ATC201104: Report of the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament on the parliament of the Republic of South Africa’s Draft Annual Performance Plan for 2021/22, dated4 November 2020.
Joint Standing Committee on Financial Management of Parliament
Report of the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament on theParliament of the Republic of South Africa’s Draft Annual Performance Plan for 2021/22, dated4 November 2020.
The Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, having considered the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa’s draft Annual Performance Plan for 2021/22, reports as follows:
1.1 Section 4 of the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, No 10 of 2009 (the FMPPLA) provides for the establishment of an oversight mechanism to maintain oversight of the financial management of Parliament. The Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament (the Committee) was established in terms of the Joint Rules of Parliament. The Committee has the powers afforded to parliamentary committees under sections 56 and 69 of the Constitution.
1.2 Parliament derives its mandate from:
- Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, No 108 of 1996, which sets out its composition, powers and functions;
- the FMPPLA which regulates the institution’s financial management;
- the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, 2009, No 9 of 2009 (Money Bills Act) which provides procedures to amend money bills; and
- the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act of 2004, No 4 of 2004 which defines and declares the national and provincial legislatures’ powers, privileges and immunities.
1.3 Parliament has as its vision to be an activist and responsive people’s Parliament that improves the quality of life of South Africans and ensures enduring equality in our society. Its mission is to represent the people and to ensure government by the people in fulfilling its constitutional functions of passing laws and overseeing executive action. To this end, the institution conducts its business in line with the following values: openness, responsiveness, accountability, teamwork, professionalism, and integrity.
1.4 Section 17(1) of the FMPPLA requires that the Executive Authority table planning and budgeting documents in Parliament for referral to the oversight mechanism. These include the draft annual performance plan (APP) and draft budget, which should be tabled at least one month before the draft budget must be submitted to the National Treasury.
1.5 This report comprises four parts:
- an overview of the draft APP (Part A)
- an overview of the draft budget (Part B);
- observations (Part C); and
- recommendations (Part D).
1.6 This report should be read with the Committee’s report on the Strategic Plan of the Sixth Parliament.
2. Overview of the draft Annual Performance Plan
2.1 Strategic Plan of the Sixth Parliament
2.2.1 Section 14(1) of the FMPPLA requires that the accounting officer must prepare and present the draft strategic plan to the ExecutiveAuthority within 6 months of the election of the National Assembly (NA), or by another date determined by Parliament.
2.2.2 Section 14(2) of the FMPPLA requires that the draft strategic plan must:
- cover the following five years or another period determined by Parliament;
- specify the administration’s priorities for the period of the strategic plan;
- include objectives and outcomes for each ofParliament’s programmes;
- include multi-year projections of all revenue and expenditure; and
- include performance measures and indicators for assessing the administration’s performance in implementing the strategic plan.
2.2.3 The Medium Term Strategic Framework sets out the government’s strategic plan for 2019 to 2024. It contains 7 priorities, 81 outcomes with 561 indicators. Parliament will monitor the overall impact of the development indicators contained in it.
2.2.4 The implementation of the strategic plan is achieved through annual performance plans and associated operational plans and budgets. APPs outline the outputs that must be delivered to achieve the outcomes in strategic plans. Operational plans, in turn, focus on the activities and inputs needed to deliver outputs.
2.2.5 The 2021/22 APP will be the first towards the implementation of the recently approved Strategic Plan of Parliament. It proposes a series of changes starting with changes to the budget programme structure to changes in how performance will be measured.
2.2.6 As of 2021/22 Parliament will have three programmes as opposed to the five of previous years. Performance will be measured using the client satisfaction model rather than the more conventional method which was informed by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation’s framework on strategic and annual performance plans.
2.2.7 2021/22 will continue the trend to reduce performance indicators. From 2017/18 performance indicators have steadily been reduced from 32 to 11 in 2021/22. Nine of the eleven indicators measure performance underProgramme 2: Legislative and Oversight while the performance underProgramme 3: Associated Services will not be measured at all.
2.2 Programme overview
Programme 1: Administration
2.2.1 Programme 1 providesstrategic leadership, governance, management, corporate and support services to Parliament. It consolidates three former programmes, namely Strategic Leadership and Governance, Administration and Support Services. Programme 1 comprises the following sub-programmes: Executive Authority, Office of the Secretary, and Corporate and Support Services. In the main the programme reflects inputs for operations and therefore the performance information will be containedin the operational plan.
2.2.2 In order to ensure greater effectiveness and efficiency, the institution will, amongst others:
- develop a new business model to address the future way of work and build in the principles of e-parliaments;
- redesign and optimise core and support business processes through technology, including, legislative drafting system; oversight, monitoring and tracking system; public involvement and engagement system; ERP processes for decision-making; and supporting infrastructure, networking and end-user tools and support;
- implement up- and re-skilling programmes to ensure the effective use of modern systems and technology;
- develop specialised skills programmes to ensure expertise and specialisation, and the integrating of existing functions; and
- implement a programme to ensure continuous innovation and improvements of processes and skills.
