H rd strategy Resource Pack: Part 2


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Cover page


Human Resource Strategy

For the Public Service

Review Report

HRD Strategy Resource Pack: Part 2
FOREWORD BY MINISTER

Sterling efforts have been made by HRD practitioners and all the stakeholders in the HRD community to implement the provisions of the HRD strategy for the Public Service 2002-2006. This effort has had its rewards in the progress we have now come to understand and appreciate. Though we still face challenges in our evolution to perfection, we have much to celebrate.
This report represents the input and the rich ideas which have been provided by HRD practitioners and stakeholders in the review of the HRDS 2002-2006. In this respect, our haunch was correct. We believed that the best way to move forward with a revised strategy was to solicit the input of those who sought to implement the initial strategy and thereby transform their departments through HRD. We received much more than we anticipated. Participants in the review process were open with their ideas, creative in their approach to perennial issues and detailed in their attempts to represent existing challenges and craft creative solutions to the issue we confront.
The report seeks to honour the spirit which information was provided. It presents a detailed and honest overview of findings, and, using the contributions of those who participated in the process, it seeks to construct a comprehensive and cohesive approach for moving forward. I wish to present this report to you in a spirit of openness and collegiality, so that we, together, could find solutions to the challenges we confront. HRD in the Public Service is critical to the development of the nation and the welfare of our people. Without the competence and commitment of our public officials, services cannot be delivered effectively and the backlogs which forestall our progress will not be reduced. HRD in the Public Service, therefore, is our collective responsibility. We are all affected by its outcomes.
While we have used this report to develop a comprehensive HRD Strategic Framework and a structure and process to facilitate its implementation, this is not the end. The success of the strategy will depend on those who are at the coalface of implementation. The outcomes of the contributions that our colleagues have made in this report will be seen, not in plans and programmes to be adopted, but in the realisation through the Public Service of a better life for all.

The Hon. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi

MINISTER FOR PUBLIC SERVICE & ADMINISTRATION

OVERVIEW
The initial HRD Strategy of the Public Service was published in April 2002 with an implementation period which expanded between 2002 and 2006. This period ended and the need for a revised strategy was seen to be most critical.
As a first phase in developing a revised Strategic Framework for human resource development, the DPSA undertook a national stakeholder review process which sought to assess the impact of the HRD Strategy of 2002, and which sought to solicit ideas for developing and successfully implementing a revised HRD for 2007 forward. The stakeholder review processed through a series of 9 regional workshops which, through participation and interaction, generated a rich base of data to guide and inform the revised HRD Strategy. The input covered perceptions regarding the gains that have been made in the field, the challenges which exist, and the manner in which some of these challenges could be mediated. Overall, there was a total of 260 participants in these workshops. But, in addition to 37 individual interviews that were conducted, the sum total of all respondents was 297. While the majority of respondents were HRD practitioners in National and Provincial Government Departments, the sample also included Universities, Private Providers, Members of Organized Labour, SETAs and Research Institutions.
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS FROM THE REVIEW PROCESS
Human Resource Development in the Public Service is an ongoing state of evolution which accounts for some of the challenges which still affect practice in the field. While some Departments, because of inherent historical advantages, have progressed well in creating effective infrastructure for capacity development, others which may not have been as well resourced still face challenges in meeting capacity development demands.
In spite of this, HRD as a field has moved significantly forward. This movement forward cannot be solely attributed to the HRDS 2002-2006. The overall development of the policy frameworks and accountability structures of Government has had significant spillover effects on the growth, efficiency and performance of HRD. As the field moves ahead at different rates, HRD still struggles to find meaning and stability in the Public Service. Challenges still exist, but these challenges cannot over shadow the gains which have been made.
FINDINGS
Overall, there is a sense that HRD in the Public Sector has moved significantly forward. Practitioners in the field are generally more capable; HRD planning and management is a bit more needs-based and outcomes-oriented, but not sufficiently so; the policy framework is more thorough and facilitative of transformation, and, among others, there is a wider range of training options and more access to training.

