The Management of Professionally Qualified Persons in the Public Service An Overview:

by | Dec 11, 2009 | Public Service | 1 comment

An Overview:

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Understanding Organisation
3. The DPSA and Organisation
4. Types of Organisation
5. Cost and Pay : An organisational distraction
6. Organisation and Service Delivery
7. Organisation : The framework of governance and individual accountability
8. The Role of the Independent Professional Standards Authority in Managing Professional Human Resources
9. Organisational Governance, Authority and Accountability
10. Pay : The Reward for Contribution
11. Concluding Comment
12. References and Abbreviations

1. Introduction

This overview responds to the high levels of dissatisfaction shown by professionally qualified individuals in the public administration in South Africa arising from the translation of their existing conditions to the new Occupation Specific Dispensation or OSD framework.

The purpose of the OSD initiative was to revise salary and other employment condition structures as unique to each identified occupation in the public service. The information circular issued by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) on 12 June 2007, covers all the theoretical elements of a significant organisational restructuring, but the outcomes as experienced by the individuals involved are somewhat different to the expectations created.

The DPSA has published a number of guides to the organization and administration of Public Service Departments, but despite this, there seems to be a disconnection between these detailed guidelines, and what actually happens in the day-to-day running of the Public Service departments.

Whilst most of the guidelines published by the DPSA acknowledge Chapter 10 of the Constitution as the framework within which one must operate, unless the users of these guidelines understand both the ‘mechanics’ and ‘dynamics’ of organization structuring, they will simply default to the simpler mechanistic approach, which will limit the effectiveness of organisations.

2. Understanding Organisation

Organisation is the systematic planning of the relationship of jobs to one another in a decision system, to create a living social organism empowered to react to relevant environmental stimuli commonly referred to as operational circumstances.

Section 195 (1) (h) of the Constitution requires that “Good human-resource management and career-development practices, to maximise human potential, must be cultivated,”

However, the use of the word ‘good’ requires further analysis, as logical and transparent human resource management practices do exist to facilitate all the requirements of section 195, and in particular, the:

  • planning for the efficient, economic and effective use of human resources, based on the defined operational requirements of the organization;
  • definition of the role, status, duties, functions, responsibilities and accountabilities as the specific performance requirements of jobs within the organization, and
  • control of individual’s performance and accountabilities, against the job specific role, status, duties, and functions.

Consequently, the word ‘good’ must be understood to mean that as a governing principle, all relevant human resource management practices that facilitate creating organisations as living social organisms, are relevant.

If one applies imagination to the OSD information circular issued by the DPSA in June 2007, it would appear that it is the intention to create ‘living’ organizations, but unfortunately the distraction caused by the concerns around pay, as an element of organization, has totally over-shadowed the more critical issues that will ensure the delivery of professional services, through the effective functioning of all public service ‘occupations’, to the citizens of South Africa.

The determination of ‘pay’ is a concluding outcome of the organizational structuring process, but ‘pay’ is only one of a number of measurements that are used to validate the effectiveness of organisations.

Unfortunately, pay is the most tangible of all organisational measurements, and the most emotionally charged. Consequently when pay is, intentionally or unintentionally, elevated in the sequence of measurements, the other and more important measurements are often ignored and even forgotten.

3. The DPSA and Organisation

The following example of a ‘typical hierarchy’ is an extract from the DPSA Guide and Toolkit on Organisational Design (pg 9-12)

Graphic 1


The distinction between ‘production’ and ‘management’ appears to be a fairly well entrenched practice within the DPSA.

This distinction was formally implemented by the Policy on Senior Management Services [SMS] on 1 January 2001.

The following extracts from the reference materials (sourced and listed in section 11) expands on this distinction

Extract from the DPSA’s publication : Senior Management Handbook (2003) Foreword by the Minister of Public Service and Administration

It is the responsibility/task of our senior managers to convert the policy mandates of government into effective departmental strategies, plans and programs. It is their responsibility to ensure that resources – both material and human – are effectively used and accounted for in the pursuit of performance delivery.

