Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration on the Performance of the Department of Public Service and Administration for the 2010/11 Financial Year, dated 19
The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration (the Committee), having assessed the performance of the Department of Public Service and Administration, reports as follows:
1. Mandate of the Committee, including provision of Section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act, No. 9 of 2009.
The mandate of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and
Administration (DPSA) is underpinned by the provisions of the Constitution of
conduct oversight on behalf of the public, over the Department of
Public Service and Administration, to ensure executive enforcement of delivery
of services to the people, as enshrined in the Constitution of the
· oversee and review all matters of public interest relating to the public sector and economic development to ensure service delivery;
· ensure compliance by the Department and its entities to relevant legislation (financial and other); and
· monitor the expenditure of the Department and its entities and ensure regular reporting to the Committee, within the scope of accountability and transparency.
According to Section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and related Matters Act, the National Assembly, through its Committees, must annually assess the performance of each national department. The Committee must submit an annual Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) for each department that falls under its oversight responsibilities, for tabling in the National Assembly. The Committee on Appropriations should consider these when it is considering and reporting on the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) to the House.
The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration considered and adopted the Budget of the Department of Public Service and Administration on 20 April 2011. The Committee, in compiling this report, interacted and engaged with the following source documents:
· The report of the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) on the financial statements of the DPSA for 2010/11
· The Annual report of the DPSA for 2010/11, in terms of Section 65 of the Public Finance Management Act of No.1 of 1996, which requires the Ministers to table the annual reports and financial statements for the department and public entities to Parliament
· Section 32 Expenditure reports, in terms of the Public Service Finance Management Act, 1999 and reports of the first quarter of 2011/12 financial year.
A strategic workshop was held with the Department and all public entities reporting to it, which included the Ministry and all senior managers
The Committee reviewed the annual reports of the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA) and the Public Service Commission (PSC). The two entities received transfers from DPSA Budget vote 12 for 2011/12. The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) was also reviewed, despite it not receiving public funds directly from DPSA. It receives public funds indirectly, as it provides ICT Services to Government. It is, as a result, accountable to the Minister of Public Service and Administration.
1.2 Mandate of the Department of Public Service and Administration
The Department of Public Service and Administration is a
state department dealing with Public Service personnel matters relating to
conditions of service, management of compensation, human resources, labour relations, Public Service governance, service
delivery, state information technology, capacity building, and skills
management. The Department has technical oversight over all state departments,
as they deliver a service to the people of
The Department is consequently responsible for providing the institutional arrangements and governance frameworks to ensure an efficient and effective Public Service by, among other things, ensuring that its people-processes and technologies are aligned to support the fundamental requirement of government for good public administration.
2. Strategic Priorities and Measurable Objectives of the Department
2.1 Strategic Priorities of the South African Government
· Improving education.
· Improving healthcare.
· Creating decent work.
· Fighting crime and corruption.
· Rural development and land reform.
2.2 Strategic Priorities of the Department set against priorities of Government
· Service delivery quality and access.
· Developing effective systems, structures and processes.
· Leveraging information communication technologies (ICT) as a strategic resource (enabler)
· Ensuring effective employment entry into the Public Service and human resource development / cadre development.
· Developing efficient human resource management practices, norms and standards.
· Promoting healthy and safe working environments for all public servants.
· Ensuring appropriate governance structures and decision-making.
· Encouraging citizen engagement and public participation.
· Tackling corruption effectively.
towards improved public service and administration in
2.3 Specific Outcomes of the Department set against Outcomes 12
· The delivery of a quality service and access.
· The development of effective systems, structures and processes.
· The leveraging of information communication technologies (ICT) as a strategic resource (enabler)
· The ensuring of effective employment entry into the Public Service and human resource development / cadre development.
· The development of efficient human resource management practices, norms and standards.
· The promotion of healthy and safe working environments for all public servants.
· The ensuring of appropriate governance structures and decision-making.
· The encouragement of citizen engagement and public participation.
