Performance Agreements by Heads of Departments - submission: Public Service Commission & Department of Performance Management and Evaluation in the Presidency briefing
The Public Service Commission briefed Members on compliance with the signing and filing of Performance Agreements by the Heads of Department for the 2011/12 financial year. In terms of the Performance Management and Development System policy which consolidated the provisions for performance evaluation for Senior Managers in the Public Service, all Senior Managers had to enter into Performance Agreements with their Executive Authorities by 31 May and file them with the Public Service Commission by 30 June annually.
The Performance Agreements were for one specific financial year only and the content had to devolve clearly and directly from the department's strategic plan. The responsibility for the management and evaluation of the performance of Heads of Department which had to be based on their Performance Agreements, resided with the Executive Authority and at least two formal half-yearly performance reviews had to be conducted.
The Public Service Commission's overall finding on the status of compliance for national and provincial departments was that there had been an increase in the overall submission of Performance Agreements by National and Provincial Heads of Department by the due date of end of June for the 2011/12 financial year, in comparison with the past three financial years. The compliance rate for 2011/12 was 54% which was an improvement from the previous financial years.
In respect of the compliance rates for National Departments, there were 47 Head of Department posts in National Departments for the present cycle, of which seven were vacant, and thus 40 Performance Agreements were expected. By the due date, only 14 had been filed with the Public Service Commission and thus there was a compliance rate of 35%. As at the 15 August 2011, a further eight Performance Agreements had been received.
In the case of provincial departments, there had been 111 Head of Department Posts of which 23 were vacant. 88 Performance Agreements had been expected yet only 55 had been filed with the Public Service Commission giving a compliance rate of 63%. A further 15 Performance Agreements had since been received before 15 August 2011.
Departments that had complied with the due date of 30 June 2011 were Basic Education, Government Communications and Information Systems, Health, International Relations and Cooperation, Science and Technology, Social Development, Presidency (both Directors-General) Tourism, Trade and Industry, Traditional Affairs, the Department of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities, the Public Service Commission and the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy.
Departments which had submitted after the due date were Correctional Services, Energy, Environmental Affairs, Home Affairs, Human Settlements, Police, Public Enterprises and Transport.
The Performance Agreements for the Heads of Department of 18 departments had not been received as the 15 August 2011.
At national level, there were vacant Head of Department posts in the departments of Public Services and Administration, Higher Education and Training, Mineral Resources, Sport and Recreation and Water Affairs. There were Acting Heads of Department in those positions including Sport and Recreation but the Acting Heads of Department had submitted Performance Agreements. The Heads of Department for Communications and the National Treasury were new appointees and had a later due date. The Director-General of Public Works was on suspension since December 2010.
In their analysis, the Public Service Commission found no clear reasons for such non-compliance and concluded that the Performance Management Process was simply not treated as a high priority. Poor administrative support in the offices of the political and administrative principals was identified as a contributing factor. The Chairperson of the Public Service Commission emphasised that the Performance Agreement was the basis of accountability and emanated from government's outcomes based principles which was focused on performance and service delivery. Deployment in a position was dependent on the persons achieving the identified outcomes in terms of the strategic goals of the department. Compliance should be 100% and non-negotiable as it was the key to transformation and the Heads of Department continued employment, salary progression and bonuses should be in terms of their performance.
A Democratic Alliance Member asked whether Heads of Department who had not submitted their Performance Agreements qualified for a bonus and the response from the Public Service Commission was that the critical factors in receiving a bonus were, firstly, that the performance had been assessed and secondly, that it had to assessed at level four or five and that without the Performance Agreement there was no basis for assessment and thus the answer was no.
Members expressed their concern at the lack of compliance by Heads of Department and saw a correlation between this failure to comply and the poor performance of departments as reflected in qualified audit opinions and disclaimers in their annual reports. They questioned why Heads of Department received bonuses when their departments performed so badly. They questioned the excuses of time constraints and workload for non-compliance and an African National Congress Member questioned whether there was the political will to ensure compliance. The Western Cape was congratulated for achieving a 100% compliance rate as well as the departments who had submitted on time. The matter of the suspension of the Director-General of Public Works was raised as well as the number of vacant Head of Department posts nationally and also in the North West Province.
