ATC230508: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration on the Annual Performance Plans (Apps) 2023/24 And the Budget Vote 07 of the National School of Government, Date 05 May 2023
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration on the Annual Performance Plans (Apps) 2023/24 And the Budget Vote 07 of the National School of Government, Date 05 May 2023
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:
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 02nd May 2023, 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 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan and Budget as well as allocations over the MTEF.
- 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.
- LEGISLATIVE MANDATE
Section 197 of the Constitution provides for a public service within public administration, which must function, and be structured, in terms of national legislation, 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:
- There shall be a training institution listed as a national department (in Schedule 1 of the Act).
- The management and administration of such institution shall be under the control of the Minister (Public Service and Administration).
- 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 be issued 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.
- 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 2023/24 are:
- Utilising digital learning opportunities
Given that the primary mode of education, training and development (ETD) delivery was based on face-to-face contact learning, there was an urgent need to review the delivery modality and shift as many courses and programmes onto the open distance eLearning (ODeL) and virtual learning platforms. The NSG digital learning approach is also informed by research undertaken by the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) on emerging technologies in the public service, which makes the following recommendations in relation to eLearning enablers:
- A more ubiquitous access to laptops and data needs to extend across all public service levels if required for remote or virtual working. This is also a pre-requisite for eLearning.
- The detracting feature of low bandwidth is that it does not offer rich content, webinars or online lecture capturing and streaming functionalities and is limiting the ubiquity of eLearning platforms.
- The use of more suitable video streaming or changes to site restriction rules in order to make content more widely available and accessible.
Over the two financial years (2020/21 and 2021/22) there has been a total of 134 968 eLearning enrolments. The NSG will continue to scale-up the digital learning opportunities in this financial year.
- Maintaining digital transformation
The NSG has embarked on a journey of digital transformation, with the development of a draft strategy and implementation plan. This was precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency for the NSG to digitize its business operations. Digital transformation has been broader than digitizing the NSG business processes but rather how the NSG becomes a systems integrator within the broader public sector ecosystem. The work undertaken in developing the framework was largely influenced by key documents such as the National Digital and Future Skills Strategy (2020) and the PSETA research on Emerging Technologies in the Public Service Sector and their Skills Implications (2020).
Additionally, the principles of Batho Pele underpinning efficient service delivery remained a critical factor, when considering bridging the digital service delivery gap and serving a smart citizenry. With the exponential increase in technologies such as smart phones, and social media platforms, there is an emergence of a global phenomenon of a smart citizenry.
The Digital Transformation Strategy will contribute towards the digital positioning of the NSG as key within the ecosystem of public sector education, training and development as part of the overall change process of the organisation. Furthermore, the NSG will develop or facilitate ETD interventions to enhance digital skills in the public sector. It will also engage with key institutions to fast track digital transformation in the public sector.
- Fostering Executive Education
The NSG launched the Executive Education on 24 June 2022, which seeks to provide executive education opportunities in the public sector, by establishing a suite of premium programmes. The executive education will target senior managers, executives and public representatives in all organs of state. It will seek to improve the quality of public sector leadership & management by combining the science of experiential learning and enabling leaders to develop new knowledge, skills and attitude. It will also Influence public policies and how state institutions respond to these policies. The programmes will take on a blended approach, including classroom interaction, online learning, and onsite experimentations. Identified programmes will include current bespoke executive programmes, and new programmes such as Scenario and Long-term Planning.
- Implementing a strategy towards the professionalisation of the public service
The current Medium Term Strategic Framework commits explicitly to the professionalisation of the public service as imperative for building of a capable, ethical and developmental state. The work of professionalising the public service is part of the bigger project of strengthening state capacity. The NSG, working jointly with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the Office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC) is finalising a national implementation framework for the professionalisation of the public service, as envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP).
- Mainstreaming gender, youth and disability
Mainstreaming of gender, youth and disability in all programmes and activities of the department is key in ensuring that the empowerment of these designated groups is prioritised. To attain this, departments need to develop and implement plans, programmes, budgets and systems that are responsive to the needs of women, youth and persons with disabilities. The Gender, Youth and Disability-Responsive Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring, Evaluation and Auditing (GEYODI-RPBMEA) is one such Plan that the NSG implements and monitors. In addition to the Framework’s implementation, the NSG continues to implement 18 National School of Government the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (NSP on GBVF). The NSG responds to Pillar 2 (Prevention and rebuilding social cohesion) of the GBVF NSP‘s six pillars. The NSG remains committed to supporting the implementation of the National Strategic Plan and will ensure the following:
- Promotion of the Plan within the NSG, as well as educating employees on gender-based violence and femicide.
