ATC140714: Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration as well as Performance Monitoring and Evaluation:Report on Budget Vote 12: Department of Public Service and Administration

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration as well as Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

REPORT ON BUDGET VOTE 12: DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION

 

1. Introduction

The Public Finance Management Act, section 27 clearly stipulates that the Minister must table the annual budget for a financial year in the National Assembly before the start of the financial year. Again, i n terms of section 10 (1) (c) of the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act, No 9 of 2009, the relevant members of Cabinet must table updated strategic plan and annual performance plan for each department, public entity or institution, which must be referred to the relevant Committee for consideration and report.

In line with its constitutional oversight mandate over the executive, the Portfolio Committee considered briefing from the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) for Budget Vote 12 which include the following institutions: National School of Government (NSG), Public Service Commission (PSC), Public Sector Educational Training Authority (PSETA), and Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI). Due to tight schedule of Parliament committee’s in the first term of the fifth democratic government, departments and its entities would be invited in due course to extensively account on their budget allocated and further empower Committee to develop broader understanding of their mandate and plans.

 

2. Purpose

The purpose of the report is for the Portfolio Committee to consider and approve Budget Vote 12 for 2014/15 financial year for the Department and its entities through exercising oversight on their strategic plans and annual performance plans.

 

3. Overview of the strategic plan, budget and associated objectives of each programme for 2014/15 financial year

According to the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) for 2014, the Department of Public Service and Administration draws its mandate from section 195(1) of the Constitution, which sets out basic values and principles that the public service should adhere to, and the Public Service Act (1994).

The Department’s mandate is to:

· Transform and modernise the public service.

· Oversee changes to the structure of the public service.

· Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the public service and its service delivery to the public.

· Establish norms and standards for human resources management and development, conditions of service, labour relations, IT and service delivery.

· Issue directives and regulations for the public service.

· Formulate the national anti-corruption strategy.

 

4. Strategic goals of the Department of Public Service and Administration

The key strategic priorities of the Vote are explained below:

4.1 Building an efficient and effective Public Service

The Department wants to eliminate areas of duplication, weaknesses and wastage within the public service through appropriate interventions which will include: ensuring that the organisational structures of departments are rationalised and aligned to their mandates, improving the effective management of discipline and improving the implementation of resolutions signed with labour through the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Chamber (PSCBC) collective agreements. Interventions that promote and support the health, wellness and positive morale of public servants are implemented and meaningful platforms are created and institutionalised to enable citizens to partake in and influence government’s policies with regard to how public services are delivered to them. [1]

4.2 Building a capable, equitable and professional Public Service

This strategy is in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) in that a capable state, which is well run and effectively coordinated among different government institutions, will operate with the integrity and effectiveness this strategy envisages. [2] The Department plans to introduce measures to professionalise the public service, which will include, amongst others, compulsory training programmes and the review and enhancement of appointment procedures for senior managers. The issue that the Department needs to revisit is the affirmation of people with disabilities. The public service has made tremendous inroads concerning the affirmation of women in senior management. However, employment of people with disabilities is still below the target of 2% in the public service.

4.3 Introducing appropriate legislative frameworks for the Public Service and Administration

The Department plans to set up an enabling environment for effective public administration to be strengthened by reviewing existing legislation and introducing new legislative frameworks for public service and administration.

4.4 Inculcating an ethical ethos and achieving a clean Public Service and Administration

The Department is committed to promoting a corruption-free public administration through the implementation of practical interventions to prevent, detect and combat corruption. The Department also wants to promote and reinforce the ethical behaviour of public servants through improving compliance to public administration prescripts and regulations.

4.5 Improved public administration in Africa and internationally

The Department plans to contribute towards improved public service and administration in Africa and internationally through entering into mutually beneficial partnerships, dialogue and domestication of best practices.

 

5. Priorities over the medium-term

The priorities for the 2014/15 Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Public Service and Administration are informed by the 2013/15 strategic plan and the National Development Plan as translated into the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2014-19. The Department highlighted the following priorities to the Portfolio Committee:

· To create minimum level of Public Service and Administration delegations from Executive Authorities to Accounting Officer’s and other senior officials.

· Piloting a formal graduate recruitment scheme to support departments in attracting and developing young talent.

