Public Service Commission - News
Senior Management and Conditions of Service
A major challenge for the PSC is monitoring and evaluating as well as advising
on improving conditions of service for the successful recruitment and retention
of senior managers, who are in short supply in the country as a whole.
Another challenge is promoting a workplace culture that is centred on performance,
based on best practice internationally, and geared toward enhanced productivity.
And, finally, the KPAs handled as special projects under the Director-General
Monitoring and Evaluations (M&E)
At present the PSC does not have a formal M&E system but draws on a range
of specially prepared and commissioned reports. While these provide a deep and
more qualitative understanding of the public service, there is also a need,
to have some mechanism or tool to monitor key issues and provide information
in those areas over time. For the latest on the M&E system, see story: "Monitoring
and Evaluation System to be Developed".
Key to performance of the PSC is the organization and structuring of the institution
to meet its mandate in the new South Africa: While the PSC mission and vision
are clear, a number of underlying systems and procedures still need refinement
to enhance performance the PSC.
The Public Service Commission has eight key Performance Areas that defines
all activities of the Commission. One very important KPA is about Conditions
of Service and the retention of senior managers.
The purpose of the key performance area Senior Management and Conditions of
Service is to manage the monitoring and evaluation of conditions of service
and the performance management of heads of department.
A number of investigations focused at monitoring and evaluating the management
of employment conditions in the public service have been undertaken, or are
in the process of being undertaken, in pursuit of the Commission's objectives
relating to this key performance area. These include, amongst others, the following:
- An investigation to determine to what extent career management programmes
have been put in place in the Public Service was conducted. The investigation
revealed that as at January 2000, only three departments developed and implemented
substantive career management programmes.
In the absence of formal career management programmes, departments appeared
to be over-reliant on the frameworks provided at national level through the
former Personnel Administration Standards which set out very rigid and confined
career development and progression opportunities for individuals.
In order to facilitate the development of career management programmes by departments,
a career management instrument was proposed in the Report on Career Management
in the Public Service, published by the Commission during July 2000. This career
management instrument will be piloted in the Office of the PSC and valuable
information obtained from this exercise will be circulated to all departments.
- Another investigation was undertaken to determine the type of management
information required to effectively manage absence due to sick leave on instruction
of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. This investigation revealed
that departments are not aware of the full extent of management information
on sick leave that is available through PERSAL's Report 7.11.4. Departments
also did not have fixed procedures in place to monitor and address trends
in respect of sick leave.
Recommendations were then made in the Report published by the PSC during 2000
included that PERSAL's Report 7.11.4 be expanded to provide for more information
on sick leave trends, and that role players be made aware of the facilities
that are available on PERSAL.
- Investigations into the management of both leave and overtime in the Public
Service were conducted during 1998/99. Although these investigations were
conducted at eight national departments, the findings revealed problems that
could be universal to all departments. These included the lack of proper record
keeping, manipulation of the relevant administrative systems and the non-adherence
Proposals were made in the reports published by the PSC regarding the development
of comprehensive departmental policies (regulating the performance of overtime
duty and the taking of leave) and the providing of training at all levels to
ensure that role players involved are informed of their responsibilities in
respect of the management of leave and overtime.
- An investigation into the management of performance agreements for senior
managers is in the process of being completed. Valuable feedback will be generated
through this investigation that will enable departments to manage the system
- Further investigations to be completed during 2001/2002 include-
- An evaluation of the causes and effects of senior management mobility;
- An evaluation of the awarding of higher salaries on appointment and
- An evaluation of departmental policies on overtime.
In addition to the monitoring and evaluation exercises alluded to above, the
Commission was also instructed by Cabinet during 2000 to develop a Framework
for the evaluation of heads of department. After a process that included research
to determine how the evaluation of heads of department is dealt with in various
foreign public services and with due consideration to the unique circumstances
that apply to the South African Public Service, a framework was developed which
Cabinet approved. This Framework provides for the appointment of evaluation
panels to advise executing authorities on the performance of their heads of
department. These evaluation panels are to be chaired by members of the Commission.
The Commission will also on an annual basis provide guidelines to assist executing
authorities and evaluation panels with the evaluation process.
Although the Framework is obligatory only for heads of national departments,
Premiers have been advised to implement it in their provinces as well. Workshops
on the possible implementation of the Framework were therefore held with provincial
heads of department and members of executive councils and all provinces except
Gauteng and the Western Cape have decided to implement the Framework.
The Framework will be formally implemented for the evaluation of the performance
of heads of department during the 2000/2001 financial year. Certain executing
authorities have already activated the evaluation process.
Article compiled by Admill Simpson
Project and Editorial Team/s
Project Supervision : Odette Ramsingh
Editor : Yvonne Mogadime
Production Co-ordination : Humphrey Ramafoko
Project Support : Indran Naidoo
Team Manager : Yvonne Mogadime
Coordination : Humphrey Ramafoko
Wrtiters : Humphrey Ramafoko, Sifiso Ngema
Editorial Contribution : All PSC Chief Directorates
Editorial Support : Noleen de Free
Design and Printing : Communication Gurus