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South Africa

Citizen-based monitoring (ZA0016)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: South Africa’s Third National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

Support Institution(s): South African Police Service, Department of Health, South African Social Security Agency; Good Governance Learning Network, Seriti Institute, Canadian International Development Agency, local community organisations specific to the government facilities were work is being done

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: South Africa Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo: Routine accountability mechanisms, particularly at the point of service delivery, are weak, with insufficient feedback from community and frontline staff in the mechanisms for allocating resources and setting targets and measuring performance.

Main objective: Support government departments to strengthen the citizen voice in monitoring service delivery.

Brief description: DPME will work with 3 service delivery departments to strengthen the voice of citizens in their monitoring and planning. DPME will provide a knowledge broker service w.r.t citizen based monitoring by hosting workshops and discussions with government and civil society partners, aimed at strengthening the voice of citizens in monitoring and planning.

Challenges: Civic Participation, Public Accountability, Technology and innovation for openness and accountability

Intended results: This commitment is relevant to :
(1) Civic Participation: The citizen-based monitoring model advanced by DPME includes developing a set of actions and commitments for addressing service delivery challenges. This is done through discussion groups made up of officials and community leaders/members and these commitment charters are further shared and refined at a public meeting. The model also includes reporting and accounting for progress to community forums such as ward committees, community police forums and other community structures.
(2) Public Accountability: The use of community surveys/audits of service delivery is a key part of the citizen-based monitoring method. These involve community members conducting the surveys and participating in the sense-making and feedback step.
(3) Technology and innovation for openness and accountability: An on-line reporting platform has been developed for capturing and reporting citizen feedback. This is in its early stages of development, but in its current iteration it provides a portal for producing citizen feedback reports. This system will evolve based on demand and use. Innovation is central to the evolution of the CBM method, with action learning cycles driving the process.

Ambition: The Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, a department in the Presidency is tasked to promote citizen-based monitoring (CBM) within government. The CBM programme supports the achievement of a Cabinet resolution (2013) that all departments that delivery services to the public must introduce citizen- based monitoring. Following an intensive two year action learning process with four service delivery departments and 34 government facilities (police stations, health facilities, grants offices and social welfare service points), DPME is now moving into a strategic support role to advance the routine use of citizen (and frontline staff) feedback and engagement to drive continuous improvement. The approach that DPME is following is to build capacity in selected service delivery departments through providing hands-on support to officials in service delivery departments to adapt and scale DPME’s 3-step CBM model (get feedback, use this feedback to develop commitments for improvements; monitor these commitment with civil society and community structures). This is aimed to progressively grow a cadre of officials and civil society participants who been part of developing the tools and knowledge of how to use feedback and community participation as a contribution to building capable and developmental state working in concert with an active citizenry. Improving the responsiveness of government is the key objective. DPME intends to host discussion that will bring government and civil society together to discuss planning and monitoring on an on-going basis.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. Strengthening Citizen-Based Monitoring

Commitment Text:

Routine accountability mechanisms, particularly at the point of service delivery, are weak, with insufficient feedback from community and frontline staff in the mechanisms for allocating resources and setting targets and measuring performance.

DPME will work with 3 service delivery departments to strengthen the voice of citizens in their monitoring and planning. DPME will provide a knowledge broker service with regard to citizen-based monitoring by hosting workshops and discussions with government and civil society partners, aimed at strengthening the voice of citizens in monitoring and planning.

Milestones: Citizen-based monitoring model implemented in nine police stations as a first wave of CBM in South African Police Service. Conference to share lessons, experience and shape discussion on citizen-based monitoring with government and civil society. Citizen-based monitoring toolkit and video published.

Responsible institution: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME)

Supporting institutions: South African Police Service, Department of Health, South African Social Security Agency

Start date: November 2015

End date: October 2016

Context and Objectives

Between 2011 and 2012, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) conducted more than 250 unannounced monitoring visits at frontline service sites and found several issues in public service delivery.[Note96: Public Service Commission Report on the Assessment of Public Participation Practices in the Public Services (Public Service Commission, 2008); The Presidency, Twenty Year Review, South Africa – 1994–2014 (Presidency, 2014); National Planning Commission, Vision 2030: National Development Plan (National Planning Commission, 2012).] In response to these findings, the South African Cabinet approved a policy framework to develop citizen-government partnerships for monitoring service delivery in 2013.[Note97: South African Cabinet Framework for Strengthening Citizen-Government Partnerships for Monitoring Frontline Service Delivery (August 2013) 3.] A national Citizen-Based Monitoring (CBM) process was developed and piloted in 2015 involving four service delivery departments and 34 government facilities (police stations, health facilities, and social welfare service points).