· The effective tackling of corruption.
contribution towards improved public service and administration in
3. Analysis of Strategic Plans of the Department
1. Service delivery quality and access
Quality of service in the Public Service is improving relatively. People are able to access requisite services. The challenge is in turnaround times to access the full service. These turnaround times affect the quality of service, even as people have access.
2. Leveraging ICT as a strategic enabler
This is an important strategy for effecting the e-governance programme of Government. SITA plays an important role in this regard as an entity in the public service and administration. The provision of equipment in the Thusong Service Centres leaves much to be desired. Therefore, the enablement of e-governance will not manifest in the desired output. But there is collaboration between the Department and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
3. Developing effective systems, structures and processes
There are still challenges in government systems, regarding signing of performance contracts, supply chain management and turnaround times to deliver a particular service. The Department has a role to play in this regard, and these issues are work in progress.
3.4 Ensuring effective employment entry into the Public Service and human resource development / cadre development
The Department and the entire Public Service have the internship and learnership programmes to ensure effective employment entry into the Public Service. This strategy also helps in ensuring a constant pool of human resources for succession. The Job-Access Strategic Framework also assists in giving access to employment for women and people with disabilities, although people with disabilities are minutely represented in the Public Service across all sectors. This is where the Department has failed to show exemplary and enforcing leadership.
3.5 Developing efficient human resource management practices, norms and standards
There is still much to be desired regarding this strategy. Personnel in the Public Service still flout straightforward procedures and human resource requirements. For example, tender procedures are still not followed to the letter. Some directors-general do not sign performance agreements with their respective Ministers and file these with the Public Service Commission. It is an anomaly that Parliament has to hear about these simple omissions from the PSC, when the Ministers should have been able to enforce these procedures on their directors-general.
3.6 Ensuring appropriate governance structures and decision-making
Appropriate governance structures are impossible in the midst of directors-general who still omit to sign and file performance agreements. They cannot require proper accountability of those under their charge if they cannot honour a performance contract themselves. But the Department and PALAMA are working together to implement the cadre development programme, so that all and sundry understand that there is a responsibility to serve the people.
3.7 Encouraging citizen engagement and public participation
The Department hosts an annual Public Service Week to make
people aware of what the Public Service does and the procedures to follow in
seeking recourse to their complaints. Senior managers are dispatched annually
for a week, through Project Khaedu, to go to the
front office in regional offices to deliver and monitor a service in order to
understand the nature of challenges experienced by both the front office staff
and the recipients of the service (the public). The Department also annually
hosts the Batho Pele
Learning Network and at times the Community Development Workers’
3.8 Effectively tackling corruption
The Department is driving two projects to assist departments to build institutional capacity in order to address the issue of corruption in the Public Service. These projects are Minimum Anti-Corruption Capacity (MACC) Audit and the newly established Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU). During the 2010/11 financial year, the Department was verifying the MACC Audit reports from state departments. The Department developed a Code of Good Practice, which was approved by the Minister in order to instill and inculcate good and ethical conduct in the Public Service.
4. Analysis of Section 32 Expenditure Reports
4.1 The Overall Departmental Allocations and Expenditures 2010/11
The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) was allocated an amount of R659 million in the 2010/11 financial year of which R628 million or 95.4% has been spent at the end of the fourth quarter. The Department has underspent by R30.5 million, or 4.6% of the budget. A significant amount of this underspending occurred in programmes 3 and 4, which spent 86% and 85% of their adjusted budgets, respectively. In terms of economic classification, underspending is notable under goods and services (R24.485 million) which was due to delays in departmental projects and payments to service providers. Below is the analysis per departmental programme:
4.1.1 Programme 1: Administration
This Programme was allocated a total budget of R146.5 million after the adjustment. The Programme managed to spend R135.5 million, which is 95.5% of the final appropriation. The Department has underspent its budget by R6.45 million; this is as a result of savings realised under current payments resulting from delays in receipts of invoices from the Department of Public Works for lease agreements. A virement of R4.1 million was applied, most of which was shifted to Programme 5 to fund the administration of Public Service Education and Training Authority (PSETA).