2.2.3 Table 1 below, reflects the annual performance targets under Programme 1. As illustrated in 2021/22 the institution intends to improve on the percentage of clients satisfied with ICT services by 1 per cent. Furthermore, the percentage of engaged staff will be increased by 1 per cent to 75 per cent. The percentage of clients satisfied with institutional support services will remain at 69 per cent.
Table 1: Annual Performance Targets for Programme 1
Programme 2: Legislation and Oversight
2.2.4 Programme 2 provides for support services for the effective functioning of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) including procedural, legal and content advice; information services and record keeping; and secretarial and support services for the houses and their committees. The programme covers the core business of Parliament and focusses on the outputs, activities and inputs related to legislation and oversight functions.
2.2.5 The programme comprises the following sub-programmes: National Assembly (House; Committees); National Council of Provinces (House; Committees); Public Participation and External Relations; Shared Services; Sectoral Parliaments and Joint Business.
2.2.6 As of 2021/22 Parliament will implement a new programming framework with a shift towards dedicated constituency, committee and plenary weeks. The new framework also allows for the scheduling of joint committees and joint inter-sectoral work. Table 2 below sets out the annual performance targets relating to the planning framework. Per the table the institution must produce one draft annual parliamentary framework, and four quarterly parliamentary frameworks.
Table 2: Annual Performance Targets relating to the programme (Source: Draft Annual Performance Plan presentation)
2.2.7 In respect of members’ capacity building, the institution will do continuous needs assessments; improve co-ordination and co-operation between role-players; integrate individual capacity-building programmes; and initiate processes to measure the usefulness of the programmes.
2.2.8 Table 3, below, illustrates the annual performance targets relating to capacity-building. As illustrated the institution’s capacity-building programme for members must in 2021/22 be rated as useful by 65 per cent of its beneficiaries.
Table 3: Annual Performance Targets - Capacity Building
2.2.9 In respect of Research and Information, the institution will:
- develop a 3-year research plan to support the oversight plan;
- co-ordinate the various information providers into an integrated and seamless delivery model;
- ensure equal access to information services;
- forge improved collaboration with partners;
- augment the information dissemination process for improved packaging, information simplicity, and usage;
- introduce institutional standards and quality management processes to ensure quality and objectivity;
- establish a research advisory panel to guide and advise information services; and
- implement an institutional knowledge management strategy to ensure institutional data and information management processes.
2.2.10 Table 4, below,illustrates the annual targets over the medium term expenditure framework(MTEF). In respect of Research, Information Services, Content Advice, Procedural Advice and Committee Support, the institution will strive for 70 per cent user satisfaction. In the case of Legal Advice, the level of satisfaction must be at 65 per cent. The targets remain at the same level as the previous financial year.
Table 4: Annual Performance Targets - Information Services
2.2.11 In respect of public involvement, the institution intends to expand its delivery of public education and information programmes; host virtual public meetings, e-hearings, e-petitions; broaden cooperation with partners and stakeholders; improve co-ordination with constituency offices; and consolidate current programmes, capacities and resources.
2.2.12 Table 5 reflects the institution’s annual performance targets in respect of the performance of the public participation service. The institution intends to maintain a 60 per cent satisfaction level with the usefulness of the services and products provided.
Table 5: Annual Performance Targets – Public Participation
Programme 3: Associated Services and Transfers
2.2.13 Programme 3 provides for the facilities and financial support to political parties including leadership, administrative and constituency support. It also provides for transfer payments to entities in Parliament. It comprises the following sub-programmes: Members’ Facilities, Leadership, Administrative and Constituency support to political parties; Transfer to the PBO, Legislative Sector Support, and Office Supporting ISDs.
2.2.14 Performance in respect of this programme will not be measured.
Entities reporting to the Executive Authority
2.2.15 The following entities will from 2021/22 report directly to the Executive Authority: the Parliamentary Budget Office; the Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy; the Treasury Advice Office; and Legislative Sector Support.
3. Budget Information
3.1 Summary of the 2021/22 Draft Budget
3.3.1 As illustrated in Table 6 below,Parliament proposes a budget of R3.001 billion for 2021/22, R3. 162 billion and R3. 374 for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years respectively. The budget proposal of R3 001 billion for 2021/22 represents a growth rate of 5 per cent on the 2020/21 budget of R2 706 billion.
3.3.2 As indicated the proposed budget is set to increase by 6 per cent over the 2021 MTEF. The bulk of the 2021/22 budget will go towards Programme 3: Associated Service (30 per cent) and Programme 2: Legislative and Oversight (29 per cent). Programme 1: Administration will receive only 23 per cent of the budget.
Table 6: Summary of 2021/22 Budget
3.3.3 The budget for Programme 1 will be distributed as follows: R476,679 million for Corporate and Support Services; R113,657 million for the Executive Authority; and R85,525 million for the Office of the Secretary to Parliament. In terms of economic classification, the bulk of the allocation will be spent on Compensation of Employees (R1,821,121 billion).
