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Monitoring and Evaluation in South African Government Essay Sample

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1.1 Introduction
The approach to the Monitoring & Evaluation systems by different countries is diverse depending on the context and the background factors that govern the particular country’s development priorities, as well as the pressing issues of reform at a particular time. Some countries develop Monitoring and Evaluation systems as an opportunistic reactionary measure against stressful fiscal pressures that is accompanied by ever-rising expectations from the country’s citizens; and the pressure to provide more government services at a high level of quality. It is this kind of pressure that forces governments to put in place cost-effective ways of delivering services, so that governments are able to do more with less. South Africa is a developing country, very much like most countries in Latin America; and is a promising case in the bigger scheme of monitoring and evaluation in Africa, pretty much like Uganda. Like most countries, in Africa, South Africa has in its own agenda, poverty reduction development priorities.

This assignment has identified two most crucial contextual factors that affect service delivery, either positively or negatively in South Africa. Those factors include (a) the form of governance and structure (b) the fiscal environment and economic management; and they are discussed below: 1.2.1 Form of Governance and Structure: – South Africa is a democratic state, whose developmental imperatives, developmental issues; as well as its policy development processes are influenced, in the main, by its structure and form. Administratively, South Africa subscribes to the ideology of decentralization – administrative decentralization and fiscal decentralization. It must be understood that form of governance and the type of decentralization theory will always have marked effect in determining the characteristics of a particular country; its policy implications and conditions for success of such policies. South Africa is modeled around two sub-types of decentralization:

(a) Administrative decentralization: this form of governance seeks to redistribute authority, responsibility and financial resources for providing public services among different levels of governance. It aims to transfer responsibility for planning, financing and management of public functions from the central government or provincial governments and its agencies to local governments, semi-autonomous public authorities or corporations, or area-wide, regional or functional authorities.

(b) Fiscal decentralization: under this form of governance financial responsibility, as a core component of decentralization is also dispersed to allow for adequate levels of revenues for local government – either raised locally or transferred from the central government; taking the form of intergovernmental transfers that shift general revenues from the taxes collected by the central government to local governments for general and specific use – to be able to carry out its functions effectively. This also allows local authority to make decisions about expenditures.

Dependence on central government subsidies is so huge and deep seated that very little is done by local government in mobilizing borrowing or supplementary revenues, which could have forced local governments to take accountability and responsibility in loan repayments.

1.2.2 The Fiscal Environment and Economic Management: According to the 2010 Budget Review – titled Transforming the country’s economy” It is said that, whilst, South Africa is gradually emerging from the shock of global economic meltdown and recession; the developmental challenges of high unemployment and poverty continue to persist unabatedly throwing the country sharply into requiring bold and robust policy shift to be able to raise economic growth, employment and reducing poverty. The government has responsibility to support economic recovery – to support growth in employment and to support poverty-alleviation programmes. This can only be achieved by addressing the levels of service performance by the state – by expansion of social infrastructure – broadening opportunities for the entire population and by redistribution of income.

South Africa is also an important player in the world economy. According to the 2010 Budget Review – in the recent years Brazil, China and India have become leading trading nations, with expanding economies that are creating jobs and contributing to significantly lower levels of poverty. According to the 2008 World Bank Study – more than 80% of the poverty reduction that has taken place over the past decade has occurred in these fast-growing economies. Many other countries are also working to increase competitiveness, attract investment, develop more skilled labour and broaden opportunities for their citizens. South Africa too must compete on this global platform, where progress is registered through hard work, effective organization and clear leadership.

Briefly, I would like to mention a few policy levers, as discussed by the same paper – Budget Review 2010, which are required in order for South Africa to achieve its objectives. * Steps to reduce youth unemployment – including offering subsidies that aim to lower the risks on the part of employers to employing inexperienced work-seekers. * Affirmative industrial policy interventions that supports creation of labour intensive industries through skills development, infrastructure investment, public employment programmes and rural development strategy. * Raising savings levels – thereby sustain high levels of public and private investments. * Improving the performance and effectiveness of the state. * Reforms to increase inclusion and participation in the labour market. * Keeping inflation low and;

* Reducing productivity and competitiveness by cutting red tape, enforcing competition laws and enhancing regulatory oversight, improving performance of state-owned enterprises………..
The fiscal budget is tight and the demand for public service is very huge. South Africa has seen massive increase in expenditures in the recent years and very little impact is recorded by these expenditures. But before one is able to discuss the context and the applicability of Monitoring & Evaluation in South Africa, it would be proper to first discuss the Monitoring & Evaluation Concepts as they apply consistently in South Africa and other countries around the world. The next section of this write-up discusses such concepts as they are developed by DAC 2002 – as extracted from World Bank Release: “How to Build M&E Systems to Support Better Governments” (Keith Mackay 2007)