Extract from the Education and Training Unit (ETU) publication : The Public Service

At the senior management level politicians tend to be more involved in appointments since they are held accountable for the performance of the managers. Checks and balances exist to safeguard against nepotism and corruption and proper and fair processes have to be followed to employ capable managers. Appointments at the level of national Director General and Deputy Directors General have to be approved by the President and Cabinet. Heads of provincial departments are approved by the Premier and provincial Cabinet. All other provincial SMS appointments are generally done with the approval of the relevant political head and ratified by Cabinet.

Whilst policy development is the responsibility of the legislature and executive, senior public service managers play an important advisory role.

The relationship between managers and politicians is guided by the Code of Conduct for the Public Service.

All employees of the Public Service, including managers are expected to be faithful and honour the Constitution in the execution of her or his daily tasks. The Public Service must put the public interest first and loyally execute the policies of the Government of the day, irrespective of which party is in power.

Extract from the DPSA’s publication : The Human Resource Development Strategy for the Public Service 2002 – 2006 (First Edition) pg 37

The Senior Management Service (SMS)

A study conducted into the senior management and professional echelons of the Public Service has found that the effectiveness of this group impacts on the overall ability of the Public Service to deliver on its mandate.

Significantly, the study revealed that although 70% of public servants are located in the provinces, 60% of senior managers are located in national departments. In essence this implies that provinces are “under-managed” and require additional high-level capacity.

To professionalize this critical echelon of the Public Service, Cabinet has endorsed the establishment of an SMS. This would include heads of departments (HoDs) and other senior managerial and technical executives of the Public Service. The SMS process will include distinguishing between managers and professionals, rigorous recruitment and selection systems, competency profiling of all new and current senior executives in relation to their jobs, performance assessment systems, training and development regimes, and flexible remuneration systems.

Extract from the DPSA’s publication : The Human Resource Development Strategy for the Public Service 2002 – 2006 (First Edition) pg 12

Keeping effective managers and people with scarce skills. The management cadre of the Public Service remains alarmingly small (0,4% of the entire Public Service) compared with the very broad base of production-level, skilled workers. To aggravate this even further, the distribution of senior managers is skewed between the national and provincial departments. Every effort must be made to retain people with identified scarce skills in the Public Service.

Competencies will be prescribed for management levels in line with the introduction of the senior management service. A team of experts is finalizing the profile of management competencies and these will eventually result in a set of prescribed management competencies. All managers will have to go through a competency assessment process to verify their mastery of the prescribed competencies.

In terms of this operational organization structure, the politicians and SMS are accountable for service delivery.

As a brief summary, the primary focus of the Senior Management Services group is:

‘to convert the policy mandates of government into effective departmental strategies, plans and programs’

As it appears that there is a significant amount of capacity building required within this group, accordingly this could be a contributing factor to the problems with service delivery.

4. Types of Organisation

In developing the various administration guides, the DPSA have consulted widely, locally and internationally.

However, regardless of all the rules and guidelines, effective organizations are ‘crafted’ around relevant operational requirements and circumstances.

The evaluation of organizations is on-going as we strive to match the reality of scarce resources to the growing demand for value adding outputs at increasing costs.

In this regard the Ethical Framework for Decision-making issued by the Western Cape Department of Health and coordinated by Prof. Solly Benatar, and Dr. Beth Engelbrecht, is an example of how individuals within organizations need to participate cooperatively within the decision-making process to maximize the benefits given the constraint of scarce resources and do so with accountability and transparency.

As organizations are living social organisms and people are the most flexible of all resources, they are the resource that has the most impact on the success or failure of organizations.

In the past the three academics who have had the most influence on the human resource implications of South African organizational development were Peter Drucker, Henry Mintzberg and Thomas Paterson.

Whilst ‘new thinking’ will always be part of organizational structuring, the reality that an organization is a living social organism will not change. Consequently, the on-going challenge is to develop individuals who are willing to act accountably towards one another for the common good of all stakeholders and beneficiaries of their services.

As the South African initiatives to transform the economy are based on Paterson’s thinking, this overview will focus on the frameworks that are linked to his work, and are also the basis of our Employment Equity, Skills Development and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Acts.

There are many theories and models of ‘how’ organizations should be structured and work, but the human influences to monitor progress towards the required outcomes and to intervene to correct problems when necessary, are far more important than any theories and models.

