Monitoring and evaluation of training and development programmes within the office of the premier, KwaZulu-Natal province.
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The National Development Plan (NDP) highlights the need for a capable and developmental state. This capable and developmental state will be enabled by, inter alia, a professional public service that has internalised the developmental state agenda, and the development of technical and specialist skills. Section 195 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 outlines 10 principles governing public administration. These principles from the Constitution are largely linked to the development of a professional public service. The literature consulted by this study has raised a need for the training of administrators, and the role that can be played by the training initiatives in realising the envisaged NDP priorities and Constitutional mandates. The research had consulted numerous pieces of legislation at national and provincial levels that echoed the NDP and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996. The National School of Government (NSG) has the national mandate to provide training to the public service, and the Office of the Premier, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Public Service Training Academy (PPSTA) has the provincial mandate to provide this training to public servants. The PPSTA has been exceeding annual performance targets in terms of the number of public servants trained in the province over a number of financial years. This study explores the need for a subsequent phase, to measure whether the training provided by PPSTA has an impact to the trainees (public servants) and to the provincial departments. According to the Policy Framework for the Government-wide Monitoring and Evaluation of 2007 (M&E Framework of 2007) that informed the study, the outcomes assessment precedes impact assessment. The study hence conducted outcomes assessment and not impact assessment of training programmes provided by the PPSTA. The term ‘impact assessment’ has been “borrowed” by the study for ease of reference. It transpired in the literature and during the interactions with the respondents that the term ‘outcomes assessment’ was predominantly understood by established Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) practitioners and aspiring M&E practitioners. The respondents were familiar with the term ‘impact assessment’. In conducting the impact (outcomes) assessment, the study randomly sampled 7 out of the population of 14 provincial departments that had received training in the 4 chosen training programmes during the 2013/14 financial year. The 2013/14 financial year was chosen for the study, given the assumption that the department would have gained sufficient time to monitor and evaluate the impact (outcomes) of training in accordance with M&E Framework of 2007 v outcomes assessment and the Framework for Managing Performance Information of 2007 guidelines. A pragmatism paradigm was chosen by the study to allow for triangulation of quantitative and qualitative techniques through a mixed methods approach. The study discovered that the training programmes conducted by PPSTA could be generalised to have had a positive impact (outcome) to the trainee individual’s professional growth, and mainly impacted at the provincial department’s sub-directorate level. The study revealed that the impact (outcome) of training programmes were less impactful at the higher echelons of provincial departments such as the directorate, branch and organisational levels. The findings raised the need for discussions on further research projects on the alignment of training to the strategic objectives of the departments as stated by the Human Resource Development Strategic Framework for the Public Service Vision 2015 (Strategic Framework for HRD Vision 2015). The stance taken by the Strategic Framework for HRD Vision 2015 was that in order for an organisation to realise its strategic objectives, human capital must be trained and developed. Further, the organisations should be focussed on training and development investments than cutting or managing costs in order to attain organisational effectiveness. The narrative presented in this study raises the significance of training and development, the alignment of training to organisational strategic goals as well as measuring the effects of training and development programmes. The frameworks that inform the development of tools of measurement for the effects of training and development programmes are also highlighted.