Members raised further questions on the suitability of mediators, the failure of Heads of Department to spend the obligatory five days at the coalface as required in their Performance Agreements, the workshop that the Public Service Commission had conducted and the half-yearly performance assessments.
The meeting was briefly addressed by the Director, Office of the Director-General, Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency who responded to questions on the relationship between the Public Service Commission and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation. He also expanded on the progress being made on the development of the Performance Management Assessment Tool which would manage the performances of departments through linkages to the performance of the Head of Department and the staff in general.
Welcome and opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed Mr Ben Mthembu, Chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Mr Mashwahle Diphofa, Director-General, Public Service Commission, and delegation, Mr Clement Madale, Director of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), and team, and representatives from the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA).
The Chairperson informed the meeting that the presentation by the Hon. Richard Baloyi, Minister of Public Service and Administration, and the Hon. Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance, on the Public Service Act (PSA) and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) respectively, had been postponed. The Ministers had requested more time to finalise their interaction before they met with the Committee. A number of issues had come to the attention of the Committee on grey issues and overlapping areas in the two acts. The Chairperson noted that their engagement with the Ministers was one of the Committee's major undertakings for the third quarter and that it was crucial for the Public Service Seminar planned for Parliament and therefore it could not fall away from the programme.
The Chairperson observed that the Committee had interacted intensively with the PSC in its oversight meeting including on issues relating to compliance with the signing of Performance Agreements. It had agreed to prioritise meeting as soon as the PSC had finalised its report and not to defer it till next year as it would not carry any value then. The Chairperson emphasised that the Performance Agreements (PAs) of Heads of Department (HoDs) were the basis on which they were evaluated and the issue of compliance was critical. There were expectations on what they should deliver and factors such as the correlation between the Performance Agreement (PA) of the HoD and the performance of the Department were important in terms of efficiency and proper management in the Public Service.
Public Service Commission. Compliance with the signing and filing of Performance Agreements by Heads of Department. Presentation
Mr Mthembu reported that the PSC had carried out its mandate of looking at all the Performance Agreements (PAs) that had been submitted to it as required and they had done so responsibly and effectively. He introduced Ms Charmaine Julie, Chief Director: Leadership and Human Resource Reviews, PSC, who made the presentation.
Ms Julie stated that the presentation would report on compliance in the filing of PAs for the 2011/12 cycle and outlined the contents of the presentation (see presentation attached). It indicated the context, the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS), the performance agreement process which included, roles, previous trends, progress for the 2011/12 financial year and an analysis of the reasons for non-compliance. Recommendations and their conclusions completed the presentation.
Setting the context of the presentation, Ms Julie emphasised that Heads of Department (HoDs) were effectively the administrative drivers of Government programmes. They were responsible for ensuring that the service delivery objectives of their departments were achieved and therefore it was important to hold them accountable for the achievement of the objectives within the scope of their responsibility.
Elaborating on the PMDS, Ms Julie noted that it had been developed by the PSC as a framework for the evaluation of HoDs and it had been adopted by Cabinet in November 2000. The PMDS policy consolidated the provisions regarding performance management and development for Senior Managers in the Public Service. It had been issued as a directive by the Minister for Public Service and Administration (MPSA) in terms of Part lll.B3 of Chapter 4 of the Public Service Regulations, 2001. It provided a mechanism for promoting accountability and helped to clarify responsibilities, priorities and performance expectations between the HoD and the supervising Executive Authority (EA) through the signing of the PA. When done properly, it helped to create a sound basis for administrative decisions such as managing performance, the awarding of bonuses, ensuring accountability and delivery.
