Reviewing M & E for the Gauteng CBPWP directorateS&T was commissioned to review the monitoring system and evaluation strategy of the Community Based Public Works Programme Gauteng Directorate. Senior Partner Moagi Ntsime, who managed the project, outlines the project and its main findings.
The Community Based Public Works Programme (CBPWP) directorate
within the