ATC210513: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration on the Strategic Plan 2019/20—2023/24, Annual Performance Plans (Apps) 2021/22 and the Budget Vote 07 of the National School of Government, Date 13 May 2021

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION ON THE STRATEGIC PLAN 2019/20—2023/24, ANNUAL PERFORMANCE PLANS (APPS) 2021/22 AND THE BUDGET VOTE 07 OF THE NATIONAL SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT, DATE 13 MAY 2021

 

  1. BACKGROUND

The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration (hereinafter referred to as the Portfolio Committee) having considered the directive of the National Assembly to consider and report on the Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and Budget allocations of the National School of Government tabled by the Minister in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (Act No 1 of 1999), reports as follows:

  1. INTRODUCTION

Parliament plays an important role in overseeing planning and performance of government departments and public entities as well as Chapter 9 and 10 institutions. The Public Finance Management Act, section 27 stipulates that the Minister must table the annual budget for a financial year in the National Assembly before the start of the financial year. Subsequent to that the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act, No 9 of 2009, section 10 (1) (c) clearly stipulates that 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 reporting.

In considering the strategic and annual performance plan, the Committee ensured that the National School Government’s plan and budget allocation serve the needs and aspirations of the public servants. Budget allocation serves as a key instrument for government to promote socio-economic development. Budget allocation plays a critical role as an economic instrument of the government to reflect on the country’s socio-economic policy priorities by translating priorities and political commitments into expenditures. Budget serves as a vital tool to operationalise government activities towards the achievement of its intended priorities. Furthermore, the budget highlights the constraints and trade-offs in policy choices.

On 04th May 2021, the Committee considered presentation on the Strategic and Annual Performance Plan and budget allocation of the National School of Government (NSG). This report summarises the presentation received from the NSG, focusing on the 2019/24 Strategic Plan and 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan and Budget as well as allocations over the MTEF.

 

  1. OVERVIEW OF THE NSG

The National School of Government (NSG) draws its mandate from the Constitution,and with particular reference to 195(1) (h), which stipulates that: “good human resource management and career-development practices, to maximise human potential, must be cultivated”. The applicability of this, and the other values and principles to the three spheres of government, organs of state and public enterprises indicates the requisite depth and the reach of the NSG in order to fulfil this constitutional mandate.

 

The NSG has to ensure that all of the basic values and principles are inculcated into the value system and performance of all public servants and representatives through education, training and development (ETD) initiatives. It does so through its curriculum design, development and delivery approach with the practical application of participatory, people-centred methodologies and the application of indigenous facilitation and learning techniques during the ETD initiatives, in building a caring ethos and citizen-centred service delivery focus amongst public servants. This approach consciously focuses on the application of the principles and values of the Constitution and the realisation of the public administrative justice to all whom we serve.

 

  1. LEGISLATIVE MANDATE

Section 197 of the Constitution provides for a public service within public administration, which must function, and be structured, in terms of nationallegislation, and which must loyally execute the lawful policies of the government of the day.  The NSG, as a national public service department, thus draws its mandate from national legislation – the Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation 103 of 1994), as amended. This is the core mandate which establishes the NSG for it to fulfil a function of providing training or causing the provision of training to occur within the public service. Accordingly, section 4 of the Act provides the following mandate:

 

  1. There shall be a training institution listed as a national department (in Schedule 1 of the Act).
  2.  The management and administration of such institution shall be under the control of the Minister (Public Service and Administration).
  3. Such institution, shall provide such training or cause such training to be provided or conduct such examinations or tests or cause such examinations or tests to be conducted as the Head of the institute may with the approval of the Minister decide or as may be prescribed as a qualification for the appointment or transfer of persons in or to the public service. The School may issue diplomas or certificates or cause diplomas or certificates to beissued to persons who have passed such examinations.

