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					                                                WEBSITE PUBLICATION
Name:               Rowenna Erin Cuff
Designation:        Business Analyst
Institution:        Africon
Province:           North West Province

Contact Details
Telephone number:   (012) 427 2267
Cell:               072 228 2148
Email:              Rowennac@africon.co.za

Output:             In Year Interventions
Date:               30 March 2009
Case Study Title:    In Year Intervention, North West Province : Department of Education Infrastructure Expenditure

Project Members:    Johan De Klerk, Faan van Rensburg

                                                 CASE STUDY INFORMATION

Brief Background:   BACKGROUND AND REASON FOR THE STUDY
                    The purpose of the Infrastructure Delivery Improvement Programme (IDIP) is to support improved effectiveness and
                    efficiency of the delivery of Provincial infrastructure through institutionalising Best Practice Methodologies and building
                    capacity. The implementation of Best Practice Systems and Methodologies is one of the five key outcomes in terms of the
                    official IDIP LogFrame, and supports the alignment of planning and implementation processes between the Implementing
                    Agents and the Department of Education (DoE) as a client department. An urgent need for assistance was identified in the
                    DoE to achieve such alignment by fast tracking relevant projects, monitoring and reporting on infrastructure delivery and
                    expenditure, as well as the close off of projects.

                    DESCRIBE THE PROBLEM THAT WAS ENCOUNTERED
                    Budget expenditure on Infrastructure within the Department of Education was well below target, and it was apparent that
                    the budget would not be spent within the current financial year. The Department recognised this and indicated the need for
                    immediate intervention in order to minimise under-expenditure.

                    IDENTIFY AND DISCUSS THE UNDERLYING ISSUE
                    The lack of capacity in the form of skilled technical professionals in the North West Province is well documented, and was
                    highlighted in the Assessment & Development phase on IDIP in 2005.


                                                                          1
                       Due to the lack of available manpower, the officials who are currently in the Department are severely overloaded, and
                       resort to crisis management in completing their day-to-day duties.
Project Summary:       The DoE suffers from a significant lack of technical capacity in terms of officials who have the technical, operational and
                       project management skills to implement infrastructure projects. This resulted in budget expenditure on Infrastructure for
                       the financial year ending in March 2009 being well below target. It was evident that the budget would not be spent within
                       the current financial year.

                       The resulting intervention made use of a specialist resource, who was appointed to
                        Address the challenges related to fast tracking project implementation and associated expenditure;
                        Monitor and report on Infrastructure delivery and expenditure; and
                        Assist with the close off of completed projects.

                       This intervention was implemented in close consultation, interaction and cooperation with the IDIP PTAT and the Client
                       Department.

Main Successes and     MAIN SUCCESSES EXPERIENCED
Challenges/Problems:    Increased Expenditure. A drastic increase of expenditure of the budget for the financial year ending in March 2009
                          effected by the fast tracking of specific projects and the associated expenditure in close interaction and consultation
                          with representatives from the DoE and other stakeholders. Budget expenditure increased from 29 percent at the end of
                          October 2008 to 81 percent as of the end of February 2009, with further expenditure expected before the financial year
                          end.

                          Role Clarity. Officials involved in the delivery of infrastructure have a deeper understanding of what is required of them
                           in order to complete infrastructure related tasks, and acknowledge that further intervention is necessary in order to
                           meet these requirements effectively.

                          Foresight. Because officials have a better understanding of the tasks required to successfully complete their
                           responsibilities, they are beginning to plan in advance to ensure that tasks are completed on time.

                          Senior Management Support. The Head of Department (HoD) of Education has significant buy-in in the intervention, and
                           his support has proven instrumental as a foundation for the institutionalisation of the intervention within the DOE

                          In depth Focus Group Meetings. The focus groups are increasing the involvement and contribution of DoE infrastructure
                           officials, School Governing Bodies, Communities and Implementing Agents. In addition, they assist in the transfer of
                           skills and increase the capacity needed for effective infrastructure delivery. All issues related to effective infrastructure
                           delivery can be tabled at these meetings, and dealt with proactively.