Section 2
Monitoring and Evaluation – Concepts
2.1 (a) Key Concepts – according to Mackay 2007
(a) Performance Indicators: – (Mackay 2007) performance indicators are measures of inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts of government activities. Indicators can be very high level, in terms of measuring the government’s performance relative to the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) or the national development plan, or in terms of ministry and agency activities and outputs. They are useful for setting performance targets, for assessing progress toward achieving them, and for comparing the performance of different organizations. They are relatively inexpensive means of measuring government performance on a frequent basis. They can be used to flag the need for a follow-up review or evaluation of an issue.

(b) Rapid Appraisal: – these are quick low cost ways of gathering the views and feedback of beneficiaries and other stakeholders. These views provide rapid information for management decision making, especially at the activity or program level. These methods include interviews, focus group discussions, direct observation and mini surveys. They are qualitative methods which sometimes can be very invalid less reliable and not very credible than formal surveys.

(c) Rapid Evaluation: – involves a formal review of a government activity or program. These entail desk reviews by external consultants of a program’s objectives and preparation of a logframe analysis (which maps the causal links between government activities and desired outcomes and impacts) Any available data including performance indicators are analyzed to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the activity. The World Bank uses this approach in many of its ex ante and ex post project evaluations. The main strengths of rapid evaluations are the speed and the relative cost. Their disadvantages include weaker empirical evidence and much weaker data-analysis techniques. They are also not good in identifying possible causal relationships between government actions and subsequent improvements in performance.

(d) Impact Evaluation: – focuses on the outcomes and impacts of government activities. Rapid evaluation methods can be used to estimate impact, but more sophisticated methods of impact evaluation can provide much more reliable and persuasive findings. These methods entail the comparison of program beneficiaries with control or comparison groups at two or more points in time. This type of evaluation can be demanding in terms of data and can be very expensive. These evaluations are better planned in advance of when their findings will be needed, as it is usually not possible to conduct them quickly.

(e) Comprehensive Spending Reviews: – are a type of policy evaluation. Chile has been using this type of evaluation to review programs such as schools. These entail desk reviews of issues of inefficiency and program duplication.

2.1 (b) Other Key Elements – according to South Africa Policy Framework for GWME System
(a) Inputs: – involve all resources that contribute to the production of service delivery outputs. It is anything we use to do the work including finances, personnel, equipment and buildings.
(b) Activities: – include all processes or actions that use a range of inputs to produce the desired outputs and ultimately outcomes. It is what we do in a project or program.
(c)Outputs: – these refer to the final products in the nature of goods and services produced for delivery. Outputs may be explained as what we produce or deliver.
(d) Outcomes: – in this document outcomes are explained as medium term results for specific beneficiaries which are the consequence of achieving specific outputs. Outcomes relate to an institution’s strategic goals and objectives set out in its plans. Outcomes are what we wish to achieve.

(e) Impacts: – entail the results of achieving specific outcomes such as reducing poverty and creating jobs. Impacts are how we have actually influenced communities and target groups.

Section 3
South Africa’s Two Main Strategic Objectives in pursuit of high service perfomance
3.1Review of Public Service Performance and Accountable Delivery: -South Africa requires a multi-dimensional approach in solving the problems of unemployment and poverty. One, amongst many is to, reprioritize budget in such a way that money is spent on high-priority and high-impact programmes than those considered low-priority programmes. The second approach is to ensure a performance culture where people are held accountable for their actions; this should be coupled with clear, measurable outcomes that are closely related and comparable to key developmental priorities. The third approach is to arrest corruption particularly in the tendering system. The last one could be to ensure reduction in consumption expenditure – such as wages, certain goods and certain services. See illustration below:

Reduced Consumption
Reduced Corruption
Performance Culture
Re-Prioritized Budget

Multi –Dimensional Approach

The overall approach should be geared to delivering on outcomes. Proper prior planning is needed and should be enhanced and strictly based on intended outcomes. Outcomes cannot be reached without proper monitoring and evaluation capacity within government during the running of such programs and for the lasting duration of such programmes. Monitoring and evaluation skills are crucial and should prevail in all departments and across all spheres of government. This new approach should seek to achieve greater impetus to development and service delivery improvements and to make meaningful impact on the lives of South Africans.