Outlining the performance agreement process, Ms Julie stated that the PMDS required all senior managers including HoDs to enter into PAs by the end of May of each year. Newly appointed HoDs had to complete their PAs within the first three months of their appointment. These PAs had to focus on one specific financial year only and the content had to devolve clearly and directly from the department's strategic plan. PAs were to be reviewed annually. Two half yearly performance reviews were also required, which had to take place during the financial year prior to the annual performance assessment.
Outlining the role of the PSC, Ms Julie stated that the PSC maintained a database of the PAs of HoDs and advsied both the Executive Authorities (EAs) and HoDs on compliance and quality aspects of the PAs. The PSC facilitated the performance evaluation process and issued annual guidelines to complement the Framework for the evaluation of HoDs. The PSC also chaired all the evaluation panels and managed the process by providing secretarial and other support to the evaluation panels.
The role of the EAs included concluding PAs with the HoDs at the beginning of each financial year. Ms Julie emphasised that the responsibility for the management and evaluation of the performance of HoDs based on their PAs, resided with the EA. At least two formal half-yearly performance reviews had to be conducted. The first review had to be in the middle of the financial year and the other at the end.
Indicating compliance trends, Ms Julie noted that there had been an increase in the overall submission of PAs by National and Provincial HoDs by the due date of end of June for the 2011/12 financial year, in comparison with the past three financial years. The compliance rate for 2011/12 was 54% and she observed that they had not done very well but it had been an improvement from the previous financial years. She referred to the compliance figures for national and provincial Departments and noted that the breakdown for each national department and provinces was contained in the technical brief and tables provided in the annexures circulated to Members (see attachments).
In respect of the compliance rates for National Departments, there were 47 HoD posts in national Departments for the present cycle, of which seven were vacant, and thus 40 PAs were expected. By the due date, only 14 had been filed with the PSC thus there was a compliance rate of 35%. As at the 15 August 2011, a further eight PAs had been received.
In the case of provincial departments, there had been 111 HoD posts of which 23 were vacant. 88 PAs had been expected yet only 55 had been filed with the PSC giving a compliance rate of 63%. Ms Julie noted that provincial departments always seemed to do better than national departments for some reason. A further 15 PAs had since been received before 15 August 2011.
In terms of the assessment of the PAs received, Ms Julie stated that they were assessed for compliance with the mandatory provisions of the PMDS and for quality. The PSC had developed a standard checklist for this assessment and this was made available through the HoD Evaluation Guidelines every year. If there were gaps in terms of quality and compliance, formal advice was sent to the relevant EA and HoD.
The assessment of PAs in this financial year had reflected uneven levels of compliance. The major areas of non- compliance were that the due date for filing was not adhered as only 54 % of the expected PAs were received on time. Almost half of the PAs did not properly identify mediators as required by the PMDS, which could lead to problems if disputes arose. The requirement for a five day deployment at the coalface, was not complied with in many cases and it had been argued that HoDs did not have the time.
The PSC had done an analysis of the reasons for non-compliance and found that there were no clear reasons for such non-compliance. The PSC was of the view that the Performance Management Process was simply not treated as high priority. There might also be poor administrative support in the offices of the political and administrative principals and this support was particularly important for those not familiar with process such as new appointees. The PSC had arranged a workshop for officials at national level to assist this process and it would be rolled out to the provinces in the present financial year.
The PSC recommended that the EAs needed to play their role as provided for in Chapter 4 of the Senior Management Services Handbook and ensure that the performance management process was adhered to, Performance Agreements should be entered into and filed with the PSC in good time and the working relationship between the Presidency and the PSC should be strengthened to ensure full compliance.
In conclusion, Ms Julie stated that the PSC would continue to monitor the performance management process of HoDs and report on progress. She emphasised that Parliament should exercise its authority to ensure that all PAs were filed with the PSC.
Mr Diphofa stated that the documentation supplied included a narrative technical brief of the presentation and a breakdown of the overall statistics as requested by the Committee previously.