· Using assessment mechanisms such as exams, group exercises and competency tests to build confidence in recruitment systems.

· Putting in place support programmes for departments to ensure supervisors and managers implement processes which enable front line staff to provide efficient and courteous services to citizens.

· Reviewing, improving and supporting implementation of the service delivery improvement planning system provided for in the public service regulations, directives and guidelines

· Revitalizing and monitoring adherence to Batho Pele programme (wearing name tags, improving attitudes, being courteous, responsiveness, etc)

· Strengthening the implementation of Financial Disclosure Framework.

· Prohibiting public servants from doing business with the State.

 

6. Budget Allocation

The overall budget allocation for the Department of Public Service and Administration’s is R875.1 million for 2014/15, which is an increase of 5.48 per cent in nominal terms. However, in real terms the total budget allocation for the Department decreased by 5.6 per cent between 2013/14 and 2014/ 15. According to the National Treasury Estimates of National Expenditure, the budget vote of the Department of Public Service and Administration is divided into six funded programmes that seek to achieve its mandate. The Department has embarked on a process of aligning its mandate to broader objectives of the National Development Plan by realigning and restructuring programmes which will in future be divided into 8 main divisions. Currently there are six programmes and their purpose is discussed in detail below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i) Table 1: Programmes and budget allocation

Programme

Budget

Nominal Rand change

Real Rand change

Nominal % change

Real %

change

R million

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2013/14-2014/15

2013/14-2014/15

Administration

192.8

211.4

231.6

240.6

18.6

6.3

9.65

3.25

Human Resource Management and Development

43.2

37.6

38.4

40.2

- 5.6

- 7.8

-12.96

-18.04

Labour Relations and Remuneration Management

53.0

48.5

33.1

37.5

- 4.5

- 7.3

-8.49

-13.83

Public Sector Information and Communication Technology

36.3

37.6

35.9

38.5

1.3

- 0.9

3.58

-2.47

Service Delivery and Organisational Transformation

234.0

237.8

245.4

257.9

3.8

- 10.1

1.62

-4.31

Governance and International Relations

270.4

302.3

292.4

314.7

31.9

14.3

11.80

5.27

TOTAL

829.7

875.1

876.8

929.4

45.5

- 5.6

5.48

-0.67

Source: National Treasury (2014)

 

a. Programme 1: Administration

The purpose of the programme is to provide policy, coordinated strategic and overall administrative support services to enable the Ministry and the Department to deliver on mandates. The programme has been allocated R211.4 million for the financial year 2014/15. This represents an increase of 3.25 per cent in real terms. The programme takes 24.15 per cent of the overall budget.

Spending patterns under this programme is determined by an increase in the staff complement in the Ministry from 36 in 2010/11 to 55 in 2013/14. Secondly the spending increased as a result of the Ministerial communication projects that the Department will be undertaking over the medium term to promote and brand the Department work for public consumption. Over R15.5 million is allocated to the travel and subsistence which would increase in the medium term. Increase in personnel to cater additional more posts which will be created through the Office of Standards and Compliance will likely affect future budget allocation over the medium term. The Department will develop and table the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan and the 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan in March 2015.

b. Human Resource Management and Development

The purpose of the programme is to develop and implement an integrated strategy to monitor employment practices, conduct human resource planning and diversity management and to improve the health and well-being of public service employees. The Department had planned to reduce the vacancy rate from the estimated baseline of 11 per cent [as at 31 March 2012] to 5 per cent by March 2014. In 2014/15 financial year, the allocation for the programme is R37.6 million. In real terms the budget allocation of programme 2 decreases by -18.04 per cent between 2013/14 and 2014/15. Allocation to this programme takes 4.29 per cent of the overall budget.

The bulk of the programme’s budget (R10.2 million) is allocated to the Human Resource Planning, Performance and Practice sub-programme, which is responsible for providing advice and implementation support to improve HR planning, employment practices and employee performance management.

