Performance Monitoring Tool to Assist Municipalities

Cape Town - Government is developing a Performance Monitoring System to measure service delivery and the state of national and provincial departments and municipalities, says Collins Chabane, the Minister in the Presidency Responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.

Chabane told a media briefing ahead of his Budget Vote in Parliament this morning that the performance monitoring tool would look at areas such as human resources, management and supply-chain management.

The tool has already had a test-run in the Department of Public Service and Administration, the National Treasury and the Presidency and is currently being piloted in municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.

Chabane said the tool has been modelled on international experience but is being adapted to local conditions.

The Auditor-General, National Treasury, Public Service Commission, Departments of Public Service and Administration, and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs are working with the Presidency to ensure that uniform standards on measuring and monitoring performance are developed.

"It's our intention to have a transparent system," said Chabane, who pointed out that the system would rely on independent assessments which would use clear data baselines and self-assessments.

The department's director-general, Sean Phillips, said the idea behind the tool was for provinces and municipalities to also gain a sense of the state of each of their respective departments and the level of their management practices.

Phillips said his department was creating data forums made up of experts which had set baseline measures in various areas.

He pointed out that experience from around the world had shown that performance monitoring mechanisms, which had been driven from the top down, had not proved successful.

Self-assessments would, however, allow departments and municipalities to rate themselves before being matched against baseline data from independent assessments.

Once problem areas were identified, the Presidency would then help to co-ordinate assistance by directing departments or municipalities to certain departments, such as from the National Treasury, where they could get further assistance.

Chabane said the Presidency was also finalising a strategy to tackle service delivery problems in local government, which would hopefully be completed by the time of the next government lekgotla.

Added to this, his department was also developing a mechanism to allow civil society to provide feedback on the government's work - this would be outlined later this year, he said.

Meanwhile, Chabane highlighted some of the outcomes of the department's first quarterly report on the government's outcomes.

For instance in the area of basic education, a teacher development plan had been finalised, workbooks had been developed and an annual assessment plan for lower grades had been completed - which had shown there had been a "definite improvement" in terms of the focus of pupils and the participation of parents and teachers in pupils' learning.

He said the President had decided to conduct regular visits to provinces, with each visit focusing on one of government's five priorities, namely jobs, health, education, rural development and safety and security.

Zuma's visit yesterday to the Eastern Cape had focused on education and the President had visited 10 schools.

Though the president would from time to time be making unplanned stops in various provinces to assess the situation there, yesterday's trip to the Eastern Cape had been a planned visit, said Chabane.

He explained the need for planned visits, saying that these were necessary so that the President could sit down with the various stakeholders to discuss the relevant issues being raised. However, unannounced visits would also be made.

Where any problems are found in municipalities and provinces, the Presidency would interact with the relevant stakeholders to take action to resolve these, he said.

Turning to delivery agreements signed last year between President Jacob Zuma and respective ministers, Chabane said three of the 12 agreements had yet to be signed because of outstanding baseline data which would be used to measure performance.

These agreements - health, rural development and the outcome that deals with employment, would be signed soon, he said.

He said signing of the delivery agreement for the employment outcome had been delayed as measurements had to be aligned with the New Growth Path - which was only released late last year.