 

Whilst this piece of legislation empowers the NSG to fulfil its mandate, the limitation of the Public Service Act is that it is applicable to the national and provincial spheres of government. Another piece of enabling legislation - Public Administration Management Act, 2014 (Act No. 11 of 2014) - gives effect, inter alia, to the progressive realisation of the values and principles governing public administration across the three spheres of government.

 

  1. STRATEGIC GOALS OF THE NSG

The NSG strategy is aligned to the MTSF as well as the performance agreement of the Ministry for Public Service and Administration (MPSA) and is able to contribute to all of the aforementioned outcomes through Education and Training Development (ETD) interventions.These outcomes and interventions are the reduction of wasteful, fruitless and irregular expenditure in public sector institutions; the reduction in incidents of corruption in the public sector; socio-economic rights; and gender mainstreaming in public sector institutions. The NSG has, with a focus on social compact and engagement with citizens, developed and implemented ETD interventions in supporting the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights of communities. This programme aims to capacitate Community Development Workers (CDWs), facilitate participatory community engagement for Ward Councillors, and Traditional Leaders for socioeconomic development.

 

The key strategic priorities of the Vote set for 2020/21 were:

 

5.1        Delivering on the compulsory and mandatory courses, as mandated by Cabinet

Delivering on the compulsory and mandatory courses is in line with the vision of the NDP: Public Service and Outcome 12.2 of the MTSF, which states that the public service must have sufficient technical and specialist professional skills. Skills deficits and insufficient attention to the role of the State in producing the skills remains a challenge.To this end Government, through the Public Administration Management Act, No. 11 of 2014, rebranded and transformed the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA) into the National School of Government (NSG). The School offers training programmes tailor-made for the upskilling and re-skilling of public servants. Unlike before this provision was introduced, all public servants, including senior managers, have to undergo compulsory induction when they join the public service. The online programme – Nyukela - went live on 15 July 2019, as a compulsory offering in response to the Directive on minimum entry requirements for the SMS. There have been more than 7 000 enrolments for the programme, with more than 2 400 having successfully completed.

 

5.2       Undertaking knowledge management, research and case study development

In line with this strategy, the School undertook the following activities:

5.2.1     All NSG courses and programmes were aligned to government policy frameworks seeking to address quality service delivery.

5.2.2     The NSG undertook individual training needs analyses within departments and analyses of oversight reports (Auditor-General) to identify ways to improve in all areas of weaknesses /challenges of departments.

5.2.3     The NSG revamped its Batho Pele courses to be citizen-centred and worked with the Public Service Commission to mainstream the Constitutional Values and Principles (CVPs) in all its courses.

 

 

 

 

5.3       Reviewing the NSG curriculum in line with the Public Service Qualifications Matrix to support the career pathing and reskilling of public servants

The School performed the following activities:

  • Trained 3000 interns and unemployed youth on the Breaking Barriers to Entry into the Public Service (BB2E) to enhance youth employment opportunities.
  • Revamped the BB2E programme to support the Formal Graduate Recruitment Scheme in the public service.
  • Rolled out a suite of Supply Chain Management programmes for public service and local government to strengthen government capacity to support job creation and localisation.
  • Rolled out the course on Leading Innovation in the Public Service. Furthermore, worked with the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) to develop a strategy for the reskilling of public servants to mitigate the opportunities and threats of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
  • Collaborated with the Government’s Information Technology Officers Council (GITOC) to develop a programme for Chief Information Officers in the Public Service.
  • In support of the National Health Insurance (NHI) implementation, the NSG prepared itself to roll out targeted training programmes for nursing personnel, including the Compulsory Induction Programme; Managing Performance in the Public Service; Citizen Centred Service Delivery; and Excellent Customer Care for Frontline Service.

 

  1. Addressing the NSG funding model and financial position

Since the School’s current funding consists of partial funding appropriated by Parliament and income derived from cost recovery through training course fees, which is managed in the Training Trading Account (TTA), the School is required to recover all costs associated with the training of staff sent by the departments for training. This includes costs associated with developing materials, marketing, logistics, and infrastructure for the School. The School has a challenge to improve in this area since the pandemic has affected its revenue generation strategy, due to the challenge of numbers required to gather in one place at a time for training and social distancing.