4.1.2 Programme 2: Human Resources Management and Development in Government
Programme 2 was allocated a total amount of R49.2 million and only spent R44.6 million or 93.6 per cent at the end of the fourth quarter. The underspending occurred under goods and services, and is mainly due to delays in finalising the last phase of the HR Connect project. The Department has requested a rollover to complete this project. A virement of R1.5 million was applied, reducing the adjusted budget to R47.7 million. The funds were moved to Programme 5 to fund the administration of PSETA.
4.1.3 Programme 3: Labour Relations and Compensation Management in Government
Programme 3 was allocated a total amount of R60.5 million and only spent R49.096 million or 86% of the final appropriation. Underspending amounts to 14% of the final appropriation, and was mainly due to delays experienced in commencing the Single Public Service Change Readiness Assessment (R7.138 million). The Department managed to make savings of about R5.270 million under compensation of employees. Most of this amount funded the All-Africa Public Service Innovation Awards (AAPSIA) Conference, hosted by Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), and also the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit.
4.1.4 Programme 4: Information and Technology Management in Government
Programme 4 was allocated a total budget of R44.3 million and only managed to spend R35.120 million or 84.9% of the final appropriation. The underspending was observed more under current payments. Savings were however realised mostly under goods and services (R5.575 million), due to slow progress with information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure projects. The underspending in this programme was due to delays in the processing of payments for the Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT) training. The Department has requested a rollover in order to finalise this payment. A virement of R3 million was applied to move funds from goods and services to fund expenditure relating to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Conference (R2.3 million) and the African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) Conference (R700 000) in Programme 6.
4.1.5 Programme 5: Service Delivery Improvement throughout Government
Programme 5 was allocated a total amount of R181.9 million and spent R188.728 million or 99.8% of the final appropriation. Most of the budget has been spent in this programme with minimal funds having been shifted within and between the programmes.
4.1.6 Programme 6: Governance and International Relations
Programme 6 was allocated a total amount of R171.7 million and managed to spend R181.505 million or 94.5% of the programme’s final appropriation. The underspending was mostly observed under current payments. Savings were realised mostly under goods and services (R4.898 million), due to slow spending under travel and subsistence.
4.2 Virements and Shifting of Funds from and to, within and between Programmes during the Adjustment Period in line with the Legislative Framework (PFMA)
Though section 43 of the Public Finance Management Act (No 1. of 1999)1 makes provision for virements and the shifting of funds from one programme to another, as well as movement of funds within the programme, there are certain requirements that need to be met by an accounting officer. These conditions are as follows:
Section 43 (2) of the Public Finance Management Act provides that “the amount of a saving under a main division of a vote that may be utilised in terms of (1) may not exceed 8% of the amount appropriated under that main division.”2 Moreover section 43 (4) states that this section does not authorise the utilisation of a saving if:
(a) An amount is specifically and exclusively appropriated for a purpose mentioned under a main division within a vote;
(b) An amount is appropriated for transfers to another institutions; and
(c) An amount is appropriated for capital expenditure to defray current expenditure.
4.3 The First Quarter Expenditure Report for Financial Year 2011/12
4.3.1 The Overall Departmental Allocations and Expenditures 2011/12
The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) was allocated an amount of R690 million in the 2011/12 financial year, of which R125 million or 18.1% has been spent at the end of the first quarter. The Department has spent far less than the general expenditure benchmark of 25% expenditure for the first quarter. It’s important to note that most of the economic classification categories have reported under-expenditure in the first quarter, the exception being Payment for Capital Assets (CAPEX), which registered extremely high over-expenditure in this regard. The under-expenditure in the first quarter emanated from the following departmental programmes:3
188.8.131.52 Administration: This Programme was allocated R165.2 million for the 2011/12 period and spent R37 million or 22.4% at the end of the first quarter. This is below the general benchmark of 25% per quarter. The under-expenditure was due to the reduced travelling costs during the first three months.
