gaps that needed to be filled. The HR project had reached its completion, which would allow for implementation and roll out of the plan.  Another challenge was on integrating recruitment selection with training and development to fast track service delivery .She acknowledged that there was a lot of work that still remained undone.

Ms H Mgabadeli (ANC) was concerned that some of the concepts used might not take into consideration the fact that South Africa was still a developing country and was in the process of redressing the imbalances of the past. She indicated that the kind of education that was offered in South Africa needed to be re-looked at to see whether or not it would be able to address the challenges. She added that forms of assessment needed to be monitored from as early as pre-primary school.

Dr Mpolweni said that the Department was engaged in meetings with various stakeholders to see how the past imbalances around education and scarce skills could be redressed. Through the internship programme, DPSA was providing work place experience in various departments for students to be employable.  The internship programme was intended to provide work experience to unemployed graduates. The problems were mainly work placement readiness and matching skills that were relevant and hence the move by departments to offer internship programmes

Mr Baloyi suggested that there be a separate meeting that would address only recruitment constraints as well as the question of scarce skills because those seemed to be critical topics that came out from the presentation as well as the discussion.

Members and the DPSA welcomed the proposal.

Mr I Julies (DA) asked what the Affirmative Action targets were in the DPSA.

Mr Ntombela responded that the Department hoped that by 2009 there would be 50% females and 50% males at senior level. He said that the previous target was met even though they were not satisfied with the pace at which that process unfolded. Regarding people with disabilities the process was very slow at 0, 09%. The Department and Minister had designed a programme to assist in speeding up the process. The programme would be launched during the Disability month in November 2006.

Presentation by the National Department of Education (NDOE)

Dr Martin Prew and Mr Mavuso, NDOE Directors briefed the Committee on the recruitment tool for principals indicating that the overall intention was to improve schools through professionalising and improving the status and role of principals. They referred to principals who could lead 21st century South African schools. The presentation covered background that indicated that good schools required effective leaders while schools themselves led social change and promoted key societal values. The professional package for principals included entry-level qualification for school principals, professionalisation of recruitment and employment of principals and other school managers and opportunities related to experience such as mentors and assessors.

The following were some of the six areas of defined knowledge and skills principals needed: leading and managing the learning school, shaping the direction and development of the school, assuring quality and aecuring accountability as well as working with and for the community.
The entry-level qualification for principals was an Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE), which could be completed in two years part-time. Without the ACE one could not become a principal.

Discussion
Mr Julies was bothered by the manner in which School Governing Bodies (SGBs) were appointed. He felt that appointments were made of people who had very little knowledge about issues and roles of principals and the education system at large.

Dr Prew responded that there was an intention to provide clarity on governance as well as teaching. The Department hoped to provide mobile programmes that would involve members of the public who later become members of SGBs. The intention was to make governance more attractive.

Ms H Mgabadeli (ANC) wished that parents received the same presentation made by the Department. She said that would equip them better to understand critical issues in the schooling system. She proposed that the Department be very serious about Adult Based Education and training of members of SGBs. Ms Mgabadeli commented that she would have been happier if the presentation dealt directly with what constituted a good teacher, as it was evident that teachers themselves did not comply with some of the teaching strategies put in place.

Dr Prew agreed with Ms Mgabadeli that there were instances where teachers made it difficult to implement programmes.

Mr K Minnie (DA) asked which institution was going to administer and offer the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) course for principals. He also queried whether or not SGBs had a future role to play.

Dr Prew clarified that there was no intention to remove the role of SGBs, but they hoped to professionalise it. The ACE would be delivered like any other normal course, partly run by the National departments and fourteen tertiary institutions.

Ms Mgabadeli wanted to know what had happened to the principals who were appointed in the old apartheid regime based on their political affiliation. Did the Department follow up on such principals? She also asked what had happened to educational programmes such as READ. She commented that such programmes contributed in producing quality students.

Dr Prew responded that the READ programme was still operational but only in some provinces. He said that there was very little that the Department could do about old order principals because there were no means to substantiate that those principals were incorrectly appointed. He acknowledged that it was a very complicated issue.

Ms Mgabadeli expressed her concern about the manner in which tenders were offered. It was evident from the oversight visits made by the Committee to most provinces that books were delivered late and as a consequence learners could not perform well. She attributed the delay to incompetent companies that got tenders to supply books. The Department needed to monitor such behaviour because it impacted greatly on the quality of education that learners was offered, which could have great implications for the problem of scarce skills.

Briefing by the Public Service Commission (PSC)

Ms Lebo Modiri, Director, briefed the Committee on the recruitment and selection toolkit. According to the Public Service Regulations an executive authority should assess the HR capacity to perform functions, with particular reference to the number of employees required, their competencies and the capacity in which those employees should be appointed. The presentation covered the rationale for guidelines for Recruitment and Selection (R&S), its importance and the rationale for a toolkit highlighting the shortcomings, which included the fact that filling posts took exceptionally long while screening and short-listing was flawed. Some of the reasons for a rationale for a tool kit included the fact that selection committee members sometimes were not sufficiently prepared for the task of recruiting and selecting and the final selection phase was often flawed because selection criteria were poorly identified. The purpose of the toolkit was to assist with establishing a framework for policy development, addressing the dynamics of recruitment and selection and identifying principles underlying recruitment and selection practices. The presentation also highlighted objectives of the toolkit, principles underlying recruitment and selection, the process of recruitment and selection, advertising framework, master list, screening and its purpose, short listing and final selection (Please see documents for full presentation)

Discussion
Mr M Sikakane (ANC) asked if the DPSA had looked at the Immigration Act. He was concerned that the process was complicated and that contributed to the delays in finalising the process.

Ms Modiri responded that the DPSA had looked into the Act and the Department worked closely with the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that everything was in place.

Mr Baloyi asked how the Department managed the process of recruiting of foreigners.

Ms Modiri said treaties and memorandums of understanding managed the process of recruiting foreigners.

DPSA Briefing on the framework for the employment of foreigners

Mr Ntombela made a brief presentation on the framework for the employment of foreigners. He indicated that the ability of the Public Service to deliver to the people of the country depended on the country’s capacity in terms of the competence and adequacy of the human resource base.
The presentation covered the background and context of the policy, highlighting the three distinct dimensions which were employment of foreign nationals, secondment or exchange of public service employees to/with other countries and finally utilisation of foreign nationals on a secondment or exchange basis. The rationale for the policy included HR service delivery and the Public Service experiencing acute shortages in critical occupations. The presentation also highlighted the purpose of the policy, appointment of foreign nationals, principles, criteria with which departments must comply, recruitment processes, selection of candidates as well as conditions of employment.



The meeting was adjourned.






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