The spending focus over the medium term will be on building a capable public service by measuring the depth of skills levels in the public service, improving recruitment policies and reducing the vacancy rate, and developing retention strategies for department heads and senior management service members. The programme would support the implementation of the directive on compulsory capacity development and mandatory training days for public service senior managers.

c. Programme 3: Labour Relations and Remuneration Management

The purpose of the programme is to manage and oversee the development and implementation of labour relations and human resource policies and frameworks. This programme merged with the previous Labour Relations and Remuneration programme. The overall budget allocated for the programme is R48.5 million for financial year 2014/15. Budget allocation trends over the past years clearly indicate the budget allocation decreased for programme by 13.83 per cent in real terms. During the 2013 adjustments budget process, the Department established the Presidential Public Service Remuneration Review Commission to review the remuneration policy framework of the public service to assess the appropriateness of remuneration and conditions of service.

The budget allocated on the programme would contribute to the improvements in the management of discipline within the public service by enhancing labour relations framework and monitoring the implementation of the revised disciplinary code and procedure by March 2015. Part of the budget allocated would be utilised in monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the PSCBC Resolution I of 2012 by departments and further submit a report to the Minister. The Department will also deliver on the long awaited Government Employee Housing Scheme as a result of the resolutions with PSCBC. The scheme is part of government’s initiative to promote home ownership among public servants.

The spending focus on the programme is to contribute to the professionalization of the public service and administration which is in line with the National Development Plan (NDP). Development of the draft Remuneration Policy and consultation with the PSCBC are the priorities of the programme. Monitoring of filling of vacant posts and the servicing of funded vacancies in the public service are crucial in order to ensure a reliable and clean PERSAL system.

d. Programme 4: The Public Sector Information and Communication Technology Management

The purpose of the programme is to promote and manage the use of ICT in the design and delivery of citizen-centred services and to ensure that IT services support the continual improvement in the cost, quality, access, responsiveness and speed of service delivery to citizens, business and stakeholders. The programme was introduced in order to develop, implement and monitor information communication technology (ICT) policies and norms and standards. The budget allocation for Programme 4 accounts for 4.29 per cent share or R37.6 million of the total budget vote in 2014/15. In 2014/15, the allocation for Programme 4 increased by 3.58 per cent in nominal terms, but in real terms, it decreased by -2.47 per cent between 2013/14 and 2014/15.

Effective operations of the Thusong Service Centres increased the budget for continued connectivity and the targeted increase in the number of these centres from 90 in 2013/14 to 100 in 2016/17. The Department has undertaken to connect 10 new centres per year over the medium term and to make them operate effectively by March 2015. The Department hosts the annual Government Information Technology Officers’ Council summit to keep abreast of developments in IT and to gain insights into how the quality of service delivery can be realised.

e. Programme 5: Service Delivery and Organisational Transformation

The purpose of the programme is to promote a service delivery and organisational transformation framework and engage in interventions and partnerships to promote efficient and effective service delivery. The budget allocation for the programme increased from R234.0 million in 2013/14 to R237.8 million in 2014/15, representing a nominal increase of R3.8 million or 1.62 per cent. In real terms, the budget allocation of Programme 5 decreased by -4.31 per cent between 2013/14 and 2014/15. Programme 5 at 27.17 per cent share, represents the second largest share allocation of the total budget vote in 2014/15.

Over the medium term the spending focus will be on continuing to improve the quality and impact of the public sector management and leadership development, coordinating frameworks for providing public service education and training. Budget expenditure at the end of the year would be utilised on the provision of Batho Pele principles training to 20 national and provincial departments per year, supporting 60 national and provincial departments on the development of the service delivery improvement plans (SDIPs) per year, and testing and piloting at least 2 sustainable innovative service delivery models and solutions per year for replication and mainstreaming. Part of the budget allocated on the programme is used for transferring payment to other institutions. A significant increase in allocation emanates from a need to reposition PALAMA as the National School of Government to meet the objectives of the National Development Plan regarding the professionalization of the public service.

f. Programme 6: Governance and International Relations

The purpose of the programme is to improve governance and public administration for enhanced service delivery through integrated public service, fighting corruption, monitoring and evaluation as well as advancing the public service agenda at national, regional and international levels. The budget allocated for the financial year 2014/15 is R302.3 million. In real terms the budget allocation increased by 5.27 per cent between 2013/14 and 2014/ 15. This is an increase of approximately R31.9 million. Programme 6 accounts for the largest allocation share, which is 34.50 per cent of the total budget vote in 2014/15.