Consequently, organization structuring as the basis for determining individual’s levels of empowerment and accountability are critical to the understanding of organization and operational success requirements.

The IFAISA definition of accountability is:

Accountability is the obligation of those with power or authority to explain their performance and justify their decisions.

To illustrate the risks of imposing a theoretical organizational structure or model on operations, the following are the two extremes of a range of organization types.

1. The Administrative (‘mechanistic’) organization – (centralized decision making and control)

  • performance focused organizations;
  • simple and stable ‘production’ operating environment;
  • large-sized operational units;
  • centralized decision-making powers;
  • limited individual authority;
  • mature organization with settled standards of performance;
  • inflexible organization structure;
  • functional divisions as the basis for the grouping of work;
  • large volumes of repetitive (routine) work suited to standardization;
  • standardization of work processes is the basis of coordination and control;
  • proliferation of formalized rules, regulations, processes and communications;
  • elaborate administrative structures with sharp distinctions between line and staff functions;
  • supporting technical infrastructure systems used to regulate routine work practices and formalization;
  • management focus is mainly fine-tuning of operations and more efficient ways to produce required outputs

2. Professional (dynamic) Organisation – (decentralized decision making and control)

  • problem solving organization;
  • complex / dynamic operating environment;
  • required outputs cannot be predicted, made repetitive, and so standardized;
  • standards of professional performance originate outside operating organisations in self-governing professional associations;
  • professionals are registered with professional associations along with their colleagues across all operating organizations;
  • professional organizations rely on the standardization of skills (scope of practice) for coordination and control;
  • coordination and control also occurs between the operating professionals through the standardization of skills and knowledge i.e. by what they know to expect from their colleagues;
  • core operations are staffed with registered professionals who are in control of their outputs i.e. the freedom to act within their registered scope of practice;
  • professionals work independently of their colleagues, but closely with the clients they serve;
  • professional organisations emphasizes authority of a professional nature – the power of expertise (or sapiential authority);
  • strategies of the professional organisations are largely those of the individual professionals within the organization as well as those of the professional associations on the outside;
  • professional organisation strategies represent the cumulative effect over time of the projects, or strategic ‘initiatives’ that its members are able to undertake;
  • supporting technical infrastructure systems cannot be used to regulate work practices or facilitate automation of work;
  • professional organizations are driven by professional rules, standards and client needs;
  • change in the professional organisation is not caused by new administrators taking office and introducing reforms.
  • change occurs through the evolutionary process of changing the rules of entry to the profession, the creation of new knowledge, skills, norms and thereafter the willingness of all previously qualified professionals to continuously upgrade their skills.

Whilst the above sets of characteristics describe the two extremes of the range of common organization types, (but the most relevant to this overview) it is unlikely that the specific operational requirements of a professional public service department will permit the application of these characteristics on an either / or basis. The most likely structure will be a combination of these two and all other types of organisation.

However, the test of organizational effectiveness is not only the quality of the services delivered, but also the retention and growth of the critical human resource pool.
In this regard, the following is an extract from the DPSA’s publication : The Human Resource Development Strategy for the Public Service 2002 – 2006 (First Edition) pg 66

The Public Service is in a process of transition both in terms of services to be delivered, target groups and areas and of demographics of its personnel. Although the political, economical and social necessity of this transition is undisputed, one of the negative effects that are felt is a high turnover of staff, especially within the areas of management and highly skilled professionals like doctors, nurses, engineers, financial professionals, IT personnel and senior/middle management staff.

The combination of a negative perception of working conditions in the Public Service, a high demand for qualified professional staff in the private sector and growing international opportunities for skilled South Africans has seriously influenced the ability of the Public Service to attract and retain skilled and competent staff.

5. Cost and Pay : An organisational distraction

In addition to the theories and models of organization, the DPSA uses the Equate system of job evaluation as a major component of organization structuring. Whilst structuring around pay levels is not a recommended practice, it is an historical reality in the DPSA human resource administration practice.