- Incorporation of the Plan into the curriculum of NSG courses and programmes, in particular the course targeting SMS on dealing with issues of discrimination.
- Continued rollout of programmes such as gender mainstreaming, gender-based budgeting and reporting, and diversity management.
Elevating gender-based issues for discussion within the departmental Employment Equity Forum. Gender, youth and disability targets within the department’s policies, programmes and plans such as the Workplace Skills Plan, the HR Plan, Procurement, and others, are aligned to the NSG’s Employment Equity Plan targets of 50% women, 30% youth and 3% persons with disabilities. These targets are monitored and reported on throughout the year to ensure that the empowerment of these population groups is always in the line of sight. Integrating gender, age and disability into departmental and social plans, budgets and programmes is key in ensuring that the NSG plays its part in advancing the Constitutional vision of an equitable and non-sexist society that promotes the economic growth of all citizens; particularly those who have been previously disadvantaged.
- Facilitating and delivering the gender responsive planning and budgeting course
The Gender Responsive Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring, Evaluation and Auditing (GRPBMEA) Framework was approved by cabinet on 27 March 2019. The framework requires government plans and budgets that must contribute towards the empowerment of women and the achievement of gender equality in South Africa. In responding to the framework while implementing the mandate of providing ETD, the NSG, in partnership with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) developed a course on Gender Responsive Planning and Budgeting (GRPB). The primary objective of the course is to ‘Improve capacity to mainstream gender on various levels within the public sector through gender responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and auditing’. Training sessions have been rolled out and the NSG will continue to focus on undertaking advocacy work with regards to the course. The NSG is also in the process of recruiting a panel of experts who will be able to deliver the roll-out of training for this course as well as other courses the NSG offers. The course is aligned with the indicator on learners trained on compulsory and demand- led ETD interventions and also committed within the Annual Operational Plan (AOP).
- Strengthening the information and communication technology (ICT) space
In the 2023/24 financial year the focus will be on implement the revised policy. The purpose of the policy would be to enable the National School of Government (NSG) to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of organisational data (data used for business/data belonging to employees/data belonging to stakeholders) and the systems and infrastructure that store, process or transmit such data. The following projects will also be implemented in ensuring improvement and efficiency in the management of ICT within the NSG:
- Data Centre Infrastructure Project.
- Local Area Network Infrastructure Project.
- Wide Area Network Infrastructure Project.
- Learner Management System Project.
- Training Management System Project.
- Software Acquisition, Enhancement and Development Project.
- Conducting impact evaluations and analysis
The NSG has been conducting more in-depth evaluation studies, i.e. the Application of Learning Studies (ALS)/Outcome evaluations and impact evaluations (started in 2020/2021) of the identified training programmes (this is usually done at least 6 months to a year after the training has taken place). The aim of these evaluations is to determine whether the training programmes offered by the NSG are aligned to the needs of the public service, whether there are any changes in behaviours of individuals because of the training as well as the subsequent changes in the 15 2023/2024 Annual Performance Plan workplace. In effect, these evaluations are measuring the impact of the training at an individual and unit level by following the cohort of officials who attended the training programmes in order to measure their performance against the programmes they had attended.
5.9 Professionalisation of the public sector
In 2020, the National School of Government was mandated by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration to lead in the development of a national framework towards the professionalisation of the public sector. The draft framework was submitted and subsequently approved by Cabinet on 18 November 2020 for the publication thereof for public consultation. The draft framework was gazetted in December 2020 for public comments. A series of public consultations with professional bodies, civil society organisations, higher education institutions and other interested parties were undertaken from February 2021. These consultations were followed by the appointment of a High-Level Ministerial Advisory Panel to peer review the inputs and undertake further research to enhance the draft Framework. The Panel consisted of members drawn from selected organs of state, state-owned entities, academia, private sector, quality assurance and professional bodies.
Following further engagements on the revised draft framework, the final document was approved by Cabinet on 19 October 2022. The Framework has been extended to the national, provincial and local spheres of government, organs of state and the legislative sector. Therefore, recommendations made in the National Framework Towards Professionalisation of the Public Sector shall be consistently applied across the public sector including the Military, State Security, Police and Correctional Services.
The Framework aims to achieve the following:
- The tightening of pre-entry requirements as well as effective recruitment and selection processes that inform meritocratic appointments across all levels.