According to the Report: “2010 Budget Review – Transforming the South African Economy” – an approach geared to emphasizing performance is needed and would require a set of complementary reforms to revitalize the public service, and to create a culture of efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and respect for citizens. Personally I think this revitalized approach would never be a success without an attempt to forge working partnerships with communities and forcing local government to be more responsive to the needs of their communities.

3.2 Reforming Procurement Processes and Fighting Corruption: – South Africa needs to strike a balance between maintaining efficiency in the delivery of public service and ensuring accountability within the entire chain of supply of services. Currently, decisions on procurement are decentralized to departments and their sub-provincial departments down to local government extensions. This has resulted in loose responsibility and fragmentation in accountability and an increase in the abuse of tender system.

I think that government needs to put systems in place that are capable of checking and tracking if inputs such as money, labour, time and materials that are applicable throughout the project pipelines are used according to plan; and if those inputs are processed economically and efficiently to produce desired outcome. I think government needs to develop electronic procurement monitoring and evaluation systems that allow for transparency and ease of perusal by anyone.

By so doing any interested party may simply logon to the system and be able to work out the progress and the budget of any project – anywhere in the country. In case of high – priority programmes, procurement arrangements can be centralized to become more efficient and transparent e.g. all building and construction projects may be controlled by a specialized unit within the Treasury. This unit may be set up in such a way that it plans – monitors and it evaluates each and every project once completed.

Again the 2010 Budget Review states that a special unit which will be known as the supply chain compliance unit has already been set up within National Treasury to investigate compliance to tender regulations and procedures. This unit will work with the Special Investigating Unit in cases where fraud and corruption is being suspected.

Personally I think such a unit should have a representative in each office of government – the representative/agents should be taught the basics of project management and monitoring and evaluation skills. They should be fully equipped with the latest technology so as to report timeously of deviations and where deadlines are not met or sub-standard workmanship is being supplied to government. In short, government needs to develop capacity for close monitoring and evaluation and also re-inforce monitoring and evaluation tendencies in each and every corridor of government departments.

Section 4
A Case of South Africa – according to report by DFID (Department of International Development) 2009 According to this report – South Africa began its monitoring and evaluation as far back as 2007 during the reign of the Honorable Thabo Mbeki. South Africa’s approach has always been that of a centralized system of Monitoring and Evaluation; requiring all government departments and municipalities to develop their own systems of monitoring and evaluation that are integrated to the overall agency management system. Various events and initiatives have taken place to share experiences in developing and implementing monitoring and evaluation systems. A system commonly known as government-wide monitoring and evaluation (GWM&E) was adopted and issued by the office of The Presidency in 2007. The treasury is the champion of this initiative and has issued the “Framework for Program Performance Information” in 2007.

Statistics South Africa has a responsibility for statistics and issued the “South Africa Statistical Quality Assessment Framework” in 2008. South Africa’s monitoring and evaluation initiatives has placed significant emphasis on monitoring, which is viewed as a pre-condition for effective evaluation. The system is designed in such a way that performance indicators are required to capture the underlying programme logic of the department’s activities – forcing departments to explain logic behind their interventions. Focus is therefore placed on outcome monitoring, starting with 72 national-level ‘core indicators’. Impact evaluation is defined as framework document – examining whether underlying rationale and assumptions were valid, what worked, what did not and why.

The World Bank has been involved greatly in ushering South Africa into the bigger scheme of monitoring and evaluation. Many impact evaluations have taken place in the past such the evaluation of transfer payments including disability grants, pensions, and child support grant. This report suggests that, a number of studies have indicated positive effects of pensions and the child support grant on poverty – child health care and nutrition. Other impact evaluation includes micro-finance and HIV/AIDS interventions. The number of studies compare favorable to other African states, reflecting a more developed statistical system and capacity in academic systems of the country.

SECTION 5
Defining south africa’s strategic imperatives in BUILDING COMPETENT public service 5.1 Building Capacity in Monitoring and Evaluation: – According to The World Bank’s Operations Evaluation Department Report by Salvatore Schiavo Campo – building capacity is more than just training people. Building capacity requires complementary improvements in five major directions i.e. (a) Institutional capacity: In South Africa there are eight most important institutions of monitoring and evaluation. They are The Office of the President – National and Provincial Treasury – Statistics South Africa – The Department of Public Service – The Provincial and Local Government Department – The Office of the Public Service Commission – The Auditor General – The South African Management Development Institute and the Provincial Premiers Offices. South Africa requires building a strong administrative capacity, this allows for improved public sector efficiency and effectiveness.