In this regard, the following are extracts from the DPSA’s publication : Guide and Toolkit on Organisational Design,

pg 9-12

The current remuneration structure of the public service provides for 16 salary levels. This does not mean that all public service organisations should have 16 levels in the organisation hierarchy. Also, the fact that salary levels 13 to 16 represent the senior management level, does not necessarily mean that the organisation must have all levels of senior management in its hierarchy.

Pg 9-14

Job evaluation
The Public Service Regulations require that all newly created jobs should be subjected to a formal job evaluation process. This is to ensure that work of equal value is remunerated equally and to achieve a cost-effective work organisation. The MPSA has directed that the EQUATE Job Evaluation System be used for this purpose.

The following are further confirmations of the DPSA’s reliance on pay to differentiate jobs

Extract from the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council Resolution No. 13 of 1998 :
Agreement on Senior Management


2.1 In this agreement,

  • (a) a senior manager refers to an employee
    • (i) with a salary equivalent to the minimum of level 13 or higher, and
    • (ii) not designated as a professional
  • (b) an executing authority refers to the executing authority of a senior manager, or the delegate of that executing authority

Extract from the DPSA Circular 2 of 2008 : Improvement in Conditions of Service of Members of the Senior Management Services (SMS) : 1 September 2008

Determinations by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration

6. The Minister for the Public Service and Administration has determined the following in terms of section 3(5)(a) of the Public Service Act, 1994, as amended, read with the Public Service Regulations (Chapter 4, Part 4, Section B1):

6.1. A revised remuneration structure for full-time and part-time SMS members (Annexure A), aligned at 75% of the average market median, with effect from 1 September 2008 for SMS members on salary levels 13 to 16 who are employed in terms of the Public Service Act, 1994 and the Correctional services Act, 1998 (excluding Principal and Chief Medical/Dental Specialists appointed in terms of these Acts, and who are graded on salary levels 13 and 14 respectively)

6.3. Principal and Chief Medical/Dental Specialists referred to in sub-paragraph 6.1 are not translated, at this stage, to the revised SMS remuneration structure.

Position of Principal and Chief Medical/Dental Specialists graded on salary levels 13 and 14 respectively

12. The Minister for the Public Service and Administration has decided not to translate Principal and Chief Medical/Dental Specialists graded on salary levels 13 and 14 respectively to the revised SMS remuneration structure at this stage. The reason for the decision is that Principal and Chief Medical/Dental Specialists are to be accommodated in the occupational specific dispensation (OSD) for medical and dental staff.

13. Departments will be informed on developments in this regard.

To understand the implications of the Minister’s decision to accommodate the Principal and Chief Medical/Dental Specialists in the OSD for medical and dental staff, we need to look at the critical elements that relate not only to pay, but also the professional career path opportunities.

In this regard the following extract from the circular issued by: Department of Public Services and Administration on 12 June 2007 refers:

Why is government implementing the new occupation specific dispensation?

8. To improve government’s ability to attract and retain skilled employees, through improved remuneration. Currently, employees in the public service are remunerated by a single salary structure. This does not adequately address the diverse needs of occupational categories in the public service.

9. The revised salary structures will result in public servants receiving substantially higher salary increases, through putting in place proper career pathing models for public servants, recognising seniority and rewarding performance.

As far as attracting, developing and retaining professionally qualified staff is concerned, the career path models should not be structured for public servants, but rather for the growth and development best practice professional standards.

From the same circular the following paragraph shows a clear reliance on pay as an organizational tool.

6. The remuneration structure will provide for longer salary bands and substantial overlaps between salary levels to facilitate adequate salary progression to employees who choose to remain in the production levels instead of aspiring to move into the supervisory or specialist posts.

A further concern is that the OSD initiative is focused on the Public Service production levels i.e. up to job (salary) level 12, with Principal and Chief Medical/Dental Specialists although graded levels 13 and 14 respectively as exceptions.

All issues relating to the employment relationships of production level employees are negotiated through the collective bargaining process at the respective bargaining councils.

This process in itself is problematic, as individuals and their operational ‘managers’ will have their employment conditions negotiated within the same bargaining forum.

This problem has been recognised with the introduction of the Senior Management Service, and the SMS employment conditions are no longer negotiated at bargaining council level.