184.108.40.206 Human Resources Management and Development in Government: Programme 2 was allocated a total amount of R33.9 million and only spent R7.4 million or 22% at the end of the first quarter of the 2011/12 financial year. The expenditure is still below 25% benchmark. The under-expenditure was attributed to the following:
· The Department has made some savings due to the reduction in costs of travelling in the first three months.
· The salary increase was projected to be effected from May 2011 onwards. This is indeed reflected under goods and services of this programme.
220.127.116.11 Labour Relations and Compensation Management in Government: Programme 3 was allocated a total amount of R23.2 million and only spent R3.8 million or 16.4% in the first three months. The under-expenditure was due to the delays in finalising the appointment of the service provider to conduct Health Risk Management Audit DPSA. The major part of the under-expenditure was reported under goods and services of this programme.
18.104.22.168 Information and Technology Management in Government: Programme 4 was allocated a total budget of R40.8 million and only spent R3.9 million or 9.7% of its budget. The under-expenditure was due to the following reasons:
· The resignation of three senior staff members, which resulted in unfilled vacancies.
· The outstanding and unpaid invoices for State Information Technology Agency (SITA), for the Thusong Centres.
22.214.171.124 Service Delivery Improvement throughout Government: Programme 5 was allocated a total amount of R204.8 million and only spent R27 million or 13.2% at the end of the first quarter of the 2011/12 financial year. The under-expenditure was mostly reported under transfers and subsidies of this programme. Of this amount, only R12 million or 10.1% was transferred to PALAMA and R3.9 million or 18.6% to PSETA. Since transfers and subsidies account for the biggest share of this programme’s budget, under-expenditure in this regard compromised the whole programme.
126.96.36.199 Governance and International Relations: Programme 6 was allocated a total amount of R221.8 million for 2011/12. At the end of the first quarter, the Department only spent R45.7 million or 20.6% of the allocation. The under-expenditure was due to the following areas:
· Delays in the development of the web page for the African Peer Review Mechanism
· Delays in making payments to the State Information Technology Agency (SITA).
4.4 Rollovers of the Unspent Funds to the 2011/12 Financial Year
The level of under-spending in the above section is an indication that the Department might apply for rollovers to the National Treasury for the 2011/12 financial year. Depending on the circumstances, certain rollovers will be approved by the National Treasury whilst others will never be approved. Looking at Table 1 below, R1 350 million rollovers were requested at the end of the 2010/11 financial year and was approved by National Treasury.
Table 1: Approved Rollovers for the Department
Department of Public Service and Administration
Human Resource Connect project
Source: DPSA (2011)
5. Analysis of the Annual Reports and Financial Statements of the Department
5.1 Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)
5.1.1 Programme 1: Administration
The Department was able to table its 2010-2014 Strategic Plan and its revised Strategic Plan for 2011/12 on 09 March 2011 in Parliament. It also managed to develop its Annual Performance Plan (APP) and align it with the Delivery Agreement for Outcome 12. The seven outputs in the Delivery Agreement for Outcome 12 are:
· Service delivery quality and access
· Human resource management and development
· Business processes systems decision rights and accountability management
· Reduction of corruption in the Public Service
· Nation building and national identity
· Citizen participation
· Social cohesion.
The first progress report on the implementation of the Delivery Agreement for Outcome 12 was presented to the Cabinet Committee on Governance and Administration on 08 March 2011.
5.1.2 Programme 2: Human Resource Management and Development in Government
The purpose of this Programme is to develop and implement an integrated strategy to monitor employment practices, conduct human resource planning and diversity management and to improve the health and well-being of Public Service employees.
Regarding the Information Management System (IFMS), the Department, developed and completed the Human Resource Generic Template and has implemented the Human Resource Solution. The Department provided technical support to PALAMA to assist in the development of the Human Resource Management and Development training programmes to be implemented within the Public Service with effect from 2012. The Department also extended its support to the Administrator of PSETA. Technical support was provided to the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) towards the development of an Institutional Performance Assessment Tool (PAT) which will be used to assess the performance of heads of department (HoDs) in corporate services management.