A policy framework commonly known as “Policy Framework for the Government Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System” has already been drafted and is in place. Key Monitoring and Evaluation institutions have been identified and the role of each clearly defined; and management functions adapted to more and serious accountability rules and controls. (b) Organizational capacity: From various definitions and explanatory notes, one is able to deduce a good explanation of what is meant by organizational capacity. The Government-Wide Monitoring &Evaluation Policy Framework (GWM&E)defines monitoring and evaluation as follows: “ A monitoring and evaluation system is a set of organizational structures, management processes, standards, strategies, plans, indicators, information systems, reporting lines, and accountability relationships which enables national and provincial departments, municipalities, and other institutions to discharge their M& E functions effectively.”

The key word in this definition is organizational structures. I think it is important before a structure is set up, a culture of accountability should be clearly shared by all persons by all systems and by all resources. It should inform and be a component of shared vision and the mission of an organization. Conditions should be such that decisions are influenced by feedback generated by M&E tools. A relationship should exist between the systems of various units within a department and also systems of various institutions and the system of national government, resulting in total quality management by government. (c) Adaptation of organizational architecture of M& E government entities to the new and more efficient accountability rules and incentives: According to the Policy Framework for the Government –Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System of November 2007 – it is a statutory requirement that the accounting officer of a department or municipality or the chief executive officer of a public entity is required to establish a monitoring and evaluation system for the institution.

It goes on to state that the primary users of the M& E system will use these source systems to refine their own planning and implementation processes. The data and information from these source systems will also be used by other stakeholders in the Government-Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System to create an overall picture of national, provincial and local performance. The logic is simple – if monitoring and evaluation systems prevail in all public institutions, it is then easier for secondary users of monitoring and evaluation information to derive this information from IT sources from the underlying organizational source systems.

(d) Information and communication technology capacity: South Africa believes that electronic IT based systems should operate policy context shaped by the GWM&E policy framework. The emphasis should be placed, not on single automated system, but on the integration of systems and operability that is open to use between departments. The policy framework seeks to implant a management system for all public sector organizations that speaks to other internal management systems such as planning, budgeting and reporting systems. (e) Human capacity: The GWM&E seeks to achieve accelerated human capacity.

If GWM&E was to become a bloodline and a culture in all public institutions, there are five result areas that can be addressed i.e. accountability by management and human capital will definitely improve – it would be easy to identify areas of success and as a result it would be easy to replicate success cases elsewhere – challenges would be easy to highlight and address quickly – decision will be based on available resources – it would be easy to involve affected stakeholders. Public service will then become effective – efficient and service delivery will improve. 5.2 Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity:

The second step in building a competent public service would be to strengthen all the elements of Monitoring & Evaluation capacity. Salvatore Schiavo-Campo suggests that, in strengthening monitoring and evaluation capacity, there are five building blocks that you have to take into consideration. These five elements are discussed below: (a) The first one is that you have to address the legitimacy superstructure: – all attempts by the South African citizens should be made to install only a government with a firm commitment to business ethics and moral. This starts when governments and public servants are voted into power. If legitimate people are voted to hold public office, the quality of the decisions taken is bound to be legitimate. The structure of M&E should be established on sound corporate governance foundation. The ministerial offices at national and sub-national departments, together with support staff, form part of this foundation.

This new approach requires that delivery agreements are negotiated between the Presidency and the relevant service delivery forum, such as government departments at all levels including other research and implementing agencies. The delivery agreement is signed by the President and the senior representatives in the forum. This contract necessitates much closer cooperation between national government and provincial; as well as local governments that are involved in the key pipeline of delivering a particular service. An example is given in the 2010 Budget Review: Transforming the South African Economy – of teacher unions signing a commitment to raise the quality and performance levels in classroom and stamping out disruptions to teaching time. Monitoring and evaluation should be built into the legislation of the country. In other countries in Europe – monitoring and evaluation committees are headed by opposition parties. In South Africa the ruling party is responsible for monitoring and evaluating itself. (b)

Encouraging affirmative transparency: – making sure that decisions, actions and programmes are well understood and accepted by the public before they are undertaken. In other words the approach should be that decisions and programmes should be need-based and aim to address the needs of the community and people of South Africa. If decisions originate from the top-down then every possible step should be taken to ensure that the public understands the rationale behind such decisions. The public should be made to understand who took such decision and why such a decision has been made. And everything about the decisions should be openly clear to the public. In other words transparency should be emphasized and should be encouraged in every step of the way. The communication lines should be clear between national ministers and provincial ministers and local structures; as well as between government, the implementing agencies and the users of service on the ground. This will ensure that each component accounts to the next one and very tight and close monitoring is maintained at all times.