In effect, this has created a three tier public service structure, which may satisfy certain administrative requirements, but requires a critical evaluation of the impact on service delivery and the evolution of professional rules and standards.

The following is the graphical representation of this structure:

Graphic 2


6. Organisation and Service Delivery

Service delivery is a continuous decision-making process that starts at the policy making level (Minister) and flows down through the organisation to where Low Skilled Workers follow the instructions of their supervisors.

Understanding the cascading of the service delivery work process is critical, as it is the human resource audit trail (accountability levels) and consequently allows for the tracking of possible causes of delivery process problems.

Because the DPSA only deals with part of the delivery process Equate job levels 1 to 16, the only reference that can be used to expand on this critical understanding of the need to cover the full service delivery process, is the research commissioned by the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers published in their report in 2007.

The immediate value of this reference is that it offers a correlation table of the Equate, Peromnes and Task job evaluation systems to the basic Paterson Decision Levels.

This correlation is shown in Table 5 below and the Decision Levels are boxed in red


To comment on the relevance of Prof Paterson’s work, the use of Decision Levels as shown in Table 5 above as the basis for the planning and reporting frameworks, of the Employment Equity [EEA] and Skills Development [SDA] Acts and the accreditation process for Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment [BBBEE] should be sufficient proof that his work remains an integral component of South African transformation and organizational development processes.

The value of using Paterson’s work as the basis for organizational analysis is his recommended process approach to the measurement of internal equity and the correlations between the cost of jobs, the value that must be created and the required levels of authority/accountability.

Consequently, the past over-emphasis on pay as an organizational structuring tool despite being an initial ‘distraction’ the resulting organizational outcomes are not to be wasted. Existing pay levels can be used to reverse-engineer the structuring process to audit organizational effectiveness by comparing the current cost of individuals relative to the value that they should be creating. This ‘audit’ process will be used for the second part of this overview – which will be an evaluation of the impact of the Medical OSD on clinical governance.

7. Organisation : The framework of governance and individual accountability

As pay has been used as an organizational structuring tool, section 27 (1), (2), (3) and (4) of the EEA is of particular relevance:

27. Income differentials.–(1) Every designated employer, when reporting in terms of section 21 (1) and (2), must submit a statement, as prescribed, to the Employment Conditions of Commission established by section 59 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, on the remuneration and benefits received in each occupational category and level of that employer’s workforce.

(2) Where disproportionate income differentials are reflected in the statement contemplated in subsection (1), a designated employer must take measures to progressively reduce such differentials subject to guidance as may be given by the Minister as contemplated in subsection (4).

(3) The measures referred to in subsection (2) may include– a. collective bargaining; b. compliance with sectoral determinations made by the Minister in terms of section 51 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act; c. applying the norms and benchmarks set by the Employment Conditions Commission; d. relevant measures contained in skills development legislation;

(4) The Employment Conditions Commission must research and investigate norms and benchmarks for proportionate income differentials and advise the Minister on appropriate measures for reducing disproportional differentials.

Although this section deals with Income Differentials, it has a significant impact in influencing the correct approach to managing professionally qualified individuals. Consequently, the loose cliché ‘equal pay for equal work’ needs to be changed to mean ‘equal pay AND equal work opportunities’.

It is important to note that the type of organisation structure created, (see section 4. Types of Organisation) will have a critical impact on the work opportunities and consequently personal development opportunities of individuals.

In this regard, the DPSA practice of distinguishing between the Senior Management Services and Professionals requires further investigation, both from the perspectives of (a) the impact on service delivery and (b) career opportunities of professionally qualified individuals.

The term ‘pay’ is the reward earned by an individual for contributing value to the organisation.

To the employer ‘pay’ is the cost of buying the required performance capacity and/or competencies of the individual to perform the requirements of a job.

Consequently, a properly formulated job is the appropriate benchmark that is used to measure and compare the work opportunity offered by the employer, the level of authority required (freedom to act) and the accountability of individuals, to:

  • apply their relevant competencies in actual work assignments;
  • develop additional competencies through actual work experiences;
  • measure their actual performance against the requirements of the job;
  • identify the ‘gap’ between the job output requirements, the actual performance delivered;
  • determine any additional knowledge, skills and experience that may be required;
  • reward performance according to the value of the actual contribution delivered.

