Senior management service conference 2004

Building a developmental state - Bridging the gap between two economies - A public service response

Date: 20 Sep 2004 - 22 Sep 2004

Venue: CTICC, Cape Town

Foreword by the Minister for Public Service and Administration

As we move forward in pushing back the frontiers of poverty and building a developmental State that will further dismantle the historical social and economic divide, the role of managers in achieving our objectives cannot be over-emphasised. Service Delivery is key to meeting the basic needs, building the economy, democratising the State and society, developing human resources and building the nation. We need to strengthen our efforts with more vigour and determination than we have done in the last 10 years, especially in areas that we have not been very successful. As we celebrate our 10 years of democracy, let us look back with pride at what has been achieved but at the same time gear ourselves to putting more pressure on what we have been unsuccessful at.

Forums such as the SMS conference must be used not only to debate issues but to take tangible decisions that can be implemented, so that when we meet next year or some other time, we are able to give feedback on progress made. Let us use forums of this nature, to confine our thoughts to a common understanding and to hear the voices of both senior managers and political leaders who are change agents and decision-makers. Let us ensure that what we are geared to implement is in line with the capacity that exists.

One of the weaknesses identified in the Ten Year Review is the poor senior management involvement in monitoring the implementation of the principles driving Batho Pele, and lack of public involvement in the enforcement of these principles. We have therefore embarked on the revitalisation of the Batho Pele principles so that senior managers do not only incorporate them in their daily activities but also ensure that their subordinates live up to these principles. These principles are not the Department of Public Service and Administration principles but are the Government principles that must be practiced by every public servant.

I wish you well in your deliberations

Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi
Minister for the Public Service and Administration

Day 1

The first day of the Conference will cover the development priorities of Government, and how Government intends to meet and implement these. It will place the emphasis on the role of managers as change agents and decision-makers in the public service in carrying out the mandate of Government.

The Director-General in the Department of Public Service and Administration, Professor Richard Levin, will set the tone for the conference by outlining its purpose and what it should grapple with. The Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Ms Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi will highlight the priorities of Government and the role of managers in the public service in taking the programmes of government forward in order to achieve a developmental state. A broad overview of where the constitutional development process has taken us as a country, and key budgeting challenges of the State to meet its constitutional mandate will further be discussed. Strategies to create jobs to meet the development needs of the State and help narrow the divide, from the perspective of both Government and business, will also be highlighted. The critical issues of the role of women in the economy and the need to bring them to the mainstream of the economy and society at large, and the need to put citizens at the forefront of service delivery and development, will be highlighted. Professionalism and Batho Pele principles that must be observed when services are delivered will also be highlighted.

Chairperson: Mr D Hindle, Deputy Director-General, National Department of Education

Day 2

Day two will be devoted to examining the critical pillars of Government that will make it possible to meet its development challenges and bridge the social and economic divide. Key challenges emerging from the ten-year review process, in terms of where government has made achievements, some areas where there has been under-achievements, and what these mean for the state moving forward; the role of local government as a pillar of service delivery; and the need to improve the macro-organisation of the state for maximum service delivery, will be highlighted. As another critical pillar and enabler in improving efficiency and effectiveness in Government, the role of technology will be put under the spotlight. A presentation on research on productivity trends in the public sector, what these findings mean for managers, and how best to improve productivity, will be highlighted.

The afternoon session will be devoted to looking in-depth at the key critical aspects that will ensure better and improved service delivery and development. These are monitoring and evaluation; the macro-organisation of the state; human resource development and performance monitoring; and partnership building. The groups will interrogate these with the aim of developing tangible proposals on how to strengthen and improve on them.

Chairperson: Ms B Njobe, Director-General, Department of Agriculture

Break Aways

Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) - Strengthening state performance through monitoring and evaluation.