The extent to which education and training leads to improved performance and enhanced service delivery is still subject to question. In essence, there is a general view that, in spite of progress in the field, capacity building in the Public Service has only just begun to make in-roads on performance and service delivery. The limited progress observed has resulted from some of the traditional challenges in HRD which still persist. These challenges are reviewed below in terms of the typical areas in which these challenges have traditionally arisen.
Policy Frameworks

On the whole, the policy framework for HRD in the Public Service is well advanced. There is guidance on the general operational issues which affect performance. However, gaps still exist at a more practical and institutional level. There is lack of uniformity in strategies and plans; training expenditures are not properly monitored; and there is little follow through to link training and performance, for instance. Further policy refinement is needed at the level of institutions. But even more critical in this context, is the general feeling that policies and strategies are well prepared but rarely implemented. There is a sense that our policy sophistication is not properly honoured in terms of service delivery and performance.
Organizational Structures

Organizational structures for HRD differ widely. Most HRD units are still placed low in the organizational hierarchy, and are not given priority in the strategic conversations of many Departments. HRD units are still generally under-staffed, operations are still generally fragmented; and the framework of responsibilities in HRD is still diverse and generally incoherent.
There are, for instance, still gaps between HRD, HRM and PMDS; and the range of responsibilities undertaken by HRD units differ widely across Departments nationally.
Quality of Training

The quality of training, overall, has improved because of SAQA unit standards, the initiatives of SAMDI, and the emergence of partnership arrangements with service providers. More learnerships, internships and bursaries are available, and there is an increased use of mentoring and coaching. But standards vary. There are still issues in terms of the workplace relevance of training content and the unavailability of a diverse base of qualified trainers. Increasingly, competency frameworks are being used as a basis for planning training and as a source of input for assessing the competencies of employees. But even here, these competency frameworks are not yet articulated into clear performance standards, requirements and contracts.
Planning and Management

Generally, HRD is more effectively planned and managed. Planning has improved because of the requirement of WSPs and because of the increased scrutiny of the WPSs, by the respective SETAs. But the overall accountability requirements of Government have also caused progress in this regard. More use is made of skills audits and needs assessments as a basis for planning, and more attention is given to the strategic requirements of the organization. This, however, is not generally practiced. Training is still not linked to PDPs, and learnerships, though more available, are not always well managed. Again, the issue is not policies and strategies, but the extent to which these are successfully implemented.
Funding and Resources

With the SDA, more funds are generally available for training. But, full allocation of funds is sometimes not used because of procurement hurdles, among other challenges. Many believe that funds could be more effectively and more strategically utilized for training purposes. In some jurisdictions, the need is so great, that funding is still not sufficient even with the significant increases in the level of funding. In other entities, there are complaints that skills development funds are sometimes utilized for use in non-training activities.
Status and Priority

The status of HRD and the priority given to HRD initiatives are still generally low. Many managers do not seem to take their HRD responsibilities seriously, and many senior managers are perceived to be unsupportive of HRD initiatives. Although there is generally an increased sense by all concerned that HRD is critical to organizational performance, the sentiment and perception are sometimes not reflected in practice and in the level of consideration afforded to HRD units of the organization.
Accessibility

Training is generally more accessible to all levels in the organization, although there are a few exceptions. Training is still not as accessible in the rural areas because of the increased cost of delivery, the lack of training providers and in some cases, the unavailability of facilities. In many cases, the right people do not attend the training programmes offered. Here, the issue is the extent to which training resources are managed in a manner to meet transformational priorities. Since meeting these priorities pose more challenges in delivery, the course of least resistance is sometimes taken.
Governance

