Monitoring and evaluation systems enhancing corporate governance in local government : a case study of KwaZulu-Natal.
The study focuses on the effects of Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E) on corporate governance in municipalities in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It considers the strategic and tactical perspectives of M & E systems in Local government due to South Africa having not fully implemented the Government Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System (GWMES), while the provinces have implemented the Province Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System (PWMES) which are different to each other and not aligned to the GWMES. Municipalities have not progressed to the level of implementing a systemic and holistic Municipal Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System (MWMES) to enhance governance and focus on the management of programmes and projects within various departments and units thus undertaking M & E functions in a fragmented manner. While there is Voluminous literature on country wide, programme, policy and project M & E there is a dearth of information documented on systemic MWMES. Therefore the study reviews the existing literature and adapts it to recommend guidelines and models for the planning, implementation and sustaining of MWMES. The current state of the municipalities‟ performance and M & E activities are influenced inter alia by the historic, institutional, financial, human resources, capital, leadership and M & E specialist skills. Historically, Local Government was structured according to the apartheid principles which marginalised the previously disadvantaged race groups, created unsustainable local service delivery institutions and service delivery backlogs. The new government instituted a radical transformation of the public sector but was still straddled with these challenges and did not possess the capacity and financial resources to immediately rehabilitate the inequitable service delivery. During the transformation process, citizens were also informed of their rights to basic services and demanded more and better quality services. The communities dissatisfaction with level of service delivery led to service delivery protests in many municipalities that are faced with unskilled and inexperienced staff; political interference; misaligned organisational structure; poor financial management; and poor performance culture. Collectively, these challenges led to poor service delivery and governance requiring the National and Provincial Governments to intervene to protect the legitimacy of Local Government thus creating a demand for M & E systems. Councillors, Provincial and National Governments; and communities are the main stakeholders that create the demand for M & E systems in municipalities. The inclusion of the following instruments, namely, IDP; SDBIP; operational plans; annual budgets; legislation; and incentives in the M & E system would enhance corporate governance. There is a lack of incentives from both National and Provincial Governments for municipalities to implement an M & E system and to pursue excellence. The lack of incentives to implement an M & E system could be the key factor for not implementing an M & E system although majority of the municipalities are currently in a position to plan and implement an M & E system. The main challenges faced by the municipalities to implement an M & E system are the lack of M & E specialists; statistical skills; and evaluation capacity development. The National and Provincial Governments, through their oversight roles could support and capacitate the municipalities to overcome these challenges. In conducting their oversight roles in managing the performance of the municipalities, both the National and Provincial Governments interventions were ineffective, although the Provincial Government performed better than the National Government in this regard. Monitoring and Evaluation systems improve corporate governance through aiding better service delivery; achievement of strategic goals; decision making; financial management; and accountability. The effects of M & E on capacity development are the placement of competent staff; training and motivation of staff; better resource allocation; and participation of all the stakeholders. While there are no incentives for municipalities to achieve excellence, a systemic M & E system should be used as an alternate performance measurement tool to the Balanced Scorecard to pursue excellence in municipalities. The initial intervention of the National Government was to enact legislation that mandated every state department and organ of state to implement an M &. The Treasury drove the process and focussed mainly on compliance, rather than both M & E, by utilising the logical framework comprising of inputs; activities; outputs; outcomes; and impacts. The components of the logical framework are hierarchical resulting in a linear relationship among the components. The logical framework has limited capacity to explain the multi-faceted causal relationships among the numerous transactions and entities that interact and are interrelated in the municipal environments. The study recognises the municipality as a complex adaptive system and to overcome the limitations of the Logical Framework a Systemic Performance Analysis Model (SPAM) is proposed where the components of performance are viewed as interdependent and interrelated subsystems that are linked by transfer of knowledge and feedback. Monitoring and Evaluation initiatives have been criticised for their complexity and misalignment between the GWMES, PWMES and the current municipal M & E activities. The study proposes the Monitoring and Evaluation Alignment Model (MEAM) that clarifies interrelationships among the different municipal environments, namely, the common factor of the three spheres of government; organisational factors required for the planning and implementation of an M &; factors required to institutionalise the M & E system; and impacts of the M & E system. The MEAM recognises the municipality as a complex adaptive system; uses a systemic approach for the implementation of an M &; and provides a bird‟s eye view of the micro and macro public management systems environment. Public and private institutions undertake the generic management functions, namely, planning, organising, leading and controlling to achieve its objectives. Monitoring and Evaluation is considered a higher order management function since it analyses the effectiveness and efficiency with which the organisation undertakes its generic management function. The study proposes the Municipal Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System Model (MWMESM) which incorporates the boundaries, perspectives and interactions between the various systems; among the systems and subsystems; among the subsystems itself; and with the municipal environments. The systems and sub-systems within the municipality should create its own Monitoring and Evaluation System (MES). The information from the individual MESs is combined to create a Political Monitoring and Evaluation System (PMES) and an Administrative Monitoring and Evaluation System (AMES). Information from the PMES and the AMES is incorporated into the Municipal Performance Management Information System (MPMIS) to generate performance reports. The performance reports are submitted to the relevant parties and feedback is captured in the MPMIS. Due to the absence of MWMES in the KwaZulu-Natal municipalities and the poor performance of municipalities, the study proposes a process for planning and implementation of a systemic MWMES. Since each municipality is unique in terms of size, demographics, organisational culture, socio-economic development, financial viability and political and administrative leadership, the process should be adapted to suite its particular circumstances. Municipalities in KZN have qualified and experienced senor administrative staff who understand the importance of M & E as a management tool to improve corporate governance and performance of the municipality in pursuit of excellence. There is a great and sustainable demand for M & E systems with a large number of municipalities ready to plan and implement M & E systems. Many municipalities require the National and Provincial Governments to support, capacitate and guide its efforts in implementing M & E systems. Therefore it is incumbent on the National and Provincial Governments, as part of their oversight roles, to provide the necessary leadership and resources to the municipalities for the enhancement of corporate governance through M & E systems.