Graphic 3 below shows the ‘generic’ integration of the Paterson Decision Level framework and the requirements of section 27 of the EEA (Cost/Pay).

Note: The job titles used in this graphic are generic and will be corrected when the second part of the overview is done

Graphic 3

Note: Graphic 3 shows 7 Decision Levels as opposed to the 6 shown in Table 5 above. The reasons for this difference are known, and will be explained and demonstrated in the second part of this overview.

The value of Graphic 3 is to show:

  1. the Decision Process – Decision Levels from Policy through to Elements.
  2. the Decision System – used to describe the mix of administrative and professional decision-making requirements that will occur in a public service organisation

The arrangement of decisions in a hierarchy of levels of importance and increasing freedom from limitations (e.g. the decision of a shop floor operative is of lesser importance and more limited than that of the managing director) to enable reaction to operational circumstances, becomes the required operational decision process and system i.e. decision-making.

Obviously there cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ set of rules to determine optimal decision processes and systems. Operational circumstances dictate what decisions are required to satisfy the specific operational requirements.

Within one service delivery department, operational circumstances and scale may vary from one operating unit to another. Consequently, planning and control processes need to be sufficiently flexible to recognise this reality and adjust the organisational structuring processes accordingly.

There are many other factors that will impact on the way organisations, decision-making and jobs need to be structured. To attempt this critical element of service delivery without a logical and transparent framework as shown in Graphic 3, is simply not possible.

The DPSA Guide and Toolkit on Organisational Design deals with the ‘mechanics’ of organization comprehensively. This Guide also mentions the need for the flow of information through organizations, but not in any great detail.

The following are two relevant references indicating current thinking on decision-making in the Public Service

Extract from the DPSA’s publication : Senior Management Handbook (2003) Foreword by the Minister of Public Service and Administration

It is the responsibility/task of our senior managers to convert the policy mandates of government into effective departmental strategies, plans and programs. It is their responsibility to ensure that resources – both material and human – are effectively used and accounted for in the pursuit of performance delivery.

Extract from the Western Cape Department of Health – An Ethical Framework for Decision-making

The Western Province Department of Health has decided to embark on an explicit and accountable priority setting in health care and health expenditure. This document has been designed as an instrument to facilitate enhanced capacity in priority setting & dialogue amongst stakeholders/ decision-makers involved in Clinical Governance in the Province.

Accountability in the Western Cape Department of Health

The value placed on accountability recognizes that as an institution, we are “responsible for the commitments we make” and “accountable to our communities for human and fiscal resources entrusted to us.”

An important part of being publicly accountable is having ethical and effective decision-making processes. The Western Cape has adopted an ethical framework called ‘accountability for reasonableness’ to help decision-makers throughout the organization (Head Office, Central & Regional Hospitals, Clinical Units) set priorities and make decisions that are legitimate and fair.

If the DPSA’s approach is, as it suggests, a centralised top down delegation of authority, then individual’s authority (freedom to act) and accountability will depend on the ‘mechanistic’ rules of delegation – which may simply be to implement top management’s instructions.

If the WCDoH’s approach is, as it suggests, the decentralised client focused approach, within an agreed administrative framework, then an individual’s authority (freedom to act) and accountability is determined by the ‘healthy’ mix of competing professional scope of practice requirements and administrative constraints. This is the best decision-making option for the development of service delivery and best practice professional rules and standards.

Both of the above situations will impact not only on service delivery, but also the attractiveness of a profession within the public service, the management of professional staff and their willingness to remain in the service.

In essence it is what Peter Drucker aptly described, when he said “In fact, that management has a need for advanced education – as well as for systematic manager development – means only that management today has become an institution of our society”.

The logic and transparency offered by Graphic 3 above facilitates the specific determination of individual outputs, levels of authority / accountability and costs (pay), based on operational circumstances.

Most importantly it shows, that depending on operational circumstances and decision-making requirements, there should be no difference in opportunities to advance within the organization either through the administrative or professional structures. This aligns with the accepted practice that professional development is continuous throughout an individual’s career, and remaining career focused encourages professionals to contribute to developing sustainable professional best practices and standards.

