Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane. File photo: GCIS

Eighty percent of government departments do not comply with service delivery requirements, according to a report released by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane on Wednesday.

“This situation is an anomaly, given that improving service delivery is a priority of government,” the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) found.

The report, which measures the state of management practices in the public service over the past (2012/13) financial year, includes an assessment of all 156 national and provincial government departments.

Its findings were described as “credible, and providing a fairly accurate picture of the state of management practices across (all) departments”.

At the release of the MPAT at Parliament, Chabane, who is responsible for performance monitoring and evaluation, told reporters that departments' management practices had been assessed against 29 “generic management standards”.

These broadly covered governance and accountability, human resources management, and financial management.

On a chart included with the report, 28 of 42 national government departments were red-flagged for “service delivery improvement mechanisms”.

The MPAT measures departments against each of the 29 management standards, awarding level one (red), level two (orange), level three (yellow), or level four (green) scores.

“A department which scores at level one or two for a particular management area is non-compliant with the minimum legal prescripts in that management area.”

The findings come a month after the 2012 Development Indicators Report showed that half of South Africans think the state is not performing well when it comes to delivering basic services.

The MPAT also found that the number of service delivery protests hit an all-time high last year Ä there were 113 up to July 2012 - compared to only two during the whole of 2006.

It red-flagged 29 national departments for their management of disciplinary cases, while a further eight received an orange marker.

The departments red-flagged did not finalise disciplinary cases within policy requirements.

Among the more incongruous results was the justice department's red mark for “professional ethics”.

According to the MPAT, departments must have systems and policies in place “to promote ethical behaviour and discourage unethical behaviour and corruption”.

However, less than 25 percent of senior managers in the department had completed financial disclosures properly and on time.

The department of women, children and persons with disabilities was red-flagged for its “management of diversity”, which among other things, means it did not submit a report dealing with disabled people and their access to the workplace.

The State Security Agency was red flagged 20 times for its management of strategic planning, risk management, pay sheet certification, and “unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful” spending.

The department of international relations and co-operation, the government's face to the international community, was also given a red mark for its failure to implement systems and policies “to promote ethical behaviour and discourage unethical behaviour and corruption”.

The five best-managed national departments were science and technology, trade and industry, environmental affairs, National Treasury, and Government Communication and Information System, which scored at levels three and four (the top level) across many of the categories.

According to the report, level three means the department is “fully compliant”, while a level four department is one that has taken this a step further and is “operating smartly in terms of its management practices”.

The three worst performers were water affairs, public works, and at the bottom of the list, the department of women, children and persons with disabilities. - Sapa