Since the end of the 2019/20 financial year and the 2020/21 financial year, the cancellation and non-uptake of training has resulted in the NSG not being able to meet ETD targets as well as generating revenue. This had a significant impact on the NSG to be able to sustain itself as the current budget could not absorb the impact of losses. The NSG had to revise the ETD numbers downwards for the 2020/21 financial year, with the potential for a deficit in revenue generation.

 

 

 

  1. BUDGET ANALYSIS

The School’s overall budget allocation for 2021/22 is R210.2, compared to R227.4 million in 2020/21. This represents an decrease of 7.6 per cent in nominal terms. However, in real terms the total budget for the School decreased by 11.29 per cent between the 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years. The budget of the School is divided into two programmes, which share the allocated budget almost equally. Programme 1: Administration consumes 51.9 per cent (R109.2m) of the budget allocation whilst Programme 2: Public Sector Organisational and Staff Development consumes the remaining 48.1 per cent (R101.0m).

 

The School aims to continue to revise its funding model to ensure it generates more revenue through its training projects. The revised funding model will propose that a portion of national departments’ training budgets be redirected to the school to fund the mandatory training it provides. The School planned to conclude its consultation with key stakeholders on the revised funding model in 2019/20 financial year. The School plans to implement revisions to the trading account’s tariff structure to ensure that the School generates more revenue.

 

Table 1: National School of Government budget

Overall budget for 2021/22

Programme

                       Budget

Nominal Rand change

Real Rand change

Nominal % change

Real % change

R million

 

2020/21

Million

2021/22

Million

             2021/22

 2021/22

2021/22

Programme 1: Administration

 

 

 

 90,9

 

109,2

 

18,3

 

13,9

 

20,13 per cent

 

15,29 per cent

Programme 2: Public Sector Organisational and Staff Development

 

 

 

136,5

 

101,0

 

-35,5

 

 -39,6

 

-26,01 per cent

 

-28,99 per cent

TOTAL

 

 227,4

 210,2

  -17,2

  -25,7

-7,6 per cent

-11,29 per cent

Source: National Treasury (2021)

  1. PROGRAMME PERFORMANCE

The NSG has two programmes whose budget and activities are as follows:

  1. Programme 1:  Administration

The purpose of this Programme is to provide strategic leadership, management and support services to the School. The budget for Programme 1 increased from R90.9 million in 2020/21 to R109.2 million in 2021/22. This represents a 15.29 per cent increase in real terms in the budget allocation between 2020/21 and 2021/22. The programme is one of the two major cost drivers under this Vote, consuming 51.95 per cent of the overall allocation. It is also the only programme that experiences an increase in nominal and real terms.

The growth experienced in allocation to this Programme is mainly attributable to the significant growth evident in the Management and Corporate Services sub-programmes, which increase by 39.17 per cent and 17.39 per cent, respectively. The Branch: Corporate Management and Business Enablement ensures that the NSG performs as a fully functional integrated institution, creating an enabling environment for the core business functions to deliver on the overall mandate.    Corporate Services also dominates expenditure under the Programme, consuming R91.8 million (84 per cent) of the budget allocation to the Programme. This is followed by Management, which consumes R16.7 million (15.29 per cent) of the allocation. The Management sub-programme also looks after the Office of the Principal, which leads the organisational change and transformation agenda, whilst at the same time ensuring adherence to good corporate governance practices, and financial viability and sustainability of the trading entity of the NSG.

Organisation transformation is a current project of the School to repurpose training programmes, human and financial resources to adapt to the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on funding and training. The School reduced the average number of days for debt collection to 60 days. All disciplinary cases were resolved within 60 days from the date of receiving the case. The School facilitated three agreements supporting international exchanges and capacity building initiatives. 