(c) Assure appropriate scope and timeframe: – efficiency and timeliness can account as the main ingredients of success and these two elements can also be used as indicators of good or poor service delivery. When aiming to strengthen monitoring and evaluation capacity, it is very important to determine the appropriate scope and size of the project – this also helps in advising you in terms of timeframes and capacity applicable to the project. It is then that you are able to determine times of completion of phases – of work streams and completion times for the entire project. If appropriate scope and timeframe is properly worked out, grounds for delays can be addressed sooner than later and improvements are easy to make during the implementation period of the project. The good habits of monitoring and evaluation should be built into the process of planning and if deviations prevail by any chance, at any stage of the project, the same good habits will kick start immediately and help sustain the improvement process. (d)

Fitting ECD with local realities: – a good understanding of the prevailing institutional and administrative conditions, circumstances and factors in the area where the project is targeted is very important. Strengthening monitoring and evaluation in South Africa would require a slow, simple, gradual process focusing on micro and smaller elements of the greater scheme of things. This could include forging links with staff of local municipalities – ward councilors – project steering committees – representatives of communities and local service providers. Capacity should prevail at local level – every councilor of every municipality should attend workshops on monitoring and evaluation; so as to build long-lasting capacity in all functional areas of government. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) can play a meaningful role in monitoring and evaluation – especially in the area of medicinal services.

In some cases, performance indicators can be generated from bottom –up including participation of front-line staff and service providers. (e) Focus ECD efforts on ECD: – intensive care should be taken when developing capacity-building programmes that one does not end up focusing on the technical aspects of performing a task. Just to make an example, when formulating workshop materials – service providers of training should not end up telling about the rules of bricklaying. Monitoring and Evaluation practitioners do not necessarily have to have the requisite technical competence of a project. It is however; very important that during the pre-planning stage every M&E participant should attend a common workshop where the technical aspect of the project can be discussed by all members. It is during this workshop that a project plan can be discussed separately and the monitoring and evaluation also discussed on its own.

SECTION 6

(a) South Africa may only be able advance its position in monitoring and evaluation if an external agency is responsible for developing M& E objectives and activities. A good partnership with high-end institutions of learning and the country’s treasury department could result in much needed efficiencies of these programmes. In countries such as Uganda – the Operational Evaluations Department of the World Bank has partnered with the government of Uganda to produce a success story of Evaluations Capacity Development. However, this is a decision to be made at the very high echelons of the country’s administration and a political one. South Africa may involve the Development Bank of Southern Africa – the Industrial Development Corporation and Commercial Banks to lead the country in the right direction. This is a lesson we can take and a good approach in ensuring sustainability and effectiveness of Evaluations Capacity Development. (b)

South Africa has done well in placing monitoring and evaluation on the government’s agenda by establishing a ministry of monitoring and evaluation – as headed by Minister Collins Chabane. Lessons can still be drawn from countries such as Malawi and Sri Lanka. It is this ministry that should seek to influence all other ministries in setting up a common practices and a common language of monitoring and evaluation, leading into a common understanding of M&E within government. A good reference case is that of Egypt, in terms of their program. (c) Funders of projects should be involved at an early stage and they must be allowed to take ownership of monitoring and evaluation functions and activities. At times grants will come from certain funders – in the case of South African Municipalities some projects such as road rehabilitation projects are funded by Municipal Infrastructural Grant (MIG) It would be recommended that MIG proposes a compulsory monitoring and evaluation method before any project is undertaken.

Currently evaluation are based on reports by Municipalities – that are sometimes fabricated and inflated to present a good image whilst millions have been lost due to corruption. Lessons can be drawn from Brazil and Mexico. On the other note, potential grant-givers can jointly and establish a fund to finance formulation of evaluations capacity development programmes and related training such in the case of Egypt Institutional Development Fund. (d) South Africa should not rely on workshops and short-lived training programmes, but should initiate these programmes as long – bearing courses of study so as to maintain the culture of monitoring and evaluation in the country. These programmes should have long-lasting effect on the conduct of public servants and the appointed service providers.

