SA faces service delivery vs funds dilemma

2016-02-16 09:46

Cape Town - How to improve service delivery in the face of constraints on public funds is an issue that has gained importance in relation to the upcoming Budget 2016, according to Cuma Limekaya, lead partner for Future State 2030 at KPMG in South Africa.

KPMG’s Future State 2030 report identifies the “rise of the individual” as one of the key megatrends that will be shaping and driving public service delivery globally into 2030.

"This phenomenon has already begun to manifest in South Africa through increased demands for improved services and calls for government to accelerate economic growth," said Limekaya.

"In the context of a tightening fiscal situation and constrained budgets, this presents government with an interesting dilemma of how to achieve better outcomes for South African citizens while finding cost efficiencies.”

The delivery of public services has evolved significantly over the years, Limekaya pointed out.

"Gone are the days when the government provided public services and businesses made money. Rather, the new model for public service delivery is a partnership model that leverages the strengths of both the public and private sectors," said Limekaya.

The “smart ID card” pilot programme by the Department of Home Affairs is an example of this partnership approach. The aim of the programme is to provide a new channel to serve clients, accelerate the replacement of the green ID books and reduce queues at existing Home Affairs service points.

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Building on this model, the UK, for instance, has seen the emergence of “hybrid organisations” which draw on the strengths of not only the public and private sectors, but also the not-for-profit sector.

These are organisations that combine government resources, the commercial logic of the private sector and the social logic of a not-for-profit sector in order to pursue better outcomes for citizens. The hybrid organisations have the potential not only to deliver improved public services but also to help stimulate a country’s economy through job creation.

Another model which has grown in popularity over the last decade is the integrated service delivery model.

"This, at its core, is the coordination of operations across government departments, different levels of government, sectors and geographies to improve service delivery to citizens and benefit from the operating efficiencies achieved through integration," said Limekaya.

According to KPMG’s The Integration Imperative, there is increasing evidence that integration reforms serve citizens better, use limited resources more effectively, and are more clearly focused on achieving improved outcomes for citizens.

* Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has invited South Africans to share their views on the state of the SA economy. Post your Pointers for Pravin.

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