The Department finalised a report on organisational skills requirements and Senior Management Service (SMS) skills gaps for 40 departments and it has been signed off by the Director-General. But the Department has reported that it could not complete the following activities, as they were dependent on the outcome of the same report on the analysis of organisational and SMS members’ skills gaps:
· Policy on mandatory programmes.
· Training of Public Service employees in mandatory training programmes where 25% of identified public servants would have completed mandatory programmes by the end of 2011.
· Determination of the average annual training days per public servant; and the policies and guidelines for compulsory SMS capacity development programmes.
The Department could not complete the revision of the SMS Handbook aligned to new Regulations due to the DPSA Governance Branch not finalizing the Ethics and Integrity Framework.
A draft policy document on Reasonable Accommodation and Assistive Devices was completed following extensive consultations with departments. The Minister approved the Employment Equity Guide for the Public Service. The national targets of 50% women and 2% of persons with disabilities in senior management have not been achieved since 2005. Presently, only 34% representation of women and 0.22% for persons with disabilities have been achieved.
5.1.3 Programme 3: Labour Relations and Compensation Management in Government
The purpose of the programme is to develop and implement compensation policies and guidelines for the public sector. It also ensures co-ordinated bargaining and effective programme management for the establishment of the single Public Service.
All occupation-specific dispensations (OSDs) were finalised, except the one for Medical and Therapeutic Services, which was supposed to be finalised by April 2011. OSD for engineer occupations was implemented in 80% of departments. In July 2010, the Department commissioned the review of the housing allowance and policy in order to formalise an investigative study on the development of a pension secured housing finance scheme.
The Department was not able to conclude the multi-term agreement on wage increases for the Public Service for 2010/11 and 2011/12 financial years, due to ongoing consultations with labour unions. As a result, only a single term agreement for 2010/11 was signed. Late in August 2011, the 2011/12 agreement was finally signed.
5.1.4 Programme 4: Information and Technology Management in Government
The purpose of this programme is to ensure the effective use of information technology (IT) in government and to facilitate the use of information technology for modernizing government. It also establishes e-government practices within an acceptable information security environment.
The Department developed a blueprint for a government-wide security policy which will be integrated across departments and spheres of government. The Department optimized the IT infrastructure project for the Nama Khoi municipality, a project funded by the same municipality. This will help improve the facility for payment for services which had been hindered by slow IT systems in the past. The model can be replicated at other municipalities of a similar profile and rural nature.
The draft Security Governance Framework has been completed. The Department has consulted with stakeholders such as the Government Information Technology Officers Council (GITOC) Standing Committee on Information System Security (SCISS) and the Department of State Security was briefed through workshops and presentations. The development and adoption of the IT Security policy could not be completed by the end of 2011, because the Department is experiencing internal human resource constraints. The Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) strategy for the Public Service could not be achieved because the Department of State Security wanted to be fully involved; and this would have meant that DPSA would have to adjust its deliverables on the project.
The renewal of all expiring transversal tenders could not be completed as a result of limited resources within SITA procurement processes. The CEO of SITA was made aware of this challenge. IT Vulnerability Assessments in the Public Service could not be done across the board, and was successful only in one national department. This was caused by the delays in the planning process and discussions which took longer than expected. Also, this is caused by the fact that technical human resource are only allocated on an ad hoc basis.
The Department facilitated the connectivity of 100 Thusong Service Centres to the Local Area Network (LAN) and 60 centres were connected to the Wide Area Network (WAN).
5.1.5 Programme 5: Service Delivery Improvement throughout Government
The purpose of this programme is to engage in supportive interventions and partnerships to improve efficiency and effectiveness. It also improves on learning and knowledge-based modes and practices of service delivery in the Public Service.
The Department trained 500 practitioners on the rollout of service delivery improvement plans through the Batho Pele change management engagement programme. A concept document on National Knowledge Management Framework was developed, which resulted in a consultative workshop held in November 2010. The Department also developed and completed a concept document on the development of generic structures including organizational development (OD). To this effect, consultative workshops were held with the Departments of Health; Social Development, Education and Offices of the Premiers.