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                               MAIN CHALLENGES/PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED
                                Role Clarity. Although there are clear roles and responsibilities set out in the organogram, the DoE has a significant lack
                                  of capacity; both in terms of a shortage of staff in the Physical Resources, Facilities Management and Planning
                                  Directorate, as well as a lack of technical skills. The combination of understaffing with skills shortages results in cross-
                                  pollination of duties and responsibilities. For example, a typical case in point would be that you will find the sub-
                                  directorate: planning involved with implementation, and vice versa.

                                  Skills Gaps. Major skills and capacity gaps have been identified on a technical and project management level. Officials in
                                   the Physical Resources, Facilities Management and Planning directorate (PRFMP) are in need of skills development and
                                   training in:
                                                 Strategic and Operational Management
                                                 Technical Project Management
                                                 IT related areas
                                                 National Education Information Management System (NEIMS)

                                  Turnover. There is a high rate of turnover of strategic personnel involved in infrastructure in the department, which
                                   results in a loss of knowledge and skills.

                                  Information Systems. The DoE lacks a comprehensive and up-to-date centralised information system. There is limited
                                   capacity in both the Regions and Head Office of the DoE to update NEIMS, so it is not updated on a regular basis and not
                                   utilised to their full potential, which makes informed decision-making and planning a challenge.

                                  IT Section. The Information Communication Technology sub directorate within DoE provides a service to the schools in
                                   terms of IT support and statistics but does not extend that service within the directorate. It also is not involved in the
                                   updating of the NEIMS to a large extent.

                                  Implementing Agents. Not all of the implementing agents utilised by the DoE are registered professionals. In an effort to
                                   empower communities, the DoE awards infrastructure projects to the community. An example of this would be the
                                   “Itereleng Projects” which are implemented by School Governing Bodies consisting of parents, many of which are
                                   unemployed. Although basic training is provided by the Department, these projects require an official within DoE with
                                   extensive experience to guide the process, as opposed to other professional service providers. It is also crucial that
                                   proper Supply Chain Management procedures and processes are followed.

Processes/Methods/Solution INTERVENTION STRATEGIES.
Used:                      The first critical step taken as part of the Intervention was to assist the Department in developing intervention strategies for

                                                                                      3
the short, medium and long term on an operational level in order to ensure that all efforts in the in the Department had
direction and were focused in a coherent manner, as depicted in Figure 1 below.

                                                Figure 1. Formulation of DoE Intervention Strategies
                                 Documents status quo
                                   of all DoE projects
                                     earmarked for
                                implementation in 2008/                                 Head Office: Physical
                                  2009 financial year.                                  Resources, Facilities
                                                                                       Management& Planning
                                                                                            Directorate
                                                                        Consultation
                                                                                                                Updated Project     Formulate Intervention
             STTA collects &                                                                                    Tables & Project        Strategies in
                                   Existing Project
             updates relevant                             STTA undertakes                                         List& current     consultation with H/O
                                  Tables and Project
              project related                                meetings                                           projected project     and Districts using
                                          List
                infomation                                                                                        expenditure        updated information

                                                                        Consultation
                                                                                              Districts


                                       Financial
                                      information




In order to do this, the STTA had to determine and document the status quo of all DoE projects earmarked for
implementation for the 2008/2009 financial year. Using information collected from meetings with Infrastructure officials on
both district and Head Office level, and financial records, the projected project expenditure was established and confirmed
with all implementing agents involved. This updated information provided the foundation for the DoE to make informed
project-related decisions. The STTA, DoE Districts and the Physical Resources, Facilities Management and Planning
Directorate (PRFMP) engaged in meetings in order to update the project priority tables and project lists and identify projects
to be fast tracked in the 2008/2009 financial year. Using the ‘As Is’ Process Maps (see case study 2) and input from the DoE
officials, the STTA helped the DoE officials to identify areas which were causing immediate delays in project implementation
and formulate intervention strategies to counteract this (please see attached intervention strategies).