Although the appropriate structures are in place, National governance arrangements to drive the HRD strategic agenda have been lacking. While some of this is due to lack of staff a larger part of the issue is the lack of well defined and communicated governance arrangements.
While the objectives have been set, effective resources have not been in place to drive the HRD agenda through effective support, properly planned monitoring and evaluation and the establishment of clear accountability structures. Governance has not been sufficiently deep so that responsibilities are properly differentiated and articulated at all levels of government. It has not filtered through National bodies to the respective points of action provincially, institutionally and locally.
Meaning

The meaning of HRD differs among HRD professionals and among managers in the respective Departments. While some see HRD in a broader and holistic sense as an investment in human capital to meet the organization’s strategic agenda, others see HRD as merely training that is delinked from its effect on performance and productivity. The perception of HRD is reflected in the manner in which it is organized, orchestrated and perceived in public organizations.
While the field has progressed, and while much benefit has accrued, there is still some room for improvement. Provinces and Departments have progressed at different rates depending on the level to which capacity was inherited. This HRD strategy must therefore take account of these inherent differences and must respond in a manner that does not further disadvantage those that are lagging behind. The greatest room for improvement is in terms of the lack of continuity between policy provision and strategic prioritization, and the level of success in implementation and its outcomes in terms of enhanced performance and service delivery.
CONCLUSION
The stakeholder review process provided a rich base of valuable information which enriches and informs the design of the new Strategic Framework for HRD for the Public Service. The value of the review exercise could only be truly determined in the context and focus of the Strategic Framework, and in its accomplishments in the future. Although the review has unearthed a host of challenges, the field has a bright and productive future because of the high quality of practitioners in the Public Service who now undertake HRD responsibilities.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF FIGURES


1a.

Content Structure of the Stakeholder review Questionnaires ………………………………………….

11

1

Familiarity and Use of policy Documents …………………………………………………………………

17

2

Factors Promoting a more Relevant & Responsive HRD ………………………………………………

23

3

Context of Training – Extent to which Base Conditions exist ………………………………………….

27

4

Employee Welfare – Extent to which Base Conditions exist …………………………………………..

30

5

Structural Barriers – Extent to which Base Conditions exist …………………………………………..

32

6

Employee Resources – Extent to which Base Conditions exist ……………………………………….

34

7

Implementation Resources – Extent to which Base Conditions exist …………………………………

36

8

Nature of Design and Process – Extent to which Base Conditions exist ……………………………..

36

9

Adequacy of Policy Framework ……………………………………………………………………………

37

10

Enhanced Practice ………………………………………………………………………………………….

41

11

Training Systems and Processes …………………………………………………………………………

43

12

Training Strategies and Policies …………………………………………………………………………..

44

13

Conceptual Framework …………………………………………………………………………………….





LIST OF TABLES



Table 1

Stakeholders Constituting a Sample of Respondents for the Study …………………………………..

9

Table 2

Breakdown of Participation Workshop ……………………………………………………………………

12

Table 3







Table 4







Table 5







Table 6







Table 7







Table 8







Table 9







Table 10







Table 11







Table 12







GLOSSARY OF TERMS



ABET

Adult Basic Education & Training

ASGISA

Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa

AU

African Union

CDW

Community Development Workers

DPSA

Department of Public Service & Administration

EAP

Employee Assistance Programme

EPWP

Expanded Public Works Programme

FET

Further Education and Training

HEI

Higher Education Institute

HRD

Human Resource Development

HRDS

Human Resource Development Strategy

HRM

Human Resource Management

HRS & P

Human Resource Strategy & Planning

JIPSA

Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition

MDG

Millennium Development Goals

MOU

Memorandum of Understanding

NLRD

National Learners' Records Database

PERT

Performance Evaluation and Review Technique

PDP

Personal Development Plans

PMDS

Performance Management & Development System

RPL

Recognition of Prior learning

SAMDI

South African Management Development Institute

SAQA

South African Qualifications Authority

SDA

Skills Development Act

SADC

South African Development Community

SETA

Sector Education & Training Authority

SMS

Senior Management Service

WPPSTE

White Paper on Public Service Training and Education

WSP

Workplace Skills Plan












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