The CBM process is an eight-step process focused on establishing and engaging community partnerships, monitoring facilities through citizen feedback, reporting findings and identifying opportunities for improved public service delivery based on the findings.[Note98: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Citizen-based monitoring toolkit: Nkutlwe ke go utlwei (version 1, 2016) 7. ],[Note99: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Citizen-based monitoring toolkit: Nkutlwe ke go utlwei (version 1, 2016) 17 – 18. ] The DPME also established an online reporting platform for capturing citizen feedback for greater public participation. The broad dissemination of findings forms the basis for community members and a broader range of stakeholders (e.g. the media) to hold the service delivery department accountable.

This commitment aims to build from the initial pilot and implement the CBM process further in three government entities: South African Police Service, Department of Health, and South African Social Security Agency. This commitment expands the pilot program by increasing CBM implementation points, developing a CBM toolkit and video, and requiring the DPME to convene a government-civil society conference on CBM.

Strengthening the CBM advances the OGP values of civic participation in addressing service delivery challenges. Although this commitment has a clear intention at holding officials accountable, it is not relevant to public accountability without a specific mechanism that supports this accountability, which goes beyond providing information to citizens. The activities are clear, verifiable and measurable and thus of high specificity. If fully implemented, the CBM process strengthens government-citizen partnerships for monitoring and improving frontline service delivery in the specified areas. However, civil society representatives regarded the DPME’s facilitative role and the uptake by service departments as a minor step forward, as the commitment remains limited in scale and scope. Ms Lynette Maart, National Director of Black Sash, for example, stated that the central critique from civil society was that the milestones only focused on the police.[Note100: Ms Lynette Maart, National Director, Black Sash, interview with IRM researcher, 21 September 2017.] Ms Nontando Ngamlama, Executive Director of Afesis Corplan, said that the commitment was not as innovative or transformative as it could have been as it captured what the DPME was already planning to do.[Note101: Ms Nontando Ngamlama, Executive Director, Afesis Corplan, interview with IRM researcher, 18 September 2017.]

Completion

All the activities under this commitment have been completed on time.

As of September 2017, the CBM model had been implemented in 17 police stations.[Note102: Mr Jonathan Timm, Director: Citizen-based Monitoring, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, interview with IRM researcher, 6 September 2017. ] Civil society actors observed that implementation occurred in sites that were easy to pilot, in police stations that were already well-resourced and where crime levels were low.[Note103: Ms Nontando Ngamlama, Executive Director, Afesis Corplan, interview with IRM researcher, 18 September 2017. ] The DPME has also worked with Making All Voices Count (MAVC) to implement Community-Based Monitoring[Note104: The reference to Community-Based Monitoring here is intentional – reflecting a broader ambit of potential voices, inclusive of residents and refugees. ] in 20 service points of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).[Note105: 'Citizen-Based Monitoring of Government Services', Black Sash, https://www.blacksash.org.za/index.php/sash-in-action/2017-07-09-15-09-47/making-all-voices-count’; Ms Lynette Maart, National Director, Black Sash, interview with IRM researcher, 21 September 2017. ] MAVC is a project coordinated by the non-governmental organisation Black Sash in partnership with 20 community-based organisations.[Note106: Ms Lynette Maart, National Director, Black Sash, interview with IRM researcher, 21 September 2017. For a list of the community partners of the Making All Voices Count project see 'Community Partners', Community-Based Monitoring, https://cbm.code4sa.org/partners. ] The implementation of the CBM model in the health sector did not proceed as well, with the DPME’s process with the Mpumalanga Department of Health not proceeding beyond the pilot sample of a community health centre and 10 clinics.[Note107: Mr Jonathan Timm, Director: Citizen-based Monitoring, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, interview with IRM researcher, 6 September 2017.]