8. The Role of the Independent Professional Standards Authority in Managing Professional Human Resources

The Graphic 4 below shows current organisation structuring practices of the DPSA as an overlay to Graphic 3 above.

The core components of organisation structure are:

Operational circumstance determinations;
Determination of authority / accountability levels;
Decision-making frameworks;
Job Structuring processes;
Infrastructure development
Performance support processes
It is generally accepted that it is the employer’s prerogative to structure their operational organisation according to their unique operational circumstances.

However, where employment opportunities have a critical impact on individual development, as is the case with professional career development, the core organisational components need to be linked to the rules and standards of the independent professional standards authority.

This is particularly relevant where the employer is a government.

Governments do change from time-to-time and consequently, they should not be able to impact improperly on the independence of the custodians of professional standards and career development processes.

Consequently, the impact of the implementation of the Senior Management Service on professional career path development opportunities must be evaluated, (see Graphic 4 above).

9. Organisational Governance, Authority and Accountability

Section 195 (1) of the Constitution lists the performance indicators and/or drivers that must govern public administration as follows:

195(1) Public administration must be governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including the following principles:
a. A high standard of professional ethics must be promoted and maintained.
b. Efficient, economic and effective use of resources must be promoted.
c. Public administration must be development-oriented.
d. Services must be provided impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias.
e. People’s needs must be responded to, and the public must be encouraged to participate in policymaking.
f. Public administration must be accountable.
g. Transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.
h. Good human-resource management and career-development practices, to maximise human potential, must be cultivated.
i. Public administration must be broadly representative of the South African people, with employment and personnel management practices based on ability, objectivity, fairness, and the need to redress the imbalances of the past to achieve broad representation.

These performance indicators will vary in terms of relevance and intensity, across the various Public Administration functions depending on the specific mandate and the nature of the service to be delivered.

Consequently section 195 (1) h Good human resource management and career-development practices to maximize human potential, must be cultivated – needs further examination.

The emphasis on job evaluation and job levels is concerning.

As can be seen in Table 5 above, the correlation of the different job evaluation systems can cause confusion, because of the lack of transparency and consequently logic – and every system claims to have advantages over the others.

Fortunately, Table 5 includes Decision Levels, which is the only reliable and transparent reference to ‘what’ can be expected from individuals at all levels within the organization.

In section 6. Organisation and Service Delivery (above) it is mentioned that service delivery is a continuous process of decision-making starting with Ministers who are empowered by the Constitution to make Policy decisions.

Graphic 3 shows how the work of Prof Paterson and his research colleagues can be applied to the cascading of subsequent decision-making levels down through the organisation.

In order to empower individuals to make decisions, there has to be an equivalent structure of levels of authority. This was another important area of contribution made by Paterson.

In brief, and in line with the scope of this overview, Paterson in his explanation of sources of authority mentioned that the authority delegated to a job within an organisation structure, is the weakest form of authority, and can be encumbered by the will of the individual delegating the authority. He also mentions that the stronger form of authority is that of expertise (or sapiential) authority, an authority that is normally associated with professionally qualified individuals.

The following is a further extract from the Western Cape Department of Health – An Ethical Framework for Decision-making

Decision-making challenges
Decision-making about how to allocate scarce resources – time, personnel, space, equipment, money – affects patients and their families. How we make these tough decisions says a lot about who we are as an organization. We owe it to the communities we serve to ensure that the decisions we make about how to use scarce resources are of the highest caliber.

Living the value of Accountability means developing decision-making processes that are both ethical and effective. It has repeatedly been found that if people know and understand why a particular decision was made, they will be more willing to accept the decision. This is particularly true if people feel that they have been a part of the decision-making process. Even though there may be disagreement about what the “right” decision should be, decisions can be acceptable if the decision making process itself is fair.

Why ‘Accountability for Reasonableness’?
‘Accountability for Reasonableness’ (A4R) is an ethical framework that describes the conditions of a fair decision-making process. It focuses on how decisions should be made and why these decisions are ethical.

In August 2007 with the support of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, and the UCT Bioethics Centre the Western Cape Department of Health adopted this ethical framework and identified a number of areas for improvement.