In collaboration with PALAMA, the Department developed training modules for the capacitation of Organisational Development practitioners and the piloting of the training programme was scheduled for April 2011. The Department is in the process of creating an enabling environment for the Community Development Workers (CDWs) by drafting regulations for approval by the Minister. After this process, the CDW policy will be developed.
The Department was unable to conduct change-readiness assessments regarding institutions and departments that would be impacted by the Single/Integrated Public Service concept or legislation. According to the Department, they are awaiting the finalisation of the Public Administration and Management Bill in Parliament. As a result of this delay, the Department resorted to developing a draft strategy framework on managing change in the Public Service. By December 2010, the Minister announced that the Department would be introducing the amendment to existing legislation instead of introducing new legislation. The draft Public Service Amendment Bill will soon be submitted to Cabinet for approval, after which it will go to NEDLAC and other stakeholders for further discussions.
5.1.6 Programme 6: Governance and International Relations
The Department drives this programme
to improve governance and public administration for enhanced service delivery
6. Monitoring and Evaluation
The Department conducted four Employee Satisfaction Surveys
in the Offices of the Premier in
The remaining provinces will get their share during the 2011/12 financial year. The M&E human capacity questionnaires were piloted in the provinces visited. A total of 23 officials from different branches of DPSA were trained on the Introduction to M&E course facilitated by PALAMA. The Department developed a strategy to improve and maintain the quality of data in the PERSAL system. The system is meant to strengthen the monitoring of human resource policies within the Public Service.
7 International and African Affairs
The Department hosted and co-ordinated a number of international events as follows:
· Southern African Development Community (SADC) Senior Officials Steering Committee to develop a strategy on the establishment of a SADC Public Administration Cluster.
· Continental Capacity Developmental Programme to develop a strategy on continental capacity building programme.
DPSA representation at Champion and Bureau Meetings in
· Co-ordinating the implementation of All-Africa Public Sector Innovation Awards (AAPSIA) and the 32nd African Association of Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) Roundtable Conference.
· Eleven officials from the Vietnamese Ministry of Home Affairs to learn about SA HR Performance Management System and current remuneration approach.
· Six Zambian officials to learn about SA’s Senior Management benefit packages.
· Six Zimbabwean officials to learn about conditions of service and good labour standards.
· Six French officials to learn about recruitment and selection processes.
8. African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)
The APRM Plan of Action was developed and the 2010 Annual Report was submitted. The DPSA made inputs into the following continental projects to influence public service reform:
· Final draft of the African Public Service Charter.
· Final draft of the Long-Term Strategy for the Implementation of the Continental Governance and Public Administration Programme.
· AAPSIA Marketing and Adjudication process.
· Strategy for the Continental Capacity Development Programme.
9. Integrity and Ethics Management
The Department undertook the following projects under this sub-programme:
· Launching of the Special Anti-corruption Unit on 25 November 2010. However, a target to conclude 70% of disciplinary cases could not be achieved due to capacity constraints.
· Finalising the draft of the Public Sector Integrity Management Framework.
· Assisting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to develop the anti-corruption strategy.
· Developing the NQ4 Anti-corruption Training Programme by 31 May 2010 and subjecting to training 1 081 officials nationally.
· Developing the NQ5 Anti-corruption Training Programme and submitting it to the PSETA for accreditation by 31 March 2010.
10. Report of the Auditor-General
The Auditor-General expressed an unqualified audit opinion on the performance of the Department and its entities for 2010/11. It remains to be seen how the Department will address the concerns raised by the Auditor-General, and whether it aims to ensure that these problems do not recur. A breakdown of detailed findings by the AGSA is provided below for each entity:
10.1 The Department of Public Service and Administration
· The Department received an unqualified audit opinion similar to the 2009/10 outcome.
· In terms of presentation of information, about 27% of reported targets with major variances could not be explained.
· Reported targets were not consistent with the approved strategic plan.
