Govt serious about performance

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pretoria - The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation will continue to put in place measures to enhance government's performance, says Minister Collins Chabane.

Presenting the department's Budget Vote in Parliament today, Chabane outlined several key initiatives that have had a positive impact on government delivery over the past year.

The department has now institutionalised the quarterly monitoring of the delivery agreements in the Cabinet system and it has reviewed the Annual Performance Plans of national departments to ensure that the contents were in line with the delivery agreements.

Chabane indicated that the delivery agreements were also in the process of being reviewed to strengthen them and give them more focus based on monitoring and evaluation over the past year.

"In this regard, where targets have been achieved, the review process involves setting higher targets. In instances where monitoring and evaluation has indicated that our activities are not leading to the intended results, changes are being introduced," Chabane told MPs.

He also revealed that greater emphasis would be placed on monitoring municipalities.

"We will include municipal customer service centres in this year's round of unannounced frontline service delivery monitoring visits. In addition, we have started to develop an appropriate tool to assess the management of municipalities, in collaboration with the Department of Cooperative Governance and National Treasury," he said.

This tool is expected to be completed and piloted by the end of the financial year and will be widely applied to municipalities the following year.

"This, we hope, will help us to effectively respond to the frustrations of our people at local level," Chabane said.

Reflecting on the department's achievements, Chabane said the department has, working in partnership with the Offices of the Premier, facilitated assessments of the quality of management practices in 103 national and provincial departments.

This involved assessing the quality of management practices across a comprehensive range of management areas.

"In carrying out these assessments, the Presidency and the Offices of the Premier are sending a strong message to managers that improving the quality of management practices is important," said Chabane.

The department has since June 2011 conducted 122 unannounced monitoring visits in five provinces -- Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State and Northern Cape.

"We monitored the quality of service delivery in selected offices of SASSA, Home Affairs, driver's licence centres, health facilities, courts and schools," Chabane said

He added that the findings were reported to Cabinet, which is working with the relevant departments to ensure that they act on the findings.

As part of ensuring that government accounts, Chabane highlighted that his ministry has produced the 2011 Development Indicators, which provide a broad picture of the state of the country's development, with 83 socio-economic indicators based on data sourced from government systems, official statistics and research done by local and international institutions.

"Both the Development Indicators and the results of our monitoring reinforce the need for us to continue to focus on the priorities which we identified at the beginning of the term."

The ministry has also produced the Mid-Term Review, which provides a detailed assessment of the progress and challenges in the implementation of the delivery agreements.

Further to this, the department has developed the National Evaluation Policy Framework, which Chabane said would help government establish whether or not its plans were resulting in their intended impacts and the reasons for this.

Chabane said the focus of the evaluations would be on programmes related to government's priorities, adding that his department would be taking the first annual national evaluation plan with eight recommended priority evaluations to Cabinet next week.

Programmes under consideration for evaluation this year will include the National School Nutrition Programme and Grade R Programme; the Integrated Nutrition Programme and Land Reform Recapitalisation and Development Programme and the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme.

Others include the Business Process Services Incentives Scheme, the Integrated Residential Development Programme and Urban Settlements Development Grant.

The minister said the ministry would continue to use the Presidential Hotline as a means of monitoring services. The hotline, which he said had made a difference in the lives of many South Africans, dealt with more than 130 000 cases and the resolution rate was more than 80%.

"This is a resolution rate that we can be proud of, given that we started from a low base of 39% in November 2009."

The ministry was also engaging several countries such as Mexico, Columbia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the UK, Canada, the USA and Australia to share and learn the best performance and monitoring experiences.