The Plan-Do-Check-Act Cy­cle

Public Sector Manager - - Feature -

In his 2015-16 lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­dit out­comes re­port, Au­di­tor Gen­eral Kimi Mak­wetu stressed the im­por­tance of mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers us­ing the “plan, do, check and act” cy­cle to con­tin­u­ously im­prove the pro­cesses, out­comes and ser­vices of their mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

1. PLAN

Spend suf­fi­cient time and con­sult widely to clearly de­fine the tar­gets that should be achieved by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity in terms of au­dit out­comes, ser­vice de­liv­ery (in­clud­ing project de­liv­ery and in­fra­struc­ture main­te­nance) and fi­nan­cial health.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties should con­sult au­dit ac­tion plans, the new in­te­grated devel­op­ment plan, ser­vice de­liv­ery and bud­get im­ple­men­ta­tion plans, an­nual bud­gets, and main­te­nance and project plans.

These tar­gets should be spe­cific, mea­sur­able, achiev­able, rel­e­vant and time bound. Re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for achiev­ing the tar­gets should be al­lo­cated and suf­fi­cient time and re­sources should be pro­vided to en­sure that per­for­mance is man­aged through ro­bust in­ter­nal con­trol and strong fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.

2. DO

Good in­ter­nal con­trol is the key to en­sur­ing that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties de­liver on their pri­or­i­ties in an ef­fec­tive, ef­fi­cient and eco­nom­i­cal man­ner.

Mu­nic­i­pal man­agers, se­nior man­agers and mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials should em­brace the re­spon­si­bil­ity to im­ple­ment and main­tain ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient sys­tems of in­ter­nal con­trol.

Be­cause of this, the key po­si­tions of mu­nic­i­pal man­ager, CFO and head of the SCM unit should be filled with prop­erly skilled and qual­i­fied peo­ple. When these po­si­tions are sta­ble, au­dit out­comes tend to be good.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties with poor au­dit out­comes can strengthen their fi­nan­cial and per­for­mance man­age­ment through ef­fec­tive lead­er­ship, au­dit ac­tion plans, proper record keep­ing, daily and monthly dis­ci­plines, and re­view­ing and mon­i­tor­ing com­pli­ance.

3. CHECK

A key el­e­ment of in­ter­nal con­trol is mon­i­tor­ing by the dif­fer­ent as­sur­ance providers to en­sure in­ter­nal con­trols are ad­hered to, risks man­aged, and out­comes achieved.

“We urge the new ad­min­is­tra­tion to en­sure that all the as­sur­ance providers un­der­stand their roles, are equipped to per­form their func­tions and are given the au­thor­ity their role re­quires, and that the out­come of their mon­i­tor­ing and over­sight is ap­pro­pri­ately re­sponded to,” the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral said.

4. ACT

Ac­count­abil­ity means that those per­form­ing ac­tions or mak­ing de­ci­sions are an­swer­able for them.

It also means there should be con­se­quences for trans­gres­sions, lack of ac­tion and poor per­for­mance. Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties should im­ple­ment con­se­quence man­age­ment for of­fi­cials who fail to com­ply with ap­pli­ca­ble leg­is­la­tion, while ap­pro­pri­ate and timely ac­tion must be taken against trans­gres­sors.

All par­ties, in­clud­ing those charged with gov­er­nance and over­sight, should be pre­pared to act. This will re­sult in ac­count­abil­ity be­ing en­forced and con­se­quences in­sti­tuted against those who in­ten­tion­ally fail to com­ply with leg­is­la­tion.

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