· Changes to objectives and targets were not disclosed and explained in the annual report.
· Planned performance measures for 56% of selected programmes were not clear to ensure consistent data collection.
· Validity of 44% of selected targets could not be established due to a lack of sufficient audit evidence.
· In terms of procurement, goods and services were procured without inviting three quotations.
Public Administration Leadership and
· PALAMA received an unqualified audit opinion on financial statements similar to the 2009/10 outcome.
· Employees of PALAMA performed other remunerative work without prior permission of the relevant authority.
· Irregular expenditure was incurred.
· Fruitless and wasteful expenditure was incurred.
10.3 Public Service Commission
The AGSA reported on the following pertaining to the PSC audit outcome:
· PSC received an unqualified audit opinion similar to the 2009/10 outcome.
· Fruitless and wasteful expenditure was incurred.
· All payments were not settled within 30 days of receipt of invoice.
10.4 State Information Technology Agency
· SITA received an unqualified audit opinion on financial statements similar to the 2009/10 outcome
· SITA is hailed as the procurement agent on behalf of other government institutions; however it was found that in several instances non-compliance with laws and regulations pertaining to the procurement process, contract management and adherence to internal control was identified as a challenge. These issues of non-compliance could have resulted in modifications to audit reports of other government institutions.
· The strategic plan was not submitted on time to Minister.
· Quarterly reports were not prepared and submitted to Minister on time.
· A risk management strategy was not developed.
· 40% of service level agreements with other government entities were not signed.
· Documentation for tenders quotations etc was not always available.
· Bid invitations were not signed by designated officials from other government departments, as required by SITA Act Regulation 8.1.7(a)
· There was no proof that bids were advertised, as required by SITA regulations.
· Declaration of interest forms were not signed by members of various procurement committees.
· Approval for deviation from prescribed competitive bidding process was not obtained.
11. Consideration of Reports of Committee on Public Accounts
The Department did not appear before the Committee on Public Accounts. The Department did not apply any SCOPA Resolutions.
12. Consideration of other Sources of information
The 2011 State of the Public Service Report would have been handy in assessing some Government programmes, but it was not yet available at the time of the drafting of this report.
13. Committee’s Observations
The Committee observes that the Department and its entities have promptly appeared before the Committee whenever required to do so, notwithstanding the fact that, at times, the information provided might be shoddy and insufficient. The Portfolio Committee will continue to make follow-ups where necessary, until issues are finally resolved.
The following needs to be highlighted:
· The culture of virements and shifting of funds is still continuing since the last financial year (2009/10). Even during the first quarter of 2011/12 financial year, some funds have been shifted from one programme to another. Though the Public Finance Management Act allows this conduct, it is subject to abuse in a number of ways.. Furthermore, it is indicative of lack of proper financial planning in the Department
· The Committee noted that a number of programmes have under-spent their budget. However the Department provided adequate information to support the expenditure patterns.
· It was also noted that most of under-spending in various programmes was as a result of invoices not being submitted on time, as well as vacant posts not being filled.
· The Portfolio Committee encourages continuous efforts aimed at ensuring service delivery of quality and at granting access to services for communities in far-flung rural areas. The Committee believes that Thusong Services Centres should be extended to areas where they are non-existent. These centers should also be well equipped and manned by competent personnel.
· The Portfolio Committee notes that the vetting processes remain a challenge, especially for officials recruited in supply chain management. This works against the zeal to pre-empt and prevent corruption in the Public Service.
· The Portfolio Committee realizes that the Executive has not been vigilant in ensuring that senior management service signs performance agreements on time for proper evaluation and accountability.
· The Portfolio Committee wishes to highlight that turnaround times in the filling of vacancies have improved, but the ideal state has not yet been realised.
· The Portfolio Committee wishes to highlight that the spirit to implement the Job-Access Strategic Framework has not been efficiently carried through to ensure that women and people with disabilities have access to employment in the Public Service and that these vulnerable groups are promoted to senior management positions, so that their constitutional rights are upheld.