The largest transfer out of the allocated R302.3 million, which goes to the Public Service Commission (PSC), is R226.0 million to strengthen its capacity to investigate, monitor and evaluate compliance with the constitutional values and principles across spheres of government. The second largest allocation goes to the Monitoring and Evaluation sub-programme, which is R23.0 million. The allocation would be utilised in establishing the office of standards and compliance which is in line with the Public Administration Management Bill.

7. Budget Transfers

a. National School of Government

The National School of Government is a legislated training institution of government geared towards providing training and development to public servants. It facilitates the provision of training in the four streams, namely: leadership, management, administration; and induction. Allocation of budget to the NSG is through transfer from the Budget Vote 12 of the DPSA. In the current financial year 2014/15, allocated budget transferred to NSG is R138.508 million to execute its predetermined activities. Over the medium term the budget estimates are as follows: in 2015/16 is R143.654 million, in 2016/17 is R151.860 million and in 2017/18 is R162.602 million. Budget allocated is insufficient to carry out the mandate of the National School of Government. However the NSG has trading account which supplements the transferred budget. Trading account is the account that generates revenue for the NSG outside of the transfer from the Department to the NSG. Revenue is generated through the provision of the courses offered to various government institutions.

The National Development Plan emphasises the importance of professionalising the public service. The NSG play critical role in ensuring the professionalization of the public service by providing compulsory induction to all public servants and building capacity through learning and development interventions. Awarding of formal certificates after provision of training is the main priority of the School as a way of encouraging and promoting a culture of learning in the public sector. Management Performance Assessment Tool reports would serve well when they are used to assist the School in identifying training needs analyses in the public sector by strengthening management weakness such as in supply chain management and eliminating corruption.

b. Public Service Commission

The Public Service Commission (PSC) was established in terms of Section 196 of the Constitution, which stipulate that the Commission is independent and must be impartial, and must exercise its powers and perform its functions without fear, favour or prejudice in the interest of the maintenance of effective and efficient public administration and high standard of professional ethics in the public service. The Constitution provides the PSC with powers and functions. The Commission is accountable to the National Assembly.

The PSC’s objectives are to promote and maintain an effective and efficient public administration with a high standard of professional ethics. The core business of the PSC is to investigate, monitor, evaluate and advise on strategic Public Service issues. The PSC is a knowledge-based institution, which produces and applies information to contribute to a participatory and developmental Public Service.

Transferred budget allocation is made through Budget Vote 12 but independent of Vote 12. The allocation to the PSC is R226 million for the financial year 2014/15. In the medium term the budget of the Commission will increase to mitigate capacity constraints particularly in strengthening its role of investigating, monitoring and evaluation. The mandate of the Commission was extended by Parliament in the fourth democratic government to reach the municipalities to assess compliance in relation to the values and principles of public administration.

c. Public Service Education and Trading Authority (PSETA)

The Public Service Education and Training Authority (PSETA) is responsible for sector skills plans to develop appropriate skills in the public sector. PSETA also develops and registers public sector learning programmes, and acts as an education and training quality assurance of the courses offered in the public service. It further distributes skills development levy funds. PSETA receives some of its allocation through the transfer from the Department of Public Service and Administration Budget Vote 12, since its funding also comes from each government entity or department’s 1% training levy. In terms of the reporting lines, the PSETA accounts to the Department of Higher Education. The budget allocation is R24.706 million for 2014/15 financial year as compared to R23.308 million in 2013/14 financial year. As the PSETA’s role is to ensure quality assurance on courses offered in the public service, the National School of Government will provide training and development in the public service.

d. Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI)

The Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) is the entity of the Ministry for the Public Service and Administration established to entrench and drive service delivery innovation across all sectors. The CPSI is bridging the gap between the world of science and technology driven by the National System of Innovation led by the Department of Science and Technology and the context of service delivery at the coalface. The National System of Innovation includes entities such as National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI), the Innovation Hub and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). The CPSI’s strategic plan is aligned to the government priority outcomes.

The budget allocation for the CPSI is R22.3 million for the financial year 2014/15 as compared to previous financial year 2013/14 of R21.6 million. Throughout the financial year, the CPSI would investigate, pilot, demonstrate and mainstream sustainable models and solutions for innovative service delivery. Furthermore, it promotes good governance in the public service through sharing of best practices in the public administration and financial management. Entrenching the culture and practice of innovation in the public sector through innovation platforms and knowledge is one of the priorities of the CPSI.