These strategies were submitted to the HoD and MEC respectively, and their subsequent buy in led to commitment and
support from senior management to ensure that the intervention was implemented.

ISF FORUMS
IDIP Support Forum meetings are held on a monthly basis to discuss all issues related to effective infrastructure delivery,
including progressive annual expenditure versus the budget, interventions, current capacity constraints, implementing
agent performance, as well as more administrative issues such as DORA deadlines, and infrastructure planning timetables.
Typical attendees of the ISF meetings include:
      The Provincial Treasury IDIP Champion;

                                                                    4
       IDIP departments;
       Smaller departments in the North West which also provide infrastructure;
       The DPW; and
       All other Implementing Agents in the North West.

As depicted in Figure 2 below, the ISF forum was used as a platform to share the intervention strategies formulated by the
DoE with the Implementing agents and representatives of all relevant stakeholders during the ISF meeting held in December
2008 to ensure widespread acceptance of the strategies.

                               Figure 2.The Sharing of DoE Intervention Strategies at ISF Meeting


                 IDIP Client
                departments

                                            ISF forum meeting      Intervention Srategies         Interactive
                                                chaired by          presented by DoE to         Discussions &
                   DPW
                                                Provincial           stakeholders at ISF         Inputs from
                                                 Treasury                 meetings              Stakeholders

                 IDT & other
                implementing
                   agents




MONTIORING OF THE INTERVENTION
The intervention was monitored using Focus Group Meetings, STTA feedback reports to the PTAT Team leader and
Expenditure Reports.

   Expenditure reporting. Officials were required to complete project progress reports (see templates section) and submit
    them to the Short Term Technical Assistant (STTA) prior to each focus group meeting so that the information could be
    captured in the reporting template. Officials were identified to be responsible for the completion and interpretation of
    the reporting template. The STTA ensured that the officials were able to complete the template by demonstrating how
    the template worked, and then completing it with the officials so that they had a practical understanding of how to
    complete the template. Figures obtained from the Walker System were included in the template for comparison with
    the figures from the Implementing agents and the PRFMP directorate.

   Focus Group Meetings. Focus group meetings were scheduled between the DoE and the implementing agents biweekly


                                                          5
   until March 2009 to monitor the intervention, as depicted in Figure 3 below. The information gathered and consolidated
   in the reporting template was presented and discussed at Focus Group meetings. Such information included:
             Progress of Infrastructure Projects
             Current project expenditure vs. the budget
             IA performance
             Current capacity constraints
             Project Challenges

Officials were identified to prepare the Focus Group Meeting agenda and take minutes during the meeting. The STTA
presented a one day workshop to these officials on how to compile agendas and minutes, and provided them with an
Agenda Template (see templates section).

                                         Figure 3. Bi Weekly Focus group Meetings


                                                                                                         current
                                                                                                       expenditure
                                                                                                    versus the budget


                                                                                                       progress of
                                                                                                      infrastructure
                                                                                                         projects

        Project Progress                           STTA consolidates
                                                                             Bi Weekly
         Reports from         Submitted to            information into                                     IA
                                                                            Focus Group
         Infrastructure          STTA               reporting template                                performance
                                                                             Meetings
            Officials                             with officials from DoE


                                                                                                     current capacity
                                                                                                      constraints &
                                                                                                       challenges
                                                      Figures from
                                                     Walker system

                                                                                                          Other




Representatives from Communities, School Governing Bodies and Chief Education Specialists were included in the focus
group meetings to promote understanding of the strategies as well as to educate them regarding what to look for on the

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infrastructure projects happening in their districts.

Chief Education Specialists (CES) have been identified as key to effective reporting on projects within the districts. They
were included in Focus Group meetings since mid-January 2009 to ensure that they have an understanding of what is
required from them in terms of monitoring, reporting and completing the templates provided to ensure the comprehensive
reporting information. In addition, the focus group meetings provide the opportunity for the CES’ to give feedback on
infrastructure projects being implemented in their districts.

The Focus Groups gave officials the opportunity to identify other areas which could benefit from intervention initiatives and
also assisted in identifying skills and capacity gaps.