What’s next?
The next steps are to translate the ethical framework for wider use at all levels of decision-making in the organization (Head Office, Central & Regional Hospitals, Clinical Units), to progressively implement these processes, and to evaluate our success with follow-up case studies so that we keep improving our decision-making processes.

It is interesting to note that the next step of the Western Cape Department of Health initiative is to translate the ethical framework for wider use at all levels of decision-making in the organization.

Could this be a trigger to cause Health professionals and administrators to re-focus the emphasis of the troubled OSD towards the professional differentiation of jobs rather than the simplistic and emotional differentiation based on pay?

10. Pay : The Reward for Contribution

Regardless of the economic sector, if an employer uses pay as a strategy to retain employees, it will fail. The reason for this failure is that pay increases have limited life cycles, and as soon as individuals ‘live into’ a higher income level, they tend to look for more.

The situation with professionally qualified individuals is slightly different in that professionals do see their future returns as being cumulative and longer term. However, the longer term and the career path progression needs to be known.

Consequently, managing professionally qualified staff needs to be intentional, continuous and systematic and follow the pattern of a typical professional organization. Briefly this should include known and transparent:
stages and development opportunities;
work empowerment requirements (at the various stages);
formal recognition of progress made, not only by stage but also peer group recognition;
required operating competency monitoring and support;
rewards according progression of development and ability to contribute value.
Unfortunately the current state of public service delivery operating units has created pressures that makes it difficult to plan ‘neat’ and predictable career path development initiatives.

Consequently, the use of pay to recognize career path progress is an option but it must be linked to an independent formal professional career development process and recognition frameworks.

Graphic 3 above shows the generic development path of progression through the decision-making levels. It also shows a correlation to a progressive cost and pay structure.

As a typical professional’s development is cumulative over a defined number years, the pattern of direct and indirect rewards should follow the same progression. This is the principle of equity and the foundation of all South Africa’s economic transformation initiatives.

All professional associations have established rules of career path development. These rules need to be used to measure equity and to calculate the equivalent cost of professional competence at the various stages of development.

Employers of professionally qualified individuals need to be guided by the information offered by independent professional associations if there is to be a return to a commitment to professional rules, standards and individual accountability.

11. Concluding Comment

A generally accepted ‘rule of thumb’ is that the ultimate worth of any job is the employer’s ability to pay for it.

This may be acceptable in ‘delivery’ situations were the consequence of employer failure is not of national importance.

However, where the government is the employer, and has obligations, to deliver an essential service, and also to support the growth and development of professional expertise, the cost of supporting these obligations is not negotiable, the money must be found as a matter of priority in the discharge of government’s constitutional accountability under section 1 of the Constitution.

12. References and Abbreviations

The South African Constitution, 1996.
Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995
Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998
Public Service Act (Proclamation No. 103 of 1994)
Public Service Regulations, 2001
Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999
Public Finance Management Amendment Act 29 of 1999
The White Paper on the Transformation of the Public Service, 1995.
PSCBC : Resolution No. 1 of 2007
DPSA : Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) in the Public Service
DPSA : Guide and Toolkit on Organisational Design
DPSA : Batho Pele Handbook
DPSA : Policy on Senior Management Services
DPSA : Senior Management Handbook (2003)
DPSA : Equate : Guide on Job Evaluation
Education & Training Unit : The Public Service
DPSA : The Human Resource Development Strategy for the Public Service 2002 – 2006 (First Edition)
PSCBC : Resolution No. 13 of 1998 : Agreement on Senior Management
DPSA : Circular 2 of 2008 : Improvement in Conditions of Service of Members of the Senior Management Services (SMS) : 1 September 2008
Recommendations on the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers
WCDoH : An Ethical Framework for Decision-making
Mintzberg on Management : Mintzberg H
Management Theory : TT Paterson
Job Evaluation Volume 1 : TT Paterson
Pay: For Making Decisions Dr. TT Paterson (Professor Emeritus)

Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa
Department of Public Services and Administration
Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council
The Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers
Western Cape Department of Health
Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998
Skills Development Act 97 of 1998
Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003
Senior Management Services

Advocate Paul Hoffman SC
Daan Groeneveldt
December 2009

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