The DPME convened an ‘Advancing Citizen-Based Monitoring Workshop’, which took place from 20–21 September 2016 in Johannesburg. 83 participants attended the workshop, including government departments and agencies (DPME, SASSA, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs), and civil society organisations representing a broad range of issues and class interests.[Note108: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation ‘Attendance register: Advancing Citizen-based Monitoring Workshop, Protea Hotel, OR Tambo, Gauteng, 20 – 21 September 2016’. ] The workshop explored three inter-related themes. The CSO Black Sash presented on opportunities under the third action plan and envisioning the fourth action plan. The DPME discussed the role that government departments should play in advancing the participation of citizens in monitoring, while Code4SA, another CSO, provided information about the opportunities for technology-enabled accountability.[Note109: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation ‘Invitation: Two-day workshop: Advancing Citizen-Based Monitoring’. From stakeholder interviews it appears that a technology-enabled component was not initially envisaged as part of the commitment. ] Although the workshop was interesting, stakeholders wanted to understand ‘who defines what CBM looks like’.[Note110: Ms Deborah Byrne, Country Engagement Developer, Making All Voices Count, interview with IRM researcher, 18 September 2017.] Deborah Byrne, Country Engagement Director at Hivos for Making All Voices Count, said, ‘Across this whole question of OGP, SDGs, APRM—the thing that pains me to watch is that all these organisations repeat the same problem. [There is] so much emphasis on process and mechanisms and never getting to the substance of the issues and addressing the concerns of communities.’[Note111: Ms Deborah Byrne, Country Engagement Developer, Making All Voices Count, interview with IRM researcher, 18 September 2017.] It is unclear whether CBM is a broad church encompassing other social audit methodologies, or even forms of grassroots community.

The DPME published the CBM Toolkit in 2016 and it is available on their website.[Note112: CBM Publications 2015 – 2016, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, http://www.dpme.gov.za/keyfocusareas/cbmSite/Pages/CBM-Publications-2015-2016.aspx.%5D The DPME also produced a CBM video, which was made available to the IRM researcher. The video and toolkit contextualise the CBM initiative and provide a step-by-step overview of three core elements of the model, namely gathering citizen feedback through the use of surveys (what people think of the service); responding (interpretation of the results with a view to determining service improvements); and sharing and monitoring proposed changes.

Stakeholders observed that this commitment had been well-championed, and that although the commitment was not as ambitious as it could have been, the DPME had demonstrated a real willingness to engage with civil society.[Note113: Ms Deborah Byrne, Country Engagement Developer, Making All Voices Count, interview with IRM researcher, 18 September 2017; Ms Nontando Ngamlama, Executive Director, Afesis Corplan, interview with IRM researcher, 18 September 2017.]

Early Results

The CBM model has gained traction within the highly hierarchical structure of the South African Police Services (SAPS). The DPME and the SAPS convened a workshop in late July 2017 to review the effectiveness of the CBM model piloted in eight police stations by March 2017.[Note114: Mr Jonathan Timm, Director: Citizen-based Monitoring, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, interview with IRM researcher, 6 September 2017.] All participants agreed that the CBM model had value and that it should be rolled out to other police stations using the SAPS cluster model, pending approval by the SAPS National Executive.[Note115: Mr Jonathan Timm, Director: Citizen-based Monitoring, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, interview with IRM researcher, 6 September 2017.] Participants identified improved relations between the police and the community, increased levels of crime reporting, and a problem-solving approach to addressing challenges as positive impacts associated with implementation of the CBM model.[Note116: Mr Jonathan Timm, Director: Citizen-based Monitoring, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, interview with IRM researcher, 6 September 2017.] At the targeted sites of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), the perception is that the CBM model works and could be scaled up to more sites in partnership with grassroots Community-Based Organisations (CBOs).[Note117: Ms Lynette Maart, National Director, Black Sash, interview with IRM researcher, 21 September 2017.]

Next Steps

In general, stakeholders supported the further development of this commitment in the next action plan.[Note118: Ms Deborah Byrne, Country Engagement Developer, Making All Voices Count, interview with IRM researcher, 18 September 2017; Ms Nontando Ngamlama, Executive Director, Afesis Corplan, interview with IRM researcher, 18 September 2017; Ms Lynette Maart, National Director, Black Sash, interview with IRM researcher, 21 September 2017.] Ms Lynnette Maart, National Director of Black Sash, for example, suggested scaling up Community-Based Monitoring at sites of the South Africa Social Security Agency (SASSA), coupled with a monitoring or auditing tool that assesses the effectiveness of the model and tracks substantive improvements.[Note119: Ms Lynette Maart, National Director, Black Sash, interview with IRM researcher, 21 September 2017.]

