COGHSTA Open Development Engine (CODE)
Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements & Traditional Affairs

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
In no more than 500 words, describe your overall experience with the initiative, the lessons learned and any recommendations for the future. • One of the first lessons learned was to set up the IT infrastructure the evening before the event. • Over and above advertisements on local radio stations and notifications in the local newspapers, mobilisation, branding and marketing prior to the event ensure that more people are attracted and made aware of the RAF and the event that will take place. • Proper seating is required as queues can get long and waiting periods longer. Especially for the elderly, it was noted that refreshments (such as water) should be supplied as some days might be hot and exhausting. • Automated registration (versus manual registration) might ease the task of the RAF team and speed up the processes on the day. • Language is an important factor to take into consideration – especially when going to deep rural areas. Staff members attending need to be able to assist claimants and accident victims in the language spoken within the area. Branding and awareness creation of the event (at least two weeks prior to the event up until the day of the event) are critical. RAF wants to attract as many people as possible to the event to ensure that everyone who needs assistance is attended to. • Debriefing sessions for staff who deals with case files containing disturbing images of accident scenes, etc. now happens after each event and forms part of the RAF Employee Wellness Service.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The System Development team researched and identified different open source programming components that was then put together to develop systems. • Reduce cost • Alignment with the department’s objectives • To reduce Vendor locking and expensive Software licensing • To reduce time to develop new systems

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
• As the enabler of the business, we developed the CoGHSTA Open Development Engine with an objective of producing electronic systems that enhance the internal systems in the department and impact positively on service delivery in that they empower the Departmental officials for instance in the swift planning and reporting of the work of the Department • The systems are developed in-house • Department’s requirements being sufficiently met • Software programs belongs to the Department and can be enhanced easily without paying for expensive software licenses • There is significant progress in terms of implementing the priority list of the requested systems (Six systems currently running on the Engine) • The engine makes it easier even for the Interns recruited in the Department with the entry level of development skill to develop the systems for instance the Award winning Performance Management Information System (PerMIS) was developed internally by the interns.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The CoGHSTA Open Development Engine was developed through selected open source tools. We have explored and achieved the use of collaborative technologies, with the systems being built on open source engine and sending through Microsoft platform.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Management, system users, State Information Technology Agency and Information Technology team.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Financial -, technical -, human resource cost. It was based on our Strategic and Operational plans to develop systems. The following is an illustration of some of the savings made as extracted from ICT Strategy Plan below:

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The engine reduced the cost such that systems are developed in-house with minimal cost such that resources are rechanneled to other projects aligned to the mandate of the Department for instance enabling the support to the municipalities. The Department converted business processes and developed the following systems: - Performance Management Information System (PerMIS) - Human Resource Recruitment System (HHRS) - Strategic Performance Monitoring Tool (SPMT) - Organisational Survey System (OTS) - Request for permission to work outside public sector (WROPS) - Claim register

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Project Plans Progress meetings

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Skills, lack of funds. By simplifying the programming and easily re-use of scripts reduced the need for specialised skills and budget.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Reduced time for development of in-house systems and reduced cost as we don’t need to acquire systems

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The Technology is adopted in the Department and it allows continuous enhancement of Systems. The engine has reliably performed as expected and according to the standard and the employed tools are easily upgraded. The tools employed are Open Source and mostly downloadable and easy to use and re-use. The cronjobs (for automatic repetitive sending of emails) assist in monitoring the systems developed using the engine even if you are not in the office. It is easy for the interns to learn and work on the engine.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
There have always been lesser internal resources to cope with the demand of developing more systems as the innovation has spark a lot of interest for users to have systems developed. We have learned to work more as a team to at least averagely cope with the overwhelming demand as we share tasks and are able to deliver.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements & Traditional Affairs
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Leon Nieuwoudt
Title:   Mr  
Telephone/ Fax:   +27764211636
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Private Bag x 9485
Postal Code:   0700
City:   Polokwane
State/Province:   Gauteng

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