Address by Minister Jeff Radebe at the official opening of the DPME Evaluation Seminar 27-28 June Burgerspark Hotel
Good morning to all of you
Thank you for being here today, and for joining us at the second National Evaluation Seminar organised to share experience around the National Evaluation System. Under the theme Doing much better: Improving Government Performance and Accountability through Evaluation
As you know my responsibility is to ensure we deliver the National Development Plan, using the tools of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. We have to use these tools to ensure we are doing the right things (planning), we are delivering them right (M&E), and that problems are rectified.
The Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) is the first 5 years of the National Development Plan � to deliver the 14 outcomes of the MTSF we have to deliver a range of policies, programmes and services ranging from Education, Health to improving the Public Sector.
Statement of importance of significance of evaluation, democracy and country
Improving government performance will result in improving service delivery. Using evidence will assist with a better understanding of policy performance and inform decision-making. As we know, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) is a knowledge organisation, which places emphasis on using evidence from monitoring, evaluation and research in guiding what is, or is not working and why and how policy, programme and projects are implemented and could be improved.
Research is a tool which allows us to delve into a problem and how it could be solved.
Evaluation focuses on specific policies and programmes to see whether they are working, whether we are doing the correct thing, and why, and how they can be improved. Evaluations ate happening on programme and policies in most of the 14 outcomes in the MTSF.
As the National Evaluation Policy Framework (NEPF, 2011:ii) mentions, If we are to improve our performance as government, we have to reflect on what we are doing, what we are achieving what we set out to achieve, and why unexpected results are occurring. We cannot advance without making mistakes on the way, but we must evaluate and learn from our successes and our mistakes. Without this we cannot improve.
The outputs and our 14 national priority outcome areas, allow us as government to focus on the main priorities we set out to achieve, with a set of impact, outcome and output targets. As a country we should always reflect on how far we have come, in order to ensure we are on the correct path to learn and grow. We must also ensure value for money and that we are investing in the appropriate things.
National Evaluation System
The National Evaluation System is in its sixth year of implementation, with six National Evaluation Plans approved by Cabinet per financial year since approval of the National Evaluation Policy Framework by Cabinet on 23 November 2011. Major achievements have taken place, and I will provide some examples:
The findings and recommendations of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) evaluation undertaken in the NEP 2011/12 financial year, have resulted in a new ECD policy, as well as a conditional grant for ECD, which was approved in the 2016/17 budget.
A series of evaluations undertaken with the dti have led to change in their business incentives programmes, development of new guidelines and the relaunch of these programmes and business are now accessing these new programmes. We are now doing an evaluation of all business incentives across government;
A series of evaluations undertaken in Human Settlements are now informing the development of the new White Paper on Human Settlements (and we will hear more on this from Ahmedi Vawda later).
There are now 59 evaluations underway or completed within National Evaluation Plans covering more than R143 billion of government expenditure (and the GIAMA evaluation with department of Public Works covering lease vs freehold properties represents around R100 billion alone in government expenditure over three years.
But the major achievement of the National Evaluation System is that we are on track to institutionalise evaluation across government. Seven of nine provinces have current provincial evaluation plans, with 102 evaluations included. 57 departments now have departmental evaluation plans. And to enable this DPME has worked on standards, competencies, guidelines, courses etc, so this institutionalisation has proceeded despite only 16 staff supporting NEP evaluations and the national evaluation system.
Importance of Cabinet’s role
I can assure you that Cabinet welcomes these evaluations, which provide rigorous evidence in the process of evidence based policy making, and they find it an opportunity to get a deep dive into what is working and not and why.
All too often monitoring reports skate on the surface but these reports provide an opportunity for ministers to understand in depth what is happening, and Cabinet often spends a whole hour discussing them. We remain committed to using evidence from evaluations to ensure we are an efficient and accountable government of people.
In conclusion I want to thank the national departments and provincial offices of the premier and their respective departments for championing the evaluation system and for your commitment to not only undertaking evaluations, but also to use this evidence to strengthen your policy and programmes. While DPME coordinates and facilitates the system, the national evaluation system depends on all departments participating, investing in evaluations and using the results.
As the evaluation system evolves, I would like to see that a culture of evidence usage is embedded in policy making, effective planning and implementation. We must ensure that the requisite capacity in all national and provincial departments is strengthened, that evaluations are undertaken in a cost-effective manner, and that we start to see improved policies and programmes as a result.
We thank you for your continued support in this process.
So the objectives of this event are that by the end of the workshop:
participants are updated on developments with the system, and have identified lessons;
people unfamiliar with the system understand how the NES works;
participants are aware of a range of capacity in the country they can use for peer support;
a community of practice is emerging on evaluation and its use; and
participants understand how to use evidence to inform planning and budgeting.
I look forward to feedback on what you are all doing to make evaluations part of your management practice, the lessons emerging from the Seminar on how we use it to strengthen the national evaluation system.
Have good deliberations, give it your full attention, and enjoy the Seminar.
Source: Government of South Africa