 

8. Observations

The Committee observed the following matters in relation to the Budget Vote 12:

· The Committee noted that the Department does not have a strategy on retaining the interns after they have accumulated sufficient experience in the public sector. The Committee would like to see a transversal policy developed in this regard.

· The Committee welcomed the policy framework of prohibiting the public servants from doing business with government. Timeframes on the implementation of the Bill/Act are crucial to ensuring that the government is committed to good governance.

· The Department needs to redouble its efforts in developing strategies to reduce time to fill the vacancies in the public service.

· Percentage of employment of persons with disabilities needs to be increased. The Department needs to strengthen and reinforce the mechanism for the employment of the people with disabilities in the public sector.

· The Committee raised concerns on the underfunding of the CPSI as it can make a significant contribution to improve service delivery and prevent the wastage of resources. The Committee highlighted under-spending within some of the programmes in the Department and how the Department returned funding to the Treasury whilst CPSI is underfunded.

· The Committee further raised issues on the duplication of functions and wastage of resources within the MPSA Portfolio, in particular the function of Research and Analysis in DPSA and the PSC’s responsibilities.

· The Committee also noted the challenges around the work ethic of public servants, for instance in hospitals. This was identified as a potential area for CPSI’s intervention should they be appropriately funded.

· The Committee emphasised the role of the Department to intensify support for the frontline public servants by living up to the slogan “We Belong, We Value and We Care”.

· The Committee highlighted the importance of the Public Administration Management Bill/Act to become an implementable legislation to address elements of unethical conduct in the public service.

· The DPSA together with the Public Service Commission need to deal decisively with non-compliance of the Financial Disclosure Framework and to ensure that discipline is maintained on defaulters.

· Under-spending of allocated budgets is going to be strictly monitored by the Portfolio Committee.

· The Committee would like to see the full servicing of the National School of Government clientele through provision of training and development so that value for money can be realised.

 

9. Recommendations

The following recommendations were made by the Portfolio Committee:

a. The Portfolio Committee noted the progress made by the Department in aligning the Annual Performance Plan with country’s National Development Plan Vision 2030 and further requested all entities in the sector to institutionalise and implement the recommendations from the NDP.

b. The Portfolio Committee undertakes to engage with the National School of Government on its business processes in the next term of Parliament so that the School works towards achieving on its mandate to realise the value for money.

c. Employment of Persons with Disabilities in the Public Sector was a concern as the performance is still below 2% target . The Department needs to strengthen recruitment policies and processes to enforce government departments to employ people with disabilities.

d. The Portfolio Committee is committed in assisting the Department and the PSC to reach 100% target compliance on the Financial Disclosure Framework by interrogating reports and statistics on compliance or non-compliance, with a view to calling on the defaulters to account to Parliament regarding why they could not fully comply and to elicit remedial action to be taken to address non-compliance.

e. The Committee urged the Minister to track the development on the Public Administration Management Bill/Act for it to become the law. Signing of the Bill into the Act after Parliament passed it would bring stability and eliminate corrupt practices and thereby enhance service delivery.

f. The Committee urged the Minister to address the underfunding of the CPSI in order for them to have a greater impact on service delivery.

g. The Portfolio Committee recommends that the knowledge and skill invested in the in-service training of interns be utilised to the benefit of the public service by retaining the interns where possible. The Department is hereby requested to formulate a transversal policy and guidelines in this regard.

 

10. Conclusion

The Portfolio Committee appreciated the presentation made by the Department which included its entities’ for their strategic plan and annual performance plans. However the Committee would organise another workshop to afford the Department and its entities to further engage with the Portfolio Committee regarding strategic plans and annual performance plans. The Committee considered the 2013/15 Strategic Plan and the Annual Performance Plan 2014/15 of the Department of Public Service and Administration and its entities.

The Portfolio Committee recommends as follows:

10.1 That the Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans and Budget of the sector be adopted and approved.

 

Report considered.

 

 

 

 


[1] Department of Public Service and Administration (2013).

[2] National Treasury (2013).

Documents

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