Organisational Performance Management System(OPMS)
Ehlanzeni District Municipality
South Africa

The Problem

Ehlazeni District Municipality needed to comply with a legislative requirement for local government institutions, specifically in terms of Local Government Municipal Systems Act, 2003 (Act 32 of 2003). An organisational Performance Management System had to be set in place to not only comply with legal reuqirements but also to assist the Municipality in terms of effective monitoring and evaluation of the implementation its strategy to ensure alignment of the complete organisation with the strategy.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Ehlazeni District Municipality has implemented an Organisational Performance Management System (OPMS) which is not only an effective monitoring and evaluation system for Management, but has also succeeded in alignment of the organisation with the strategy. The approach followed is that of an organisational development process and ensures continuous focus on the strategy and awareness of the performance in terms of implementation of the strategy. The approach followed with the implementation of the OPMS is that of an organisational development process, which is planned, organisation-wide and managed from the top to increase the organisation’s operational efficiency and effectiveness through planned interventions in the organisation’s processes and systems. The intention is to create a Strategy Focused Organisation.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The Ehlanzeni District Municipality Management in collaboration with the staff of Ehlanzeni DM Management were tasked with ensuring that the OPMS is implemented and fully operational.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The System has improved performance and service delivery and brought about advantages such as effective teamwork and group cohesion, a holistic approach with regard to planning of strategy and performance indicators and the improvement in risk management, which is done on the basis of key documents generated through the Performance Management System.
Mobilising change through executive leadership – the process starts during the compilation of the Integrated Development Plan of the Municipality, strategic planning involving political and administrative leadership addressing the stakeholders of the municipality. Translating the strategy into Operational terms, aligning the organisation to the strategy, making the strategy everyone’s job and making strategy a continual process.
Aligning the organisation to the strategy by having each department meet as a collective in order to reflect on the response of the department to each strategic objective of the organisation.
Making strategy everyone’s job by linking personal development goals and service delivery targets to the strategy. Making strategy a continual process with regular communication on the strategy by means of regular performance reviews within departments and on organisational level, ensures continuous focus on the strategy and strengthens group cohesion within departments and units.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Performance management system integrating space and numbers links the performance information to the Geographical Information system council which strengthens the use of GIS system as a planning tool.
OPMS also focuses on both quality and quantity (output and outcomes). Whereas the tendency used to be to set targets only in terms of quality or outputs the organisation has grown in realising that the quality of service delivery and the impact(outcome) also have to be measured this has been done through surveys mainly and it has a positive impact on service delivery.

Improvement in planning, operationalising an implementation of strategy- performance management has been cascaded from organisational level to departmental and business unit which is the operational level and this has assisted to translate the strategy into operational terms and aligned the complete organisation with the strategy in terms of programmes and projects planned and implemented. Implementation is made everyone’s responsibility.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The following challenges and obstacles were encountered during the implementation of the OPMS:
i) Initially the involved parties displayed a very negative attitude and resistance to change. This could be ascribed to fear for the unknown and this was addressed by the change management programme and information sessions held.
ii) A misinterpretation of the intention of the performance management system as legislated existed. It was seen as an instrument to discipline certain officials or even to be abused to manipulate the removal of managers. These misinterpretations were dealt with through informative meetings and reports.
iii) A further misinterpretation with regard to PMS was that it only revolves around reward (bonuses). The purpose of PMS is to identify and address pathologies with regard to service delivery and improve the terms of operational efficiency, whilst also growing and developing individual staff members. These were also dealt with through information sharing sessions.
iv) Another challenge was linking of processes as prescribed by the legislative framework to the models to be utilised. Models were studied until a thorough understanding was obtained, to enable the linkage with processes.
v) The alignment and linkage between internal systems and the PMS is still a challenge which needs to be addressed. An IT-specialist has been appointed to assist in the linkage of the internal systems.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The OPMS is a permanent system which will be reviewed on an annual basis and implementing all the processes which are part of the system. The processes are coordinated by the performance management unit consisting of three employees, which is located within the Planning department. The initiative consists mainly of key processes and the application of the models.

Performance Management is leadership driven – that is the first and foremost requirement. The value of the performance management lies in the processes to be followed consistently. Training of performance management practitioners and management in performance management is required. The implementation of the performance management requires change management process and fears and concerns of all relevant parties need to be managed. No specific IT system is required except Microsoft Office Excel as the spreadsheet software programme is utilised for the OPMS.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The meaningful use of the information generated through the system is one element that will contribute to the existence and extension of the OPMS. Processes will be strengthened in which the decision-making by Management is influenced by the information generated from the system. Planning cannot be separated from Monitoring and Evaluation processes and information. Furthermore, the communication of performance information to stakeholders has to receive continuous focus. The extension of the system to all employees, with focus on personal growth and development through processes such as mentoring and couching, will ensure the continued existence of the system. The extension of the system towards the local municipalities within the Ehlanzeni District Municipality is also in process; Thaba Choeu Local Municipality has replicated the system and its currently implemented.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The OPMS has achieved the following: Service delivery addressing the needs of the stakeholders, Improved service delivery due to ownership, the continuous awareness of and focus on the strategy, effective system for monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the strategy, change in attitude of management and the broader organisation, promotion of teamwork and group cohesion, vertically and horizontally, rewarding of performance in terms of strategy and excellence, a holistic approach with regard to planning of strategy and indicators as well as risk management done on the basis of the key documents generated through performance management.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ehlanzeni District Municipality
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Marietha Diedericks
Title:   Mrs  
Telephone/ Fax:   013 759 8500 Mobile 079 499 7722
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   8 van Niekerk Street
Postal Code:   1201
City:   Nelspruit
State/Province:   Mpumalanga
Country:   South Africa

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