In addition to the Focus Group meetings, both the HoD of Provincial Treasury (PT) and the HoD of Education, as well
relevant infrastructure managers from PT, the DoE CFO and the Department met bimonthly to discuss expenditure and
infrastructure delivery, and address any challenges which arose in the intervention process.

TEMPLATES
Comprehensive templates which cover all the core functions critical for infrastructure planning and implementation for each
financial year and an agenda for infrastructure planning and implementation meetings have been developed to ensure that
skills are transferred to and maintained within the Department. There are three templates to be used (Please see attached
documentation for the templates).
 Expenditure Report to Treasury. This template is a Status Quo report used to provide high level feedback on the
     intervention to Provincial Treasury. The first section highlights the status quo of the projects before the intervention,
     specifically:
               Deliverables
               Budget
               Current Expenditure
               Variances before the intervention

    The second section provides details the intervention, with specific focus on:
             Project Progress
             Projected expenditure
             Variances at the end of the intervention
             Challenges Experience and/or reasons for variances
             Intervention/remedial action taken

    Infrastructure Reporting Template – Internal. This template is a comprehensive infrastructure reporting template used

                                                        7
                           to track the progress of infrastructure projects within the DoE. Apart from providing information on the project
                           description and the implementing agent. The template allows for comparison between budget and expenditure figures
                           supplied by the implementing agent and the figures captured on the walker system. The template makes provision for:
                                     Actual Expenditure
                                     Balance of Expenditure
                                     Total Expected Expenditure
                                     Allocated budget
                                     Variance (over or under expenditure)
                                     Comments/Reasons for variances
                                     Physical progress on site (as per last report and more recent report)
                                     Maintenance Projects
                                     Summarised Infrastructure spending report.

                           The empty template was distributed to all Implementing Agents used by the DoE to complete their respective sections.
                           The PRFMP directorate then met with the Implementing agents to discuss the completed templates and consolidate the
                           information into one template to be used for reporting to the DoE HoD and CFO regarding the status of projects on an
                           ongoing basis.

                          Typical Agenda Template for Planning and Implementation. The Agenda template outlines the core subject matter to be
                           discussed at planning and/or implementation meetings and also provides guidelines regarding best practices in the
                           compilation, approval and distribution of meeting minutes.

                           In addition to incorporating project planning, implementation and Mid Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) cycles, and
                           fostering alignment with the Infrastructure Alignment model, the templates guide current workflow to ensure that the
                           new financial year does not suffer from the same problems and under-expenditure as the previous one.

What Were the             The involvement and contribution of key operational officials from an early stage in developing strategies has been
Benefits/Advantages?       critical to ensuring ongoing operational commitment to the success of the strategies initiated as part of the
                           interventions. This commitment will ensure that the strategies will continue to be implemented after the intervention
                           comes to an end.

                          By including all stakeholders in the focus group meetings the flow of project related communication between the
                           Department, the Implementing Agents and the Communities has been improved, and project related problems can be
                           dealt with on a timely basis.

Outcomes and Impact       The strategies implemented have led to improved infrastructure planning and better budgetary expenditure, and better

                                                                            8
Achieved:                      value for the money spent on improving infrastructure.

                              The strategies developed in the initial stages of the intervention have led to an exponential improvement in expenditure
                               for the financial year ending in March 2009.

                              Officials are moving away from a “crisis management” way of working, and the foundation has been created for them to
                               be able to exercise foresight and complete tasks proactively.

                              The templates developed provide a framework to ensure that the skills transferred as part of the intervention are
                               institutionalised in the Department.

Key Lessons Learned:          High level buy-in from the Head of Department is critical to ensure both the success of the intervention, as well as the
                               institutionalisation of the skills transferred through the intervention.

                           In addition, successful replication of a similar intervention is contingent on the following:

                              A Short Term Technical Assistant (STTA) with extensive experience in project management on a senior level as well as
                               extensive technical expertise is critical to ensuring the success of a similar intervention

                              The development, implementation and success of strategies and initiatives are a team effort. The willingness and
                               cooperation of departmental officials on both strategic and operational levels is critical to achievement of the goals of
                               any intervention.