The Chairperson expressed her appreciation for the way in which the PSC had captured the information and noted that the breakdown was important, especially the performance of the national departments. She asked Mr Diphofa to elaborate on that further as the Committee was interested in the facts and did not want to make generalisations.
Mr Diphofa referred to the annexures and said that the first one dealt with the status of compliance for national departments and this was indicated in Table 1. (see attachment). The last column indicated the departments where there were vacant HoD posts and the PSC had not expected PAs to be filed in those cases. These were DPSA, Higher Education and Training, Mineral Resources, Sport and Recreation and Water Affairs. There were Acting HoDs in those positions including Sport and Recreation but the Acting HoD had submitted a PA. The HoDs for Communications and the National Treasury were new appointees and had a later due date.
The first column in Table 1 indicated the departments that had complied with the due date of 30 June 2011. These were the Basic Education, Government Communications and Information Systems, Health, International Relations and Cooperation, Science and Technology, Social Development, Presidency (both DGs,) Tourism, Trade and Industry, Traditional Affairs, the Department of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities, the PSC and the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA).
The second column indicated the departments which had submitted after the due date. These were Correctional Services, Energy, Environmental Affairs, Home Affairs, Human Settlements, Police, Public Enterprises and Transport.
Mr Diphofa listed the 18 Departments where the PAs were still outstanding as at the 15 August 2011. The DG of Public Works was on suspension since December 2010 and it was thus not a vacant post and the PSC did not expect a PA from the Acting HoD. PAs were still trickling in and the PSC would do another status check in the following week.
The Chairperson said there were issues that the Committee should return to after it had engaged with the presentation such as the vacant HoD posts. It also had to interrogate the suspension of the DG of Public Works in terms of how long it had been and she noted that they were engaged in a process with the PSC, the Bargaining Council and the Auditor-General (A-G) and were looking at issues around suspensions at that high level.
The Chairperson asked for further details on the major reasons given by departments for the late submissions of PAs.
Mr Diphofa said that there were primarily two reasons: firstly administrative delays in concluding the agreement, such as problems in compiling it. Delay in reaching an agreement between the HoD and the EA on the content of the PA, which prevented the finalisation of the PA, was the second reason given and this might be the reason why some PAs were still outstanding.
The Chairperson asked if the number of outstanding PAs had been updated.
Ms Julie replied that, in terms of the analysis, the number of outstanding PAs indicated the status as of the 15 August 2011. She referred to the column in the Table 1 that indicated the PAs received after the due date of 30 June 2011 and noted it reflected the PAs received since then and the PSC would continue to capture the information as the PAs were submitted.
Mr E Nyekemba (ANC) noted that the PSC advised departments if there were gaps in their PAs in terms of compliance and quality. He was interested in the reasons given by HoDs and EAs for the non-compliance with submitting the PAs on time, such as the excuse that their departments were overloaded with work. He questioned whether there was the political will to ensure that the procedures, which were the result of legislation, were respected.
Mr Nyekemba wanted more clarity on the working relationship between the PSC and the Department of Performance Management and Evaluation (DPME)and what the level of their engagement was. He noted that the PSC was accountable to Parliament and the DPME was accountable to the Executive but the nature of their work was more or less the same even if the PSC also evaluated the PAs of all departments including the DPME.
Ms H van Schalkwyk (DA) asked whether a HoD still qualified for a bonus if he or she had not signed a PA.
Ms Van Schalkwyk referred to the workshop, at national level, that the PSC had conducted for officials who assisted the EAs and HoDs with the PMDS process and asked if the PMC was satisfied with the attendance and which sector attended. She assumed the officials were administrative staff.
Ms Van Schalkwyk agreed that Parliament should exercise its authority to ensure that all PAs were filed and she asked what steps Parliament could take to ensure this. She noted the responsibility of the EA but she wanted to know how the Committee could encourage EAs to do their work.