3.3.4 The budget for Programme 2 will be distributed as follows: R319,004 million towards the NA; R296,298 million towards the Shared Services; R144,666 million towards Public Participation and External Relations; R100, 951 million towards the NCOP; and R20 million towards Sectoral Parliaments. In terms of economic classification, the bulk of the allocation will go towards current payments.
3.3.5 The budget for Programme 3 will be distributed as follows: R510,165 million to Political Party Allowances (transfer); R374,880 million to Members’ Facilities; and R18, 410 million towards Parliamentary Budget Office (transfer). In terms of economic classification, the bulk of the budget will go towards transfers and subsidies.
4.1 As indicated in previous reports, Parliament does not yet have a guideline to inform the drafting of its plans, but ought to have ensured that it complied with what the FMPPLA requires i.e. the inclusion of objectives and outcomes for each programme. In order to have the desired impact, it is critical to identify outcomes to be pursued over the period of the strategic plan. The Committee is disappointed that the institution has not yet addressed longstanding concerns in terms of measuring the performance.
4.2 The Committee remains extremely dissatisfied that the draft APP, despite repeated recommendations to that effect, does not contain milestones that can be measured on a quarterly basis. It is noted that operational plans will contain more targets.
4.3 Although Programme 3 will receive a substantial allocation and includes Members Facilities, there are no performance indicators under this programme. This means that it will not be measured throughout 2021/22.
4.4 The Committee notes that risks have been identified under each programme and is concerned that no information has been provided in respect of mitigation plans responding to those risks. As indicated in our report on the Sixth Parliament’s Strategic Plan the identified risks are not linked to specific outcomes as should be the case.
4.5 The Committee notes that the OISD, PBO, TAO and LSS will report directly to the Executive Authority. The APP contains no information with regard to how the performance of these offices will be measured.
4.6 The Committee remains concerned about the long delay in the appointment of a director to the Parliamentary Budget Office. The leadership instability has caused undue anxiety among the its analysts, and will also delay any efforts to expand that office’s mandate to ensure that Parliament reaps the full benefit of the PBO’s expertise.
4.7 The Committee notes the crucial role the Treasury Advice Office will play and remains concerned about the unreasonable delays in establishing the office.
4.8 The Committee notes with concern the long delays in filling critical vacancies, i.e. Secretary to Parliament, Chief Financial Officer, and the Chief Audit Executive. These STP and CFO posts have now been vacant for several years. Stability in these posts is critical to the functioning of the institution.
4.9 The Committee remains concerned that Parliament must, like national departments, apply to the National Treasury for a share of the national budget. Parliament is a separate arm of the state and cannot be expected to rely on the executive for its budget allocation. This reliance has the potential to weaken Parliament’s ability to perform oversight of the Executive. This concern was raised in our report on the Sixth Parliament’s Strategic Plan too.
4.10 The Committee supports all efforts to increase public participation in Parliament’s activities. Ensuring that more people have access to information about Parliament through television, radio and social media would contribute greatly towards that goal.
4.11 The Committee notes that the regulations referred to under Chapter 9 of the FMPPLA have not yet been developed. These regulations will go a long way towards standardising, amongst others, the institution’s planning and budgeting processes.
The Executive Authority should respond to the following recommendations within 30 days of the adoption of this report.
5.1 The Committee recommends that it should be provided with the reasoning behind, despite the legal requirement to do so, the institution’s decision to not identifyobjectives and outcomes across all three programmes to allow for transparency, and easy monitoring of performance. The Committee further recommends that Parliament should ensure that all performance targets are broken down to be measured quarterly in order for the Committee to monitor their implementation.
5.2 The Committee recommends that the Parliament should ensure that the all its programmes are measured, that is, they should have performance indicators to pursue, accompanied by SMART performance targets.
5.3 The Committee recommends that that mitigation plans for each risk identified be developed as a matter of urgency, and that they be linked to specific outcomes. These plans should be developed before the APP is implemented, and should be presented to the Committee on their completion.
5.4 The Committee recommends that the PBO Advisory Committee fast-track the recruitment of a suitably qualified director. The Committee should be provided with a monthly report on progress made, or challenges experienced in this regard.
5.5 The Committee recommends that the process of establishing the Treasury Advice Office be fast-tracked and that it be established before the end of the 2020/21 financial year. In addition, means of funding the office should be explored so as to ensure that once established, it has the funding to support the service. Monthly updates should be provided on progress made in this regard.
5.6 The Committee recommends that the posts referred to in paragraph 4.8 be filled as a matter of urgency and before the end of the 2020/21 financial year, and that monthly updates be provided on progress made in this regard.
5.7 The Committee recommends that every avenue be pursued to ensure that the vast majority of citizens are able to access information about parliamentary committee meetings and plenaries. Parliamentary meetingsshould not be aired on pay-to-view channels, but should be broadcasted on the SABC’s platform. The Committee should be provided with quarterly progress reports on the interventions the Parliamentary Communication Service is working on.
5.8 The Committee recommends that the regulations referred to in Chapter 9 of the FMPPLA be developed and finalised as a matter of urgency and before the end of the 2020/21 financial year. The Committee should be provided with quarterly updates on progress made in this regard.
Report to be considered.
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