Early warning characteristics of monitoring and evaluation systems on the "functionality" of municipal service delivery processes

Naing, Myo
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Since 1994, the new democratically elected government has embarked on a series of massive initiatives, policies and programmes to improve municipal service delivery performance. Municipalities are, however, still incapable of fulfilling their designated service delivery mandate. The preliminary study of this research discovered that the current municipal monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems, although they are legislated to serve as an early warning system (EWS), do not have essential components of an EWS and, as a result, cannot alert key players and stakeholders of developing problematic trends in municipal service delivery processes. The research examined the extent to which the current M&E system of the City of Johannesburg contains the components of an EWS. The purpose is to design and propose a model of M&E system that can serve as an EWS and enable municipalities to receive advance information about potential problems, and then to implement the necessary corrective interventions. Using a qualitative and a casestudy methodology, data were collected through observation, interviews, focus-group discussions (FGDs) and documentary study. Root cause, thematic analysis and data categorisation were used to analyse data. The findings indicate that early warning signals exist and are noticed by some officials and staff, but no mechanism or budget exists to enable them to use the knowledge (i.e., no EWS exists). An important original finding this study makes is that one of the root causes of municipal problems is the state of alienation municipal workers and managers across race and class experience, which results in silo mentality of workers, departments and sectors, and fragmentation throughout planning, functionalities, information and knowledge, as the effects of alienation on municipal performance have not been in the local government discourse. Conceptually, it argues that the M&E concept and framework need to be re-designed to encompass and build-in the concept of EWS, and, in turn, proposes a model of proactive M&E (pM&E), i.e., an M&E system integrated with EWS components, and therefore serves as an EWS. Moreover, it also suggests that concept and approach of the Weak Signals Theory (WST) is applicable in an M&E framework, but would be hard to use in “municipal” M&E systems, for three reasons: capacity constraint, political, and the multi-sectorial nature of the municipal system. ■ ii KEY WORDS Local government, Municipal service delivery processes, Municipal service delivery challenges, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), pM&E (proactive M&E), eM&E (M&E system integrated with EWS components and therefore serves as an EWS), Early Warning System (EWS), Weak Signal Theory, Alienation, Alienation in local government context
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Wits School of Governance, 2017
Naing, Myo (2017) Early warning characteristics of monitoring and evaluation systems on the "functionality" of municipal service delivery processes, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <https://hdl.handle.net/10539/23813>