In terms of the provinces, Ms Van Schalkwyk questioned why one province could achieve a 100% compliance rate and two others could achieve a 90% compliance rate. She added that one could not accept the excuse that some departments were overloaded with work. She agreed with Mr Nyekembe that the political will was the big problem.
Mr L Suka (ANC) referred to the mediators who had not been properly identified in the PAs as required by the PMDS. In his understanding, a mediator had to be an independent person outside Government. He foresaw that there would be unnecessary delays, excuses and conflict in this area and he wanted clarity on whom the PSC defined as a mediator.
Mr Suka said the fact that HoDs and DGs had not submitted their PAs told a story beyond submission and suggested that things might not be well in their departments. He drew attention to the correlation that might exist between departments that failed to submit their PAs and the A-G's Reports on their financial performance reflected in disclaimers and qualified audit reports. This warranted the Committee to have meetings with departments that had not complied. In his analysis the security cluster seemed to have that problem in submitting PAs and needed to move with speed to resolve that matter.
Mr Suka noted that the maintenance of the database was a very good step as the PSC could refer back to it to chart the progress on submissions. He commented that the Committee's robustness was an important factor as it seemed that the PSC's report was pinning its hopes on the Committee. The PSC had made its findings but did not have the authority to reprimand the departments for failing to submit and its hopes were on the Committee as an extension of Parliament to exercise its authority to force departments to adhere to the precepts of the law. He added that the PSC should also commend those departments which were observing the time-frames in terms of the submissions and deal with those which had not.
Ms M Mohale (ANC) wanted clarity on the two formal half-yearly performance reviews and asked if the PAs were already completed when the reviews were done.
Ms Mohale remarked on the fact that in most cases HoDs did not comply with the requirement of a five day deployment at the coalface and questioned their excuse of not having time. Surely, they should make the time and improve their time management.
Ms Mohale asked whether the PSC had considered doing the assessment of the PAs of the HoDs against the performance of the department as a whole. There were complaints against departments such as bribery at border posts as experienced in Home Affairs and yet DGs still received bonuses.
Ms Mohale asked when the workshop had been conducted.
Prof C Msimang (IFP) appreciated that there had been an increase in compliance, but he was concerned about the quality of the PAs that had been submitted, as it was the basis of key decisions in departments. Was the PSC happy with the performance levels, accountability and delivery? He referred to the question raised by Ms Van Schalkwyk on whether those who had not submitted PAs qualified for bonuses and if the quality matched the kind of bonuses paid. He queried what happened if there was a discrepancy between their performance and the PA. If the A-G was not happy with their performance did this affect the bonus payable?
Ms J Maluleke (ANC) congratulated the DG of the PSC for leading by example. She queried why there was no information indicated in Table 1 for the National Treasury.
She noted that her home province of North West had nine vacancies according to the statistics for the province and she wanted to know what was happening there.
Ms Mohale wanted an indication if the new appointees to HoD posts submitted their PAs on time.
Mr Mthembu welcomed Ms Maluleke's comment that the PSC was leading by example and proceeded with responses to some of the related questions raised. He noted that the report the PSC had submitted dealt with compliance and the fact that PAs had to be concluded at a particular time, which was the 30 June. The PSC had been given the responsibility of monitoring whether that had been done as well as the quality of the PA. This was simply a matter of compliance with the obligation to submit the PA by due date, as it was an important document. Once the PSC received the document, it checked whether it complied with the requirements of Chapter 4 of the Senior Management Services (SMS) Handbook and this was also a matter of compliance.
Secondly, the PSC looked at the quality issues of that particular document to see if the content itself was of a particular standard, with a yardstick developed. This process was separate from assessing the performance of the department. It was true that the PSC identified issues in departments and provinces and looked at the performance management and development as a whole. It looked at compliance with the system itself as well as at the outcomes and the performance of the department. Mr Mthembu emphasised that a distinction had to be made between the processes around the document itself and the agreement made between the EA and the HoD and the implementation of the PA which was a separate process of assessment.
