Speech by Minister in The Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane on the occasion of tabling to Parliament The Green Paper on Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mister Speaker
Honourable President Jacob Zuma
Honourable Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Honourable Members

Earlier this year on the occasion of tabling our budget vote to this House, we had committed to return and provide details of our approach to "Improving Government Performance". We had committed to return within this month of September, today I am pleased and honoured to address this house having kept our promised, honoured our commitment and met our deadline. This in our view is a demonstration of government's commitment to ensure that we improve and monitored our performance.

I present to you our approach as contained in the green paper, of which we have released for public comment and discussion, entitled "Improving Government Performance: our approach". The paper outlines, we believe, the mandate of the Ministry of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and how we will carry out our function.

The paper describes the process we have developed to ensure that we translate our mandate into a clear set of outcomes and crucial output measures that will help us keep track of our commitment to deliver better services to our people.

In a conscious effort to address the interaction and continuum between Planning and Performance Monitoring, the two Ministries within The Presidency are both tabling these papers that lay out our views and approaches. Members will note that we are committed to our joint challenge to improve the effectiveness of government. As we know it monitoring starts where planning ends and planning starts where monitoring ends.

Our government take the task of planning for our future and improving our current performance very seriously. The green paper on Improving Government Performance paves way for our single and a very focused desire to deliver on our mandate to the people of South Africa. Government is committed to ensure that we have performance that makes meaningful impact in the lives of our people.

Since 1994 we have made many advances and we have improved the lives of our people, but we recognize that in some areas our outcomes have been below standard. Budget increases and expenditure on services have not always brought the results we wanted or our people expected.

We need to understand and accept why we have sometimes not met our objectives in delivering quality services. The reasons vary from amongst others lack of political will, inadequate leadership, management weaknesses, inappropriate institutional design and misaligned decision rights. The absence of a strong performance culture with effective rewards and sanctions has also played a part.

While building on work already done, we need to focus more on positive outcomes as we use our time, money and management. Our approach is to now have a single-minded focus on driving Outcomes. We also need to understand the key steps in the delivery chain that will allow us to deliver on these outcomes and we develop a set of simple measures to assess on a regular basis that we are on track in delivering the outcome. This sounds straightforward, but it takes great policy insight and expertise to identify those crucial steps that bring about the improvements we are seeking.

Based on the already Cabinet approved Medium Term Strategic Framework, we will identify 20-25 core outcomes which will be the focus of our work to assist government to achieve its objectives.

The question then arises, how are we going to assess progress and success? For each sector, an individual Minister, groups of Ministers, or clusters of Ministers and MECs will be receiving a letter from the President outlining expected and agreed outcomes, and the measures we will be using to assess success. On a six monthly basis, there will be focused meetings between the President and the sector political leadership to assess progress.

In each sector, the political principals will call together a Service Delivery Forum of the key people that are involved in delivery in a sector. Each Forum will negotiate a Delivery Agreement between all the role players that will outline the roles, contribution that each will make to achieving the outcomes. We see these forums as enormously important in mobilising the wider South African society to work together in achieving our developmental goals.

We are especially concerned with what we have identified as priority areas: Education, Health, Safety, Economic growth with the creation of decent jobs and Rural Development. We believe that if we deliver and achieve desirable outcomes on these priorities in a focused manner we will make a meaningful impact.

To illustrate our point we now going to describe in more detail the approach that we envisage taking the health sector as an example.

We should provide the type of Health services that supports our citizens to lead longer healthier lives. While we recognise that there are many approaches to improving our health system, we will be selecting outcomes that can provide an adequate focus to drive change in behaviour within the overall system.

We need to turn our hospitals into functional institutions and increase the number of hospitals and clinics that get a positive audit based on a national set of norms, these audit norms will include health outcomes as well as operational measures. We will also ensure that our hospital managers have the rights to make decisions that will enable them to manage their institutions effectively. Hospital managers need to be able to buy the appropriate medicine, fix the equipment and hire and fire staff.

To assist us achieve our goals we recommend the creation of a Delivery Unit to respond to a few carefully selected areas of blockages in delivery. It will partner the appropriate delivery institutions in working towards a turn around strategy. More importantly its interventions would create models for improving delivery that can be followed by others. The Delivery Unit would consist of a small team of experienced officials who can facilitate change at national, provincial or local level.

The Unit will analyse failures in delivery and lessons from successes. In partnership with all relevant role players, it will identify at most five areas where it will partner with the political head and officials to drive change that brings significant and sustained improvements in delivery.

We would like to emphasise that our approach is not to police anyone but to work together to find solutions and identify problems on time without waiting for Auditor General reports. We will collectively introduce agreed upon set of interventions to assist in areas which have been collectively identified. It should be clear that this measure will not make the unit to assure responsibility of what needs to be done but rather to facilitate delivery.

We recognise that this approach will require principled and firm leadership, making tough choices and holding people accountable for delivery. And we remain resolute in our commitment to improve the quality of life of all the people of our country, especially the poor.

In the next few months I will return to this House to table a set of Outcomes that will have been approved by Cabinet for the whole of government. These outcomes will also include clear strategies on how we will to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. I will ask Parliament to apply its mind in assisting the Executive to make sure that we spend the public funds entrusted to us in ways that promote clear and directed outcomes we need to develop this country.

In conclusion, let me take this opportunity and make an appeal to honourable members to engage with the paper make comments and submissions that will help us consolidate our mandate. Similarly we invite the people of South Africa to make submission and engage with the public process this institution will embark on.

The paper is on the government www.info.gov.za and The Presidency www.thepresidency.gov.za websites respectively.

I thank you