· The Portfolio Committee notes that the Auditor-General’s Report had so many reservations concerning governance issues. The Committee would like to see these challenges promptly addressed before they become endemic.
· The Portfolio Committee also notes that the spending trends do not paint a good picture, and this will impact on service delivery and its quality.
The Portfolio Committee is of the view that some goals and objectives might not be met, given the rate of spending in the Department. However, the Committee is satisfied that the attainment of most of the goals and objectives of the Department is still work in progress. The Portfolio Committee believes that, given the pace of implementation of some programmes, value for money may not be realized.
The Portfolio Committee concludes that, in terms of available information and efforts by the entities to address outstanding matters, budgetary review should be supported to execute the entities’ mandated programmes.
· Continuous efforts should be made to ensure service delivery of quality and to grant access to services for communities in far-flung rural areas. Thusong Services Centres should be extended to areas where they are non-existent. These centers should also be well equipped and manned by competent personnel.
· Vetting processes should be improved and be vigorous, especially for officials recruited in supply chain management, so that corruption can be pre-empted and prevented.
· The Executive should be vigilant to ensure that senior management service signs performance agreements on time for proper evaluation and accountability.
· Turnaround times in the filling of vacancies must be significantly improved.
· The Job-Access Strategic Framework must be vigilantly implemented to ensure that women and people with disabilities have access to employment in the Public Service, and that these vulnerable groups are promoted to senior management positions, so that their constitutional rights are upheld.
· The Portfolio Committee recommends that all outstanding issues that are supposed to be addressed by the entities in the financial year under review, should indeed be addressed; and the current programmes should continue to receive due attention in the 2011/12 financial year.
· The Portfolio Committee is of the view that the position of the Director-General should be filled immediately so that governance issues, as outlined in the Auditor-General’s Report, are speedily resolved.
· The Portfolio Committee recommends that the Suspensions Guideline should be effectively used; and that all government institutions should be made aware of it in order to minimize the time lapse between the suspension period and the finalization of an alleged misconduct.
· Connectivity to Thusong Service Centres should be given urgent attention in order to accelerate service delivery and access to government services.
· The PERSAL clean-up process has taken too long. This matter should be speeded up in order to have an effective information management system. The setting up of an effective information management system would help improve the turnaround times in the filling of vacancies in the Public Service.
· The Department must work vigorously towards the attainment of multi-year wage agreements.
· PALAMA should ensure that it gives necessary and urgent focus on skills development and the capacitation of the employees of the Public Service at all levels.
· The Public Service Commission should sharpen its Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy, so that the impact of service delivery in the Public Service can be objectively assessed.
· The Department should improve on its Human Resource Development Strategy, so that skills in the Public Service can improve; and also so that civil servants can have decent work as their skills improve.
· The Department should allocate more financial, technical and human resources to the Specialised Anti-Corruption Unit, so that corruption can be decisively uprooted in the Public Service.
· The Department should urgently table before Parliament their proposals regarding legislation to bring about an integrated and seamless Public Service.
· SITA should urgently table before Parliament their proposals regarding legislation to regulate National Data.
· The Department needs to give necessary attention to the issue of public participation regarding systems and operations between itself and its entities, and also among state departments in the forefront of central government administration and service delivery.
· The Committee requests that the Department provide it with a list of those Departments in which performance agreements are routinely not filed on time or at all. The Committee will then undertake to follow up with the relevant Executive Authorities about why this is so.
· The Committee requests that the Department, in collaboration with the Public Service Commission, gives an overall report on progress made by the entire Public Service regarding Government’s Five Priorities. This should happen by the first quarter of 2012.
In light of the above
recommendations, the Portfolio Committee recommends the medium-term review of
the Department and its entities’ budget; so that the mandate of the Department
can be carried through, subject to spending on services and programmes
for which the funds have been allocated. The Portfolio Committee is of the view
that it will be impossible to ensure the constitutional rights of recipients of
service and uphold the rights of state employees without the review of the
medium-term budget. These rights are captured under Section 33 of the
Constitution of the
Report to be considered