Mr Mthembu noted that in terms of the performance of a department over one financial year, there had been cases where there had been no alignment with what it should have achieved, which was a matter of concern. It was not enough to have a good agreement on paper and there was no assessment on whether the content had been realised. When the EAs conducted their quarterly reviews, they should assess to what extent the agreement and objectives of the department were being realised. Mr Mthembu said that it would be a meaningful exercise for the Committee to check if there was an alignment between the PA and the Annual Report when it did its oversight visits. If there was a disjuncture it should bring it to the attention of the HoD and EA. The PSC was also conducting such investigations.
Responding to Mr Suka's questions about the mediator, Mr Mthembu said that in terms of the PMDS, there was a provision that covered how disputes would be resolved in the event of a dispute. The person who would mediate in the dispute, was explicitly identified in the document and both the HoD and the EA would have agreed who the person would be when the PA was concluded. In many instances the mediator identified was another HoD.
Mr Mthembu responded to Mr Nyekemba's question about the working relationship between the PSC and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency and whether there were overlaps in their mandates. He said that the PSC saw its role as complementary but an area that was very clear was its role in terms of the PA process that it was currently engaged on. Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency dealt mostly with the PAs of the Executive and EAs had to submit their PAs to the Presidency whereas the PSC dealt with PAs at the level of HoDs. At the same time the PSC did advise the EAs that the PAs submitted by HoDs should be in alignment with their PAs submitted to the Presidency. The Outcomes that they intended to achieve and had agreed to at that level should cascade down to the departments. Thus there was a complementary way in which the performance management system operated. Mr Mthembu noted that a review process of the whole performance management system was currently been undertaken and the DPSA and the PSC were both involved. There were overlaps at present but the review process would enable obtaining clarity on who did what.
Mr Mthembu responded to the queries on gaps, compliance and quality and the lack of political will raised by Members. Making a general observation, he said that the current approach was outcome based where the emphasis was not only on inputs but on the outcomes, outputs and service delivery. The whole system of performance management and development looked at outcomes and the key PMDS principle was that continued deployment in a position and the employment contract was dependent on the person's achieving the identified outcomes. Mr Mthembu emphasised that this was why the PAs were entered into with the political head and EAs and compliance should be 100%. This was the key issue as the PAs were about the strategic goals of the department and what it wanted to achieve. If it did not know what it wanted to achieve and had not planned, how was it going do it and how could one expect any outcomes. He reiterated that compliance had to be 100% and non-negotiable as it was the key transformative issue and people's employment, salary progression and bonuses should be in terms of what they did and the PMDS was there to ensure that there was performance and delivery.
Mr Diphofa stated that Ms Julie would respond to the question on the National Treasury and the workshop that had been held. He elaborated on the issue of compliance and the strong role of the centre in promoting compliance. Referring to the breakdown for the provinces, he noted that the Office of the Premier played a central role in coordinating and getting departments to prioritise the signing of PAs. In KwaZulu Natal, after the PSC had communicated with it reminding it of the due date, there had been correspondence from the DG in the Premier's office to departments relaying this information from the PSC. Such interventions had been made in other provinces and the rates of compliance were higher there. At national level, the role of the Presidency was critical as well as that of the DPSA.
On the relationship of the DPME and the PSC, Mr Diphofa stated that there were two critical areas in which they worked together. Firstly there was the area of rationalisation of systems and working together on the review of systems. He reiterated what Mr Mthembu had said earlier on the task team that included the DPME, PSC and DPSA that was reviewing the current system of assessment of HoDs. The DPME was currently engaged in developing a conceptual framework on an integrated, planning and budgeting and monitoring system for government and the PSC had been involved in that. The second area in which the PSC cooperated with the DPME was in the sharing of information and the PSC shared the findings of its oversight visits with the DPME and the fact sheets it had compiled on the PAs would be shared with the Minister in the Presidency of DPME.