The Programme has six targets for the financial year, which are to develop a Total Quality Management Policy and System for the National School of Government. The School will map and implement three business processes in line with operations management plan and implement six ICT business solutions to enable NSG operations. Furthermore, resolve 100% of material audit findings and implement 30% of the NSG Brand and Marketing Strategy. The School intends to engage in 12 communication interventions promoting NSG offerings in the public sector. 

 

  1. Programme 2: Public Sector Organisational and Staff Development

The Public Sector Organisational and Staff Development (Programme 2) is responsible for facilitating transfer payments to the Training Trading Account, which provides education, development and training to public sector employees. The budget allocation for Programme 2 decreased from R136.5 million in 2020/21 to R101.0 million in 2021/21, due to adjustments necessitated by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw many contact training programmes offered virtually and online. In real terms the budget allocation of Programme 2 decreased by 28.99 per cent between 2020/21 and 2021/22. This programme consumes 48.1 per cent of the overall budget. The Programme’s budget (R101.0 million) is allocated to the National School of Government Training Trading Account sub-programme, which provides education, development and training to public sector employees.

The School introduced the use of the e-Learning modality that enables it to offer e-Learning courses and to establish communities of practice, as well as open online courses. The School undertook training needs analyses with public sector institutions. The School completed research projects to inform training needs and opportunities.

The Programme has 22 targets for the financial year 2021/22, among which are to generate R118.5 million in revenue and other funding sources. The School will further implement 50% of business development interventions resulting in opportunities for uptake of the NSG offerings. The National Development Plan emphasises the importance of professionalising the public service. The NDP highlights that building a skilled and professional public service requires a vision on how public servants experience and expertise develops during their careers. Therefore, the NSG plays a fundamental role in ensuring that public service is professionalised by providing compulsory induction to all public servants. The School intends to complete five skills assessment reports informing the Education, Training and Development needs and analyse report of Workplace and Sector Skills Plans to inform ETD interventions. In this regard, the School will develop four research reports informing Education, Training and Development.

 

In this financial year, the School will document four areas of good practice in the public sector to enhance ETD interventions. Furthermore, the School will develop an annual report on analysis of Workplace and Sector Skills Plans to inform ETD interventions. The programme will develop and review eight courses/programmes/interventions responsive to identified skills gaps and government priorities. Six impact evaluation studies will be conducted. The School will develop the National Implementation Framework on the professionalisation of the public service and develop a post-graduate qualification developed for the NSG.

 

The School will facilitate 20% partnership to support ETD interventions and host five thought platforms/seminars. The School intends to develop the framework for performance management system for ETD practitioners. Moreover, facilitate and manage accreditation process to maintain the status of the NSG as an accredited training provider.  The School will quality assure eight programmes/courses by the NSG Quality Assurance Committee. The School will implement four compulsory programmes and train 38 460 learners on compulsory and demand-led ETD interventions.Cumulatively train 30% of senior managers in the public service on how to deal with all forms of discrimination.

 

  1. OBSERVATIONS AND FINDINGS

 

The Portfolio Committee identified the following matters in relation to the Budget Vote 7:

 

  1. The Committee notes and considered the Annual Performance Plan 2021/22 financial year of the National School of Government. The APP contextualises the work of the NSG, which aims to strengthen state capacity and building an efficient, capable, ethical and developmental state through education, training and development. The NSG was commended for turning around the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to transform its business operations.

 

  1. The Committee notes the impact of the pandemic on the attainment of annual targets and funding of the National School of Government. The NSG revenue on the Training Trading Account has been severely affected and impacted on programme 2 of the School, which fully funds its activities including Compensation of Employees. The Schoolexperiencedchallenges in generating revenue, resulting in reduction from R132million to R75million, and lowered the training numbers from 43 600 to 26 040.