For the next action plan the IRM researcher recommends:

· The next OGP action plan could extend and deepen civic participation in monitoring police services. Such commitment could contribute positively to improving personal safety in South Africa, which was the lowest scoring indicator of good governance according to the 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance.[Note120: Mo Ibrahim Foundation A Decade of African Governance 2006 – 2015 (2016) 276.] The DPME and South African Police Services (SAPS) focus on the national scale roll-out of the CBM model in police stations following the SAPS National Executive’s approval.

· The DPME, in cooperation with civil society actors, monitors the implementation of CBM at 20–30 SASSA sites to track improvements over time.

· The DPME identifies additional sites for implementing the CBM model at health facilities.

· The DPME continues improving and refining the CBM model by collaborating with civil society actors who have developed online survey tools.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

1. Strengthening citizen-based monitoring

Commitment Text:

Routine accountability mechanisms, particularly at the point of service delivery, are weak, with insufficient feedback from community and frontline staff in the mechanisms for allocating resources and setting targets and measuring performance.

 

DPME will work with 3 service delivery departments to strengthen the voice of citizens in their monitoring and planning. DPME will provide a knowledge broker service with regard to citizen-based monitoring by hosting workshops and discussions with government and civil society partners, aimed at strengthening the voice of citizens in monitoring and planning.

Milestones: Citizen-based monitoring model implemented in nine police stations as a first wave of CBM in South African Police Service. Conference to share lessons, experience and shape discussion on citizen-based monitoring with government and civil society. Citizen based monitoring toolkit and video published.

Responsible Institution: Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME)

Supporting Institutions: South African Police Service, Department of Health, South African Social Security Agency

Start Date: November 2015

End Date: October 2016

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to improve public service delivery at the sites of three government entities: The South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Health, and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), by implementing a Citizen-Based Monitoring (CBM) Process. Specifically, the commitment planned to increase CBM implementation points, develop a CBM toolkit and video, and require the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) to convene a government-civil society CBM conference.

Status

Midterm: Complete

This commitment was completed by the midterm. At that time, the DPME had implemented the CBM model in 17 police stations, 20 service points of the SASSA (in partnership with Making All Voices Count, a project coordinated by the NGO Black Sash in partnership with 20 community-based organisations), and a pilot sample of health facilities in the province of Mpumalanga (in partnership with the Mpumalanga Department of Health). The DPME convened an ‘Advancing Citizen-Based Monitoring Workshop’ on 20–21 September 2016 in Johannesburg, published a CBM Toolkit, and produced a CBM video.[1]

By October 2018, the national executive of the SAPS had not yet decided on a national roll-out of the CBM model, and staff changes at the National Commissioner’s office meant that the champions of the project no longer occupied the same positions.[2] Similarly, there has been no decision on the part of national health authorities to extend the roll-out of CBM to other health facilities following the pilot in Mpumalanga.[3]

Through the work of Black Sash, however, CBM has helped transform the payment system at SASSA service points,[4] along with service delivery at a couple of local government service points and health facilities. Black Sash maintains a dedicated website for CBM[5] which includes information on CBM resources (including the DPME’s Citizen-Based Monitoring Toolkit), details of 54 CBM sites,[6] details of 43 community partners,[7] and the results of CBM surveys undertaken at various CBM sites from June 2015 to May 2018.[8] The goal is to survey at least 300 participants at each site, with data gathered by trained monitors and captured on a central database.[9] Findings are reported to the facility and its users and serve as the basis for dialogue to develop an improvement plan to address concerns.[10]

Did It Open Government?

Civic Participation: Marginal

At the start of the implementation period, CBM had been piloted in four service delivery departments and 34 government facilities, including police stations, health facilities and SASSA sites.[11] By the end of action plan, CBM has gained traction in the social security sector, where it is being used to improve service delivery, in addition to providing feedback on policy decisions such as transitioning payment systems for social security grants.