Mr Diphofa's response to the question raised by Ms Van Schalkwyk on whether HoDs qualified for a bonus if they had not submitted a PA, was 'no'. He said that the critical factors in receiving a bonus was firstly, that performance had been assessed and secondly, that it had to assessed at level four or five. Level four was significant achievement of expectations and level five was outstanding. The critical document in the assessment was the PA. Without the PA there was no basis for the assessment to take place which meant that receiving a bonus could not even be considered. He said that mostly it was not whether there was a PA but whether it had been received on time. When the assessment time came the PA could resurface and where the PSC had assisted in the evaluation process, the PAs had been received. The problem remained that PAs were submitted late.
Mr Diphofa response to the question of the requirement of formal half yearly assessments, was that, normally, the first assessment should take place in October, by which time all PAs should have been submitted. The second should take place at the end of the financial year.
Mr Diphofa addressed the issue of linking the assessments of the HoDs with the performance of the Departments. This was a matter the PSC had raised in a report in the State of the Public Service Report of 2006/7 in which it had identified that there was a need to link the assessment of the performance of the HoD with the assessment of the Department he or she was responsible for. As part of taking the process forward, the PSC came up with a framework for organisational performance assessment which identified four areas which should be looked at. These were Service Delivery, Human Resource Management, Financial Management and Strategy and Planning. It had been piloted in a few departments and the report produced was to be taken into consideration when the HoD was assessed. Emanating from the pilot project, the PSC published a document called ' The Founding Document on Organisational Performance Assessment' which related the matter of linking the performance of individuals to that of the organisations they were responsible for. The PSC had taken a decision not to continue with this undertaking as there was a process that the DPME was leading to deepen that work of looking at the performance of institutions and individuals.
Ms Julie responded to the questions about the workshop and stated that the PSC had been disappointed in the decline in compliance with the submission of PAs for the 2010/2011 cycle and it had decided that other than sending letters to remind departments of the deadline, it would conduct a workshop. In the workshop itself, it decided to target the heads who worked in department offices, the heads that worked in the Ministers' offices and the MECs' offices as well as the heads of Human Resources as generally they were the group of people who assisted the EA or HoD in compiling the PA and ensuring that there was alignment with the strategic plan. The PSC also decided to have the workshop in February 2011 as it was near the end of the 2010/11 cycle. The PSC had recognised that there was nothing that could be done in terms of the PAs that had been submitted but if it held the workshop before the next cycle it would give those responsible a kickstart for the new financial year. She believed that the workshop had assisted in elevating the compliance rate that it saw in the 2011/12 statistics. The presentation and documents had also been submitted to provinces and the regional offices had been encouraged to conduct similar workshops in the provinces.
In terms of the National Treasury and why nothing was reflected in the tables, Ms Julie said that in the case of National Treasury the HoD position had recently been filled and there was a footnote to the table that indicated that the DG was newly appointed and that the PA was expected at the end of August 2011
The Chairperson said that the DPME would address the meeting on some of the issues that had already been raised. She congratulated the Western Cape on achieving a 100% compliance rate and said other provinces should be encouraged to follow its lead. She identified the Free State for poor compliance and said that the Committee had received a report in the past that had not reflected well on the province. She noted that the Committee was largely responsible for the national departments but it could impact on the provinces in terms of the collaboration of institutions. She added that it should work with the Committee responsible for these matters in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). It would also be a meaningful exercise for the Committee to engage in oversight visits to the provinces in collaboration with the PSC, the office of the A-G, the accounts committees in the Premiers' Office, the relevant NCOP committee and local government structures.
The Chairperson noted that Parliament had arranged for a Peoples Assembly for the Free State. This was complementary to the initiatives of the Committee as it had received the report from the PSC which had reflected badly on the Free State and this would allow zooming in on those issues. In addition, the report on the PAs that it had just received allowed zooming in on the worst performer, which was the Free State. The Chairperson noted that it took the PSC reports seriously and it would be utilising the information in a way that would lead to meaningful change. The non-compliance of the Free State was indicative of serious problems and for the sake of the governance of the country, it could not be tolerated.
