TRANSFORMING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: EMBRACING INNOVATION FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING

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By Precious Mupenzi

  • The Department of Social Development (DSD) has launched an innovative Electronic System to modernise Annual Performance Plans (APPs) development and monitoring, marking a significant shift from traditional methods.
  • This digital transformation aims to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and responsiveness in meeting the department’s strategic goals, especially in the post-COVID-19 era.
  • The initiative includes comprehensive training for senior managers and underscores DSD’s commitment to adopting digital tools to improve service delivery and strategic planning.

In a landmark move towards modernisation, the Department of Social Development (DSD) has unveiled a pioneering Electronic System designed to revolutionise Annual Performance Plans (APPs) development and monitoring. This initiative marks a significant departure from traditional methods, promising enhanced efficiency and precision in fulfilling the department’s strategic goals.

Nolwazi Manyane, Director of Sector and Corporate Strategic Planning and Management at DSD, spoke about the system’s integration into DSD operations.

“The Framework for Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans issued by the Department of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation (DPME) mandates all departments to table their plans in Parliament. Our journey towards paperless APP development aligns not only with this framework but also underscores our commitment to reinventing the DSD sector,” she explained.

The shift to digital APP development comes in response to profound changes in service delivery post-COVID-19. Manyane emphasised the need for agile responses to societal needs, stating, “Effective result-based planning processes and systems are crucial.”

Central to the system’s implementation are its potential contributions to DSD’s strategic objectives.

“Our focus areas, such as building cohesive and resilient families and communities to reduce poverty, necessitate a transformative approach. Automation ensures timely, high-quality outputs, minimising errors and disputes over APP targets. This fiscal year marks a pivotal moment where stakeholders will experience a streamlined process from development to approval of performance reports,” Manyane noted.

The system’s launch was accompanied by a two-day training session for senior managers, held on 24-25 June 2024 at the HSRC Building in Pretoria. This initiative demonstrates DSD’s proactive commitment to embracing digital transformation to elevate the standard of service delivery excellence.

“Digital transformation, including a shift to paperless operations, adoption of Microsoft Teams, strengthening of SmartGov, and the recent implementation of EPMS, reflects DSD’s proactive approach to embracing digital transformation. These initiatives underscore the department’s commitment to implementing new ways of working and achieving excellence in service delivery,” she said.

Looking ahead, Manyane outlined strategies beyond training senior managers to ensure the smooth adoption of the APP System. “As the system enters its pilot phase, the Strategy and Organisational Transformation branch will continue engaging with all branches. These efforts are crucial in fostering a culture that embraces and effectively utilises this transformative tool,” she explained.

One of the senior managers who attended the training, Sello Modise, Acting Director of Organisational Design and Human Resource Planning, highlighted the significance of this new Electronic System.

“The introduction of this Electronic System represents more than a technological upgrade; it symbolises DSD’s commitment to efficiency, transparency, and responsiveness in meeting the needs of South Africa’s citizens. As the department transitions towards a paperless approach, one can anticipate a future where strategic planning is not just a requirement but a cornerstone of transformative change in social development,” he said.

 

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