For service delivery improvements at SASSA sites, the CBM tool provides the government, civil society and the public with invaluable information on the types of grants for which people are applying at a facility, service preferences (e.g. whether the grant applicant would switch to another method of payment), methods of accessing payment facilities (distance from service point as well as time and cost of travel), the quality of facilities (e.g. adequate toilet facilities and safety at the paypoint), the quality of service (e.g. time queuing), and possible corruption (e.g. whether anyone had asked the grant applicant for money or a favour).[12]

However, the CBM methodology has not yet improved civic participation in health facilities, and early indications for a broad-scale adoption of CBM on the part of the SAPS have not materialised.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing this report (September 2018), the South African government has not finished its next action plan. To build on the momentum of CBM at SASSA service points, the next action plan could include a commitment to extend CBM monitoring to an additional 20 – 30 SASSA sites to track improvements over time, alongside extending this model to more local government service points, health facilities and stations of the SAPS.

[1] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): South Africa Progress Report 2016 – 2018, 29 – 30, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/South-Africa_MidTerm-Report_2016-2018.pdf.

[2] Jonathan Timm (Director: Citizen-Based Monitoring, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation), email correspondence with IRM researcher, 3 October 2018.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Black Sash, ‘Community-based Monitoring’, https://cbm.blacksash.org.za

[6] Black Sash, ‘Community-based Monitoring: Sites’, https://cbm.blacksash.org.za/sites

[7] Black Sash, Community-based Monitoring: Community Partners’, https://cbm.blacksash.org.za/partners

[8] See the links at Black Sash, ‘Community-based Monitoring: Sites’, https://cbm.blacksash.org.za/sites

[9] Black Sash, ‘Community-based Monitoring: Sites: About Community-based Monitoring’, https://cbm.blacksash.org.za/learn-about-cbm

[10] Ibid.

[11] Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): South Africa Progress Report 2016 – 2018, 29, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/South-Africa_MidTerm-Report_2016-2018.pdf.

[12] See, for example, the survey results for the JHB Metro SASSA paypoint, https://cbm.blacksash.org.za/sites/taaibos/results/96


South Africa's Commitments

  1. Citizen-based monitoring

    ZA0016, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Open Budgeting

    ZA0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  3. Back to Basics Programme

    ZA0018, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  4. Environmental management information Portal

    ZA0019, 2016, E-Government

  5. Institutionalisation of Community Advice Offices as part of the wider Justice network

    ZA0020, 2016, Capacity Building

  6. Department of Public Service and Administration

    ZA0021, 2016, Open Data

  7. OGP Awareness Raising Campaign

    ZA0022, 2016, E-Government

  8. Implement the G20 high Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency 2. Implement a register of legal persons and arrangements

    ZA0023, 2016, Beneficial Ownership

  9. Develop and implement an Accountability/Consequences Management Framework for public servants

    ZA0009, 2013, Conflicts of Interest

  10. Service Delivery Improvement Forums (SDIFs)

    ZA0010, 2013, E-Government

  11. Mainstream Citizen Participation in the Public Sector

    ZA0011, 2013, Capacity Building

  12. Develop an integrated and publicly accessible portal of environmental management information

    ZA0012, 2013, Environment and Climate

  13. Development of an on-line crowdsourcing tool that will allow the public to submit data on protected areas and conservation areas.

    ZA0013, 2013, Environment and Climate

  14. Schools Connectivity

    ZA0014, 2013, Education

  15. Implement a Know Your Service Rights and Responsibilities Campaign

    ZA0015, 2013, Capacity Building

  16. Accountability/ Consequences Management Framework

    ZA0001, 2012, Conflicts of Interest

  17. Service Delivery Improvement Forums

    ZA0002, 2012, Public Participation

  18. Know Your Service Rights and Responsibilities

    ZA0003, 2012, Capacity Building

  19. National Anti-Corruption Forum and Anti-Corruption Hotline

    ZA0004, 2012, Capacity Building

  20. Guidelines for Corruption-Related Sanctions

    ZA0005, 2012, Capacity Building

  21. Develop a Citizen Participation Guideline

    ZA0006, 2012, Capacity Building

  22. Enhance Involvement of Civil Society in the Budget Process

    ZA0007, 2012, E-Government

  23. Environmental Management Portal Feasibility Study

    ZA0008, 2012, E-Government