The Chairperson said the PSC should congratulate Departments that had submitted on time and send a warning to those which had not complied. There would be a follow up meeting the following week with the EAs who had vacant HoD posts and HoDs who had not submitted PAs in order to tighten up that area.
The Chairperson agreed with Mr Mthembu that since adopting an Outcome Based Performance approach in government, PAs were critical in achieving the objectives that had been identified. The follow up meeting with the Ministers and HoDs in departments was important as the PSC would hear directly from them and they would have to account for their lack of compliance. The report would then be finalised for submission to Parliament.
Mr Nyekemba wanted further further clarity on Mr Mthembu's response that the mediator identified by mutual consent by the HoD and the EA was normally another HoD. He felt that the mediator should be an independent person as the present arrangement defeated the purpose of mediation as it was another official and a colleague would support another colleague. He suggested that it be part of the review process of the PMDS system that had been referred to by Mr Diphofa.
Mr Diphofa responded that the PSC would look into the matter. He said the focus was on a dispute that arising from the PA that could occur later. At the time of the signing of the Agreement, the EA and HoD would have agreed on a person they were both comfortable with and it could be an HoD or another Minister. In the PSC's experience it did not happen very often that there was need to bring in the mediator in terms of the assessments and in those cases it had been about the scores.
Address by the Director, Office of the DG, Department of Performance Management and Evaluation
Mr Clement Madale, Director, Office of the DG, DPME, said he was accompanied by colleagues from the Ministry and noted that the Minister had taken a decision to send delegates to various committees where the Department had interests, as it felt that Parliament had a critical role to play. Some of the information emanating from committees assisted the DPME in its work and it in turn would make input and it hoped to develop a good working relationship with committees. The Minister had interacted with the Speaker of Parliament and it had been agreed that the DPME could deploy a staff member to the Portfolio Committees of Public Service and Administration, Communications, Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs, and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA).
Mr Madale noted that most of the issues had been covered by Mr Diphofa. The DPME was working closely with the Office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC) and DPSA in the improvement of the PMDS tool which was part of Outcome 12's delivery agreement. At a technical level the DPME was working on the development of a tool called the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) that would manage the performance of departments by linkages to the performance of DGs and staff in general in the Department. He agreed that DGs had, indeed, been awarded service bonuses despite their departments receiving qualified audit opinions and that the outputs as stated in their strategic plans, had not been achieved. The DPME therefore had to establish an alignment between the two. The PSC was on the task team developing indicators for the MPAT.
Mr Madale stated that Mr Diphofa had indicated their relationship in terms of enforcing compliance by ensuring that the centre of Government took the lead. He agreed that where the office of the Premier in a particular province had taken an active interest, the level of compliance had been high. Where there had been no coordination from the centre, there had been a lack of compliance. Similarly, the Presidency had not been very active in working with the PSC in getting departments to comply and the level of compliance was low. He commented that, hopefully, the situation would improve with the assistance of the Committee and the partnership with the PSC.
The Chairperson wanted clarity on the deployment of people to committees and asked if they were coming in at the level of Parliamentary Liaison Officers or at another level. She noted that, together with the PSC, the Committee would have to interact on issues relating to the Performance Monitoring Assessment Tool (PMAT) as it was not conclusive at that point in time and it should be subjected to further discussion.
Mr Madale said the form of representation would differ from time to time but it would mostly be at the level of Parliamentary Liaison Officer and the DG or his representative would also attend meetings when necessary.
The Chairperson said that she appreciated the interaction with the DPME and that the Committee was looking forward to a good working relationship moving forward.
The Chairperson thanked the PSC and DPME for their participation and concluded that a 100% compliance rate for the submission of PAs was what they were aiming for and they would tighten up the system to ensure this.
The Chairperson announced that the Peoples Assembly for the Free State would be from the 22 -23 September 2011 and the Committee would be part of the oversight visit on the 12 September 2011. She made further announcements for the Members' attention.
The meeting was adjourned.