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Technical Consulting Services offers advisory and project management support to government departments, and Organs of State, in all three spheres of government. The support offered to clients includes programme and project management, organisational development, strategic planning and performance budgeting, and performance management.

Advisory support is typically focused on three areas: people, processes, and tools and technology. This support is directed at facilitating the implementation of high priority programmes and projects, and improving government’s capability to deliver. It includes providing guidance and advice for the planning of projects, assisting in setting up project management offices, conducting project management health checks, and expanding the government project management community of practice. Technical Consulting Services follow a structured approach when delivering advisory and project management support to clients. Once a Letter of Request is received, a thorough assessment of the application takes place. This leads to a diagnostic study which provides an accurate assessment of the real needs and/or challenges of the client. Depending on the outcome of the diagnostic study, the team will then deliver strategic planning and performance budgeting support, or Organisational Development support; or programme and project management support.​

 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Brief Summaries of Technical Consulting Services Projects

Examples of completed projects:
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Improvement of supply chain management, De​partment of Education Eastern Cape Province

GTAC assisted the Eastern Cape Department of Education in improving its supply chain management performance, including human resources management. A host of factors contribute to poor learning outcomes. These include poor curriculum support and weak administrative and financial systems (human resources, supply chain management, financial management) across the education delivery system, from the head office to schools. This is often compounded by a problematic organisational culture that hinders effective service delivery. GTAC has successfully used its support to the Eastern Cape Department of Education to develop and test an integrated and holistic conceptual model for capacity building. This model was developed through a number of engagements within GTAC, as well as partners from the School of Governance at the University of Ottawa in Canada.​​​

As a result of this support, the department has refined its supply chain management policies, developed standard operating procedures and introduced improved supply chain management business processes. It has also developed policies, procedures and business processes for schools’ management of the National School Nutrition Programme. Improvement is evident in eight schools in the Grahamstown district where, following GTAC assistance, learners are now benefiting from the nutrition programme without any disruption to the curriculum. The senior management teams of these schools are now fully functional and relations between supply chain management and the Grahamstown district offices have improved, as well as turnaround times for the procurement of goods and services.

The facilitation in the improvement of the management of South Africa’s borders

Inter-departmental programmes remain challenging because programme success depends on joint prioritisation, planning, budgeting and implementation within a system of independently structured departmental mandates, accountabilities and funding. GTAC has assisted in a number of such areas, most notably in the case of the border control environment. This is a challenging environment that requires a balance between the competing needs of trade facilitation and free travel on the one hand, and crime prevention, security, trade protection and sovereignty on the other. This is made all the more complex due to the number of government agencies involved: there are 21 departments and agencies responsible for setting policies, performing border controls or both. The outcome of this work was a detailed clarification of the nature of a border management agency, as an implementing agent for the numerous parent departments, which set polices relating to cross-border movement of persons and goods. A process is now underway to craft suitable enabling legislation for the envisaged Border Management Agency that will satisfy the constraints and principles identified in the institutional options analysis.​​​​
One-stop services were introduced in rural areas​​

GTAC supported the development of the Thusong Service Centre Programme. This programme is an initiative to bring composite service delivery to the population, particularly in rural areas, by offering a one-stop service centre providing information and services to communities in an integrated manner. These centres provide government social and administrative services, office services, education and skills development services, local economic development services, business services and community opportunities, and information and communication activities. There have been varying degrees of success to date across the 183 centres. One of the key challenges remains the overall ownership of the programme. This arises from the fact that many of the services delivered though the Thusong Service Centres are the responsibility of individual national departments (such as civic services from the Department of Home Affairs), while on the other hand most centres are owned and/or operated by municipalities. A follow-on project to unpack and recommend a formalised funding model for these centres is now being undertaken.

Contributing to connectivity

Another key area of GTAC support has been the assistance to the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services to implement its broadband policy, South Africa Connect. The focus has been on developing competence in programme and project management, and helping the department plan the first phase of the policy’s rollout, due to start in 2015/16. The support included the review of the telecommunications sector’s market structure. Independent experts conducted a market structure study, resulting in a report that provided a detailed analysis of the current market and recommendations for a set of interventions. The review looked at ways to improve the functioning of the market, allowing more efficient leverage of industry capabilities through competitive market forces, and ensuring better returns on public sector spending.

The Oceans Economy is prioritised

Technical support to the Department of Environmental Affairs was provided for the development of a draft policy on the Oceans Economy, aimed at unlocking the economic potential of the neighbouring oceans. The objective of this support was to assist the Oceans and Coasts branch to take the Oceans Management Green Paper to a draft bill phase. While the Department of Environmental Affairs is the custodian of the management and conservation of the oceans, there are many stakeholders who have legislative jurisdiction over aspects of ocean activity. Through the technical support provided, the White Paper on National Environmental Management of the Ocean (NEMO) was published, drawing on international good practice and a solid understanding of our domestic legislative environment. Cabinet approved the White Paper on the National Environmental Management of the Ocean Policy. The policy sets out a coordinated sectoral management approach to ocean environmental management. This will allow South Africa to address the growing challenges posed by human impacts on the ocean environment more effectively, while maximising the economic development potential that the ocean presents.

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