 

  1. The Committee notes that an estimated R10.5 million monthly on training fees has been lost since April 2020 due to the Coronavirus. This was caused by the fact that the NSG was no longer able to offer contact classes due to the lockdown and social distancing as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.Moreover, the cancellation and non-uptake of training has resulted in the School not being able to meet ETD targets as well as generating revenue. Again, most of the public servants at the entry levels do not have laptops and data, which impacts negatively on the success of online learning. 

 

  1. The NSG was urged to continue to engage network service providers to donate free data for online training courses offered on a zero rated facility. Zero rated data for training courses will assist the School to attract more public servants to enrol for training and development interventions that will assist government officials to learn, serve and grow.

 

  1. COVID-19 pandemic has forced the corporate world to adapt to new ways of work. Digital transformation has to be embraced in the public administration by imparting technological skills to the public servants on the advent of Fourth Industrial Revolution. The School will provide learners with opportunities to better understand the digital era.

 

  1. The Committee welcomes the decision of the School to prioritise its programme Khaedu, the Senior Management Service (SMS) interface at the front-end office of a service delivery centre. This is in order to build capacity among public servants on issues relating to efficient business processes and operations management.  

 

  1. The Nyukela programme is now entrenched as one of theNSG’s bespoke programmes, with a total of 11 668 public servants enrolled for the course and 6893 successfully completing by individuals aspiring to be appointed to senior management in the public service.

 

  1. The Committee notes a high number of officials who had enrolled on the compulsory training courses. The NSG was applauded for such achievement of attracting more public servants to enrol for the training course during the pandemic, however, the Committee appealed to the NSG to categorise training intakes per province for easier understanding.

 

  1. The Committee notes that the School will implement training programmes to support economic reforms, which will include emphasis on programmes on financial management andsupply chain management in the public service.

 

  1. The Committee notes that cancellation and non-uptake of training has significant impact on the NSG to sustain itself as the current budget could not absorb the impact of losses. The NSG had to revise the Education, Training and Development numbers downwards with the potential for a deficit in revenue generation.

 

  1. The Committee welcomed new training programme named “Etella”. Etella is an eight-module course within a framework of initiatives geared toward the enhancement of management acumen and leadership capabilities of Heads of Departments in departments and public entities in their capacity as Accounting Officers. Through Etella and related initiatives, the NSG is supporting senior public officials to lead in a dynamic and uncertain environment and to make a significant contribution in growing the next generation of Accounting Officers.

 

  1. The Committee welcomes the School partnering with relevant international training bodies to strengthen its role in providing training within the public service.

 

  1. RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The Portfolio Committee recommends that the National School of Government undertake the following:

  1. The School together with the Department of Public Service and Administration should continue to engage the National Treasury in exploring alternative methods of a funding model. The School should develop a fully-fledged Funding Model to maintain the self-generated income through the Training Trading Account.

 

  1. The School should offer mostly accredited courses so that full recognition is afforded to employees being trained, so that they have opportunities for development and promotion.

 

  1. The School should ensure that it carries through with partnership projects with accrediting bodies, among which is the Institute of Directors, to empower boards serving in the State-owned Entities and other related bodies.

 

  1. The School should consider, where possible,to offer most of its training courses through e-Learning platforms, as part of modernising its business and saving costs on the logistics such as venues.The School has to devise a strategy to attract public servants to enrol for online courses.

 

  1. There is a need to resolve grievances within stipulated time in the public service. The School is hereby requested to design a course on conflict management for Public Service Commissioners, as the Commission has realised that where a full investigation cannot be done due to time and human resource constraints, it is expedient and quicker to engage in mediation exercise.

 

  1. CONCLUSION

The National School of Government continue to rollout courses and training programmes relevant to government officials from entry level to senior management and the Executive. Education, Training and Development programmes offered by the School assist public officials to enhance performance and contribute towards a capable and professional public administration.  The School is encouraged to identify core deliverables and ensure that they are delivered. The Funding Model should be prioritised by the School in order to keep it afloat.

 

The Portfolio Committee recommends as follows:

That the House approves the Budget Vote 07 of the National School of Government.

 

 

Report to be considered.

 

Documents

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