- Undertaking workplace orientation and induction programmes that are linked to on-boarding and mainstreamed as an intervention for organisational development.
- Effective HR planning, performance management and appraisal systems, including performance standards and assessment instruments for different categories of employees. Performance management can also be aligned with professional body/association registration.
- Public servants returning to the simulator by undertaking continuous learning and professional development. This will include public sector officials being encouraged register with Professional Councils, starting with specific categories of occupations in the public sector which I will mention later.
- Managing the career progression and career incidents of public servants and heads of department respectively.
- BUDGET ANALYSIS
The School’s overall budget allocation for 2023/24 is R229.0 million in 2023/24 financial year of which R115.7 million is transferred to the NSG Trading Account. This translates to a 51% transfer to the Trading Account. Of the remaining R113.3 million (49%) of the budget allocation, an amount of R60.4 million (26%) is allocated to Compensation of Employees and another R48.9 million (21%) to Goods and Services and R3.9 million (2%) to Machinery and Equipment. This represents a decrease of R2.1 million (-0,91 per cent) in nominal terms. However, in real terms the total budget for the School decreases by R12,8 million (-5.54 per cent) between the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years.
Over the MTEF period, the School will continue to focus on increasing active online learning interventions and revising the funding model of its entity to improve revenue generation. Spending on the revised funding model is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 3.2 per cent from R5 million in 2022/23 to R5.5 million in 2025/26. Transfer to the training trading account constitute 50.4 per cent (R361.8 million) of the department’s budget over the medium term while the remaining 49.6 per cent is allocated to the Administration programme.
The School will continue to work towards revising its entity’s funding model by looking at alternative and broader sources of revenue beyond the fiscus to ensure financial sustainability. This will entail among other interventions a drive to increase the uptake of the school’s education, training and development offerings from 75 per cent in 2022/23 to 80 per cent in 2025/26. Spending for these activities is within allocation of R338.9 million over the medium term period.
The budget of the School is divided into two programmes, which share the allocated budget almost equally. Programme 1: Administration consumes 49,47 per cent (R113.3m) of the budget allocation whilst Programme 2: Public Sector Organisational and Staff Development, consumes the remaining 50.53 per cent (R115.7m). This is because revenue generation (which is the focus of the sub-programme: Training Trading Account under Programme 2) had some difficult history with contact classes during COVID-19 restrictions.
Table 1: National School of Government budget
Overall budget for 2023/24
Nominal Rand change
Real Rand change
Nominal % change
Real % change
Programme 1: Administration
-1,82 per cent
-6,41 per cent
Programme 2: Public Sector Organisational and Staff Development
0,0 per cent
-4,67 per cent
-0,91 per cent
5,54 per cent
Source: National Treasury (2023)
- PROGRAMME PERFORMANCE
The NSG has two programmes whose budget and activities are as follows:
- 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 decreased from R115,4 million in 2022/23 to R113,3 million in 2023/24. This represents a -6,41 per cent decrease in real terms in the budget allocation between 2022/23 and 2023/24. The programme is one of the two major cost drivers under this Vote, consuming 49,47 per cent of the overall allocation.
The Corporate Services sub-programme dominates expenditure under the Programme, consuming R92,9 million (81,99 per cent) of the budget allocation to the Programme. This is followed by Management, which consumes R15,0 million (13,23 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. Organisational 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 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 three targets for the financial year, which are to implement 100% of Total Quality Management Policy and System for the National School of Government. The School will map and implement four business processes in line with operations management plan and implement six ICT business solutions to enable NSG operations. Furthermore, implement 100% of the management improvement plan based on the previous audit outcome to ensure reduction of audit findings implemented. The School will implement 75% of the NSG Brand and Marketing Strategy.
- 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 stayed the same at R115,7 million in 2022/23 and 2023/24. In real terms the budget allocation of Programme 2 decreased by -4,67 per cent between 2022/23 and 2023/24. This programme consumes 50.52 per cent of the overall budget. The Programme’s budget (R115.7 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 Programme’s budget (R101.3 million) is allocated to the National School of Government Training Trading Account sub-programme, which provides education, development and training to public sector employees. From the National School of Government Trading Account, the total revenue is R221.2 million of which an amount of R101.3 million must be generated through courses fees and other sources of funding. This will be supported by focusing on increasing free courses that have a high impact and ultimately lead to transformation through the training offered.
Through the training of a total of 40 460 leaners, the NSG plans to raise this revenue amount. The allocation to compensation of employees amounts to R106 million and an amount of R114.5 million to goods and services.