M&E has been identified as a priority in government. As indicated in the 10 Year Review and subsequent Cabinet Lekgotla, there is an acknowledgement across the board that there is a big gap in the area of monitoring and evaluating government performance. Clear governance and development indicators are needed to measure government performance.

Better M&E of state capacity and performance is required to support a capacity to drive development and readiness to intervene where necessary. Enhancing and intensifying M& E will entrench responsiveness as it will ensure that under-performance and policy or implementation gaps are addressed timeously.

The Presidency is developing a M&E framework within which all the other M&E systems will operate. In the next five to ten years, senior government managers are increasingly going to be expected to continuously monitor and evaluate the service delivery performance of their divisions and organisations. Challenges that might interfere with the state's ability to achieve its key performance targets need to be taken into account during the M&E process. These include amongst others HIV and AIDS.

A critique of the macro-organisation of the state and possible solutions strengthening intergovernmental relations for better co-ordination and improved service delivery.

Some shortcomings in the existing configuration of government have been identified together with their inadequacy to meet the state's development challenges. There is agreement that there are aspects of the state's architecture that require attention if intergovernmental systems are to be strengthened and performance improved. Government therefore intends to exploit synergies in its structural landscape and create more coherence for greater impact in service delivery. It will seek to create a feasible framework for intergovernmental relations with consideration of assignment of roles and functions. There will also be more integration of initiatives for greatest service delivery benefit. Part of this drive will also involve the creation of a unified public service dispensation (conditions of service, systems and norms) for the public service and local government, clarification of roles and responsibilities between different spheres of government, an integrated planning and development framework and cycle for government.

Human resource development and performance management.

People are by far the public service's most valuable asset. Maximum utilization of human resources is the most effective way of getting value for money. This highlights the importance of human resource management and development in the public service. The quality of the work experience and the physical work environment must be improved, current HR practices reviewed and the HR function professionalised.

Departments are generally finding it difficult to comply with the broad range of human resource management requirements imposed on them. Accordingly, the need to strengthen the HR planning function has been identified. Coupled with this is the intention to review the HR function with a view to improve retention and capacity building, considering the wider labour market context and changing skills requirements and contribution of higher education institutions. DPSA's capacity to monitor, support and intervene on poor implementation of decentralised HRM policies will also be strengthened. There is therefore a need to embark on an aggressive and well-targeted capacity and skills development campaign. The current performance management system for lower levels also needs simplification.

  • Presenter: Mr R Mmutlana, Chief Executive Manager, SAMDI
  • Presenter: Prof. P C Tapscott, Dean, University of the Western Cape

Partnerships - strengthening strategic partnerships with public entities and other stakeholders for optimum service delivery and development.

Government has prioritised the need for more efforts to be put on strengthening the partnerships with other partners to deliver on its development agenda. A need for increased focus on unity of purpose, shared modus operandi and values across all public institutions including PEs, SOEs, communities, and business in order to realise the state's developmental objectives has been identified. One of the key stakeholders are the public entities which at the moment government is reviewing their corporate governance framework, performance management and HR systems and practices, with the ultimate view to align their work with its developmental goals.

The private sector is also a critical stakeholder in assisting government to bridge the gap between the first and second economy through skills development, job creation, etc. There is also a need to develop and implement measures to enhance participation of civil society structures.

Day 3

The last day will be dedicated to critical aspects and competencies required to ensure improved service delivery and development. A Brazillian experience on an innovative service delivery project and role of public entities, and lessons for a developing country like South Africa, will be presented. The Minister of Education, Ms Naledi Pandor, will highlight the key skills challenges for the development state, and a critical reflection on management capacity building initiatives in the public sector. The need to ensure equitable access by vulnerable members of society to Government services, and bringing them to the mainstream of development efforts, will also be presented.

A summary of key issues emerging from the conference presentations and deliberations, and what these mean for senior managers in the public sector going forward, will be made.

Chairperson: Mr B Soobrayan, Director-General, SAMDI

Last update: 31 August 2011

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