They should aim to improve the performance of public service and of the country as a whole. (e) Paul Johnson: UK Treasury 2004 “The United Kingdom’s approach has been that of linking policy and the budget. All significant expenditure programs are subject to evaluation as demanded by the Treasury. Numerous evaluations are carried out resulting in huge research base and testing of processes and their impact” South Africa could learn from this approach and set a good standard for monitoring and evaluation of projects in terms their impact and benefit to the community.

SUMMATION AND CONCLUSION
It is clear that South Africa has just begun realizing the importance of Monitoring and Evaluation as a key feature of its development agenda when compared to countries in Europe and Latin America. It is a widely accepted viewpoint that the poverty situation facing a number of African states calls for a clear priority for intensive development support. It is clear that South Africa has major challenges including – limited financial resources – lack of accountability throughout the chain of supply – weak and corrupt administration – lack of skilled personnel in critical positions of research, monitoring and evaluation – lack of identifiable work ethics, prudent organizational behavior and corporate governance. South Africa, like many other African states is a middle-income country. Therefore good lessons of how best an African country could go about building capacity and implementing the systems of monitoring and evaluation, can be drawn from the case of Uganda.

According to Mackay 2007 – Uganda has a national strategic plan known as the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) and a secondary method of tracking expenditure called Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS). A number of Monitoring and Evaluation initiatives and systems that, at first resulted in burdensome data-collection activities at district and facility levels. This led to uncoordinated and un-harmonized and sophisticated data with 1000 indicators involving 300 000 data entries per annum for each of the 110 districts. No client satisfactions surveys were conducted and no measures of outcomes such health status or learning outcomes were evaluated. Heavy burdens were imposed on frontline staff and this caused consternation within government.

Until a decision was taken, this led to the creation of a National Integrated M&E System (NIMES) under the office of the Prime Minister; as an umbrella Monitoring & Evaluation System within which all other existing systems will be coordinated and harmonized, and strengthen the government capacities to conduct and use monitoring and evaluation (Government of Uganda 2004,2006) Various working groups have been created under NIMES addressing M&E in local governments – policy research – evaluation – national statistical data – sector management information systems and spatial data – civil society organizations and financial information. Mackay suggests that funding for NIMES, to the tune of $7.4 million over a three year period, was sourced from external donors in addition to government own funding. The numbers of performance indicators were reduced with greater focus on outputs, outcomes and impacts as well as setting of targets. Today the World Bank and seven other donors now prepare a joint strategy for providing support to Uganda, based on the national plan (PEAP) goals and objectives.

These donors rely heavily on the government’s own monitoring information to assess their own performance. Furthermore the government has also embarked on the process of improving its performance and accountability in the public sector. Mackay (2007) suggests that most African countries already possess M&E systems and receive donor support to develop capacity and have access to donor evaluations. According to Mackay(2007) these countries face the challenge of relying on what already exists in the market, by simply rationalizing and improving, instead of developing own new systems and South Africa is not an exception to this. There is weak demand for monitoring and evaluation information, even when systems are developed and are in place.

The quality of data is problematic – with too much data and less information. According to “Monitoring and Evaluation: Some Tools, Methods and Approaches (IEG 2004b) – a number of elements should be considered when building reliable Monitoring and Evaluation Systems. These elements should be used in conjunction with M&E systems. They include: * Financial Management information systems to support better financial tracking of government spending. * Public expenditure tracking surveys to identify leakages and to trace the effects of corruption. * Service delivery surveys of client satisfaction and perceptions of the quality of government services. * Rapid appraisals of problem projects and programs.

* National and sector statistical collections – relating to national priorities such as MDGs. * Sector ministries administrative data.
South Africa should also guard against over-engineering its M&E system. It is also very important to carefully monitor the extent to which, each type M&E information is being used; and where utilization is low, be able to identify possible reasons. If South Africa were to learn a thing from the case of Uganda, it is that M&E systems are institutionalized incrementally over a period as a process and not an event.

Reference

(1) Evaluation Capacity Development. (2005) World Bank: 2005 Building Country Capacity for Monitoring and Evaluation in the Public Sector: Selected Lessons of International Experience. Salvatore Schiavo-Campo

(2) Independent Evaluation Group. (2007) World Bank: 2007 How to Build M&E Systems to Support Better Governments. Keith Mackay: World Bank.

(3) International Initiative for Impact Evaluation. (2009) Department of International Development – UK: 2009 Institutionalizing Evaluation: A review of international experience. Bertha Briceno and Marie M. Gaarder.

(4) South Africa. Policy Framework for the Government-Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System (September 2007) South Africa: The Presidency.

(5) South Africa. Transforming the South African Economy (2010) South Africa: The National Treasury.

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