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 nineteen targets for the financial year 2023/24, among which are to generate R101 million in revenue and other funding sources generated in Training Trading Account. The School will further implement 60% 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 document four areas of good practice in the public sector to enhance Education, Training and Development. Furthermore, the School will develop six research reports informing Education, Training and Development.
The programme will complete six skills assessment reports informing ETD needs. 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 developed the National Implementation Framework on the professionalisation of the public sector and develop a post-graduate qualification developed for the NSG. In 2023/24 financial year, the School will establish two partnerships with professional bodies on functional areas for professionalisation.
In this financial year, the School will develop status report on accreditation of postgraduate qualification. The School will conduct skills audit for two public service departments. Six advocacy sessions will be conducted on the implementation of the National Framework towards the Professionalisation of the public sector. The School will be implementing Nyukela Programme for the middle management services.
The School will facilitate 25% partnership and collaborations to support ETD interventions. The School intends to pilot and implement the framework for performance management system for ETD practitioners. Moreover, facilitate accreditation processes and managed to maintain the status of the NSG as an accredited training provider. The School will implement eight compulsory courses in the public sector.
The School will implement four compulsory programmes and train 46 480 learners on compulsory and demand-led ETD interventions. Cumulatively train 10% of public servants in the public service on how to deal with all forms of discrimination. The School will identify ten ODeL courses/programmes/interventions skills gaps that need to be developed or reviewed.
- OBSERVATIONS AND FINDINGS
The Portfolio Committee identified the following matters in relation to the Budget Vote 7:
- The Committee notes and welcomes the Annual Performance Plan for the 2023/24 financial year of the National School of Government. The APP contextualises the work of the NSG, which aims to strengthen state capacity and building a professional, capable, ethical and developmental state through education, training and development.
- The NSG played a pivotal role in the development of the approved National Framework on the Professionalisation of the public sector. The Committee was of the view that professionalization framework has to expand the revenue stream of the NSG with the Induction Programme for Board Members, introduction of the Nyukela (programme for pre-entry to senior management) and local government employees.
- The Committee notes a high rate on the Nyukela programme uptake from both public servants and private sector employees since it was introduced as a mandatory training programme for all senior management.
- The Committee welcomes the Nyukela Programme for Middle Management Services (MMS) to take the same format like the Nyukela Programme for Senior Management dictating that no employee will get promoted to middle management without producing first the attendance qualification in the Nyukela Programme.
- The Committee has emphasised the importance of conducting an impact evaluation on the outcomes of the training courses, more than the uptake numbers.
- The Committee notes that training courses and programme offerings have been tailored around a new hybrid model in order to attract more public servants in all corners of the country.
- The Committee notes that the School is repositioning itself and developing a new strategy for the Funding Model to be self-sustainable.
- The Committee notes the developments relating to skills assessments reports on specific departments with the aim of identifying training needs to ameliorate performance.
The Portfolio Committee recommends that the National School of Government undertake the following:
- The School should develop a fully-fledged Funding Model to maintain self-generated income through the Training Trading Account. The NSG should develop a repositioning strategy to align its mandate with Framework on Professionalising the public sector with the aim of expanding its services to most of the sectors in government.
- The NSG should move with speed towards the development of the Implementation Plan of the Framework on the Professionalisation of the public sector. The NSG together with the Department of Public Service and Administration and Public Service Commission should ensure that all government departments and entities abide by the Framework. There must be a monitoring tool to measure the implementation of the Framework.
- The NSG should continue to conduct an impact evaluation of its training programmes to measure the efficacy and application of knowledge with the aim of improving performance.
- The NSG should create more awareness campaigns on the Nyukela programme for Middle Management services in order to attract young people employed in both public and private sectors to enrol for the training course, especially when aspiring to consider public service as a career of choice.
- The School should continue, 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 should devise a strategy to attract public servants to enrol for online courses.
- The School should continue with its efforts to approach all data network companies to donate data for NSG courses to be offered on a zero rated scale. 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.
- The School should develop a course on the District Development Model as an integrated component for the integrated framework for senior public service officials involved in planning.
The National School of Government continues 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 professional, capable and ethical public administration. The NSG should play a leading role and be a leading institution within the ecosystem of public sector education, training and development. Repositioning of the NSG to be a leading role player in terms of ETD require a sustainable funding Model in order to keep it afloat.
The Portfolio Committee recommends as follows:
That the House adopt and approve the Budget Vote 07 of the National School of Government.
Report to be considered