Bumbling government managers won’t solve service delivery, fraud & corruption – report

2013-09-11 10:01

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Eight out of 10 government departments do not comply with requirements set up to improve service delivery.

And six out of 10 departments do not comply with policies to detect and prevent fraud and corruption.

So says a report assessing the overall performance of senior managers in the public service which performance monitoring and evaluation minister Collins Chabane released this morning.

The damning findings were released as part of the Management Performance Assessment Tool, a score-card for managers, in Cape Town.

The report bemoans the high level of non-compliance by senior managers in adhering to human resource plans, tender procedures, and financial and risk management processes.

It says this is an “anomaly” since government’s main objectives are to prevent corruption, as well as fruitless, irregular and wasteful expenditure, and to improve service delivery.

The report is an assessment of the performance of senior managers in 156 departments for the 2012/13 financial year.

The report found:

• 80% of departments do not comply with service delivery improvement requirements, service charters, service standards and the submission of service delivery improvement plans to the Department of Public Service and Administration;

• 76% of departments don’t ensure they have policies and systems in place for promoting professional ethics, which includes the submission of financial disclosures to the Public Service Commission;

• 64% of departments do not comply with the legal or regulatory requirements for fraud prevention;

• 74% of departments were found to be non-compliant with the Department of Public Service and Administration’s directive that their approved organisational structure reflects funded posts only;

• 88% of departments were found to flout human resource planning requirements, which include the submission of human resource plans and progress reports to the Department of Public Service and Administration;

• 60% of departments did not comply with the requirement to have processes in place for detecting and preventing unauthorised expenditure, addressing audit findings and communicating findings to responsible officials.

“The results indicate that in certain areas of management, weaknesses are evident across the public service. In nine out of 29 management areas assessed, the majority of departments are not yet compliant, let alone working smartly,” the report found.

Government has expressed concern about the poor state of management and wants those responsible for not adhering to policies punished.

The report also lists the Limpopo text book saga, failure of departments to pay service providers within 30 days and a shortage of ARV treatment in various provinces, as some of the worrying failures caused by poor management.

“Weak administration is a recurring theme across the priorities of government and is leading to poor service delivery.

“Some examples of this include: textbook delivery problems in some provinces; shortages of antiretrovirals (ARVs) in some provinces and undermining of the small business development policy through non-payment of suppliers within 30 days,” said the report.

This situation, said the report, “is an anomaly, given that improving service delivery is a priority of government”.

The report is a result of a 2011 mandate by Cabinet to the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) to implement management performance assessments for all national and provincial departments every year.

“Despite some departments not having a monitoring and evaluation policy or framework in place and standards for data collection and management mechanisms, the meeting of the monitoring aspect of the M&E standard is widespread.

“However, only 19% of departments indicate that they periodically undertake evaluations of major programmes,” said the report.

There was also a risk of “financial and human resource waste” due to the lack of sound information and analysis, alignment with national and provincial strategic priorities operating within the human resources framework.

“These results indicate that very few departments are operating within the human resources legal and regulatory requirements and policies that are intended to foster good human resource management in the public service.

“Given the centrality of human resource management in building a capable state to deliver on the National Development Plan, human resource management practices must be improved,” it says.

The report also bemoans the fact that the objectives of the National Development Plan, which identifies the need to build a professional public service and a capable and developmental state, will not be achieved.

Full report: Management Performance Assessment Tool

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