General Recommendations:   In order to ensure that the Department of Education does not find itself in the same situation again, it is of critical
                           importance that:

                              The strategies developed in the initial stages of the intervention are retained and followed,
                              The Focus Group meetings incorporating inputs from all stakeholders are institutionalised and continue to occur on a
                               regular basis,
                              The templates developed in order to assist with effective infrastructure planning and implementation are utilised
                               throughout the process of infrastructure delivery, as they provide a framework to ensure that the skills which were
                               transferred as part of this intervention are retained within the DoE.

                           THE WAY FORWARD
                           The need for a specific Human Resources intervention in the DoE in order to overcome the challenges regarding the
                           capacity of the Infrastructure Directorate has been identified. This intervention includes:

                                                                                   9
                               Job analysis to determine inherent job requirements;
                               The design of job profiles;
                               Identification of capacity and skills required;
                               Competency assessments to determine training needs and requirements;
                               Proposed alignment of jobs and levels with improved job descriptions and recommendations regarding structural
                                changes required, and
                               The establishment of a formalised training and mentorship programme.




                                                      WEBSITE PUBLICATION
         FOR WEBSITE PUBLICATION

Search Engine Words:        Institutionalisation of IDIP, Capacity; Technical Assistant; Focus Group; improved expenditure; infrastructure; interaction;
                            communication; implementing agent; IDIP Support Forum (ISF);
Project Summary/Abstract:   The DoE suffers from a significant lack of technical capacity in terms of officials who have the technical, operational and
                            project management skills to implement infrastructure projects. This resulted in budget expenditure on Infrastructure for
                            the financial year ending in March 2009 being well below target. It was evident that the budget would not be spent
                            within the current financial year.

                            The resulting intervention made use of a specialist resource, who was appointed to
                             Address the challenges related to fast tracking project implementation and associated expenditure;
                             Monitor and report on Infrastructure delivery and expenditure; and
                             Assist with the close off of completed projects.

                            This intervention was implemented in close consultation, interaction and cooperation with the IDIP PTAT and the Client
                            Department.

Related Links:              Not Applicable
Attach Additional
Information:                    Figure 1. Formulation of DoE Intervention Strategies




                                                                               10
                         Documents status quo
                           of all DoE projects
                             earmarked for
                        implementation in 2008/                                       Head Office: Physical
                          2009 financial year.                                        Resources, Facilities
                                                                                     Management& Planning
                                                                                          Directorate
                                                                      Consultation
                                                                                                                Updated Project        Formulate Intervention
   STTA collects &                                                                                              Tables & Project           Strategies in
                           Existing Project
   updates relevant                                     STTA undertakes                                           List& current        consultation with H/O
                          Tables and Project
    project related                                        meetings                                             projected project        and Districts using
                                  List
      infomation                                                                                                  expenditure           updated information

                                                                      Consultation
                                                                                            Districts


                               Financial
                              information




Figure 2.The Sharing of DoE Intervention Strategies at ISF Meeting


          IDIP Client
         departments

                                                  ISF forum meeting                    Intervention Srategies                         Interactive
                                                      chaired by                        presented by DoE to                         Discussions &
              DPW
                                                      Provincial                         stakeholders at ISF                         Inputs from
                                                       Treasury                               meetings                              Stakeholders

         IDT & other
        implementing
           agents




Figure 3. Bi Weekly Focus group Meetings




                                                                             11
                                                                               current
                                                                             expenditure
                                                                          versus the budget


                                                                             progress of
                                                                            infrastructure
                                                                               projects

Project Progress                   STTA consolidates
                                                             Bi Weekly
 Reports from      Submitted to       information into                           IA
                                                            Focus Group
 Infrastructure       STTA          reporting template                      performance
                                                             Meetings
    Officials                     with officials from DoE


                                                                          current capacity
                                                                           constraints &
                                                                            challenges
                                      Figures from
                                     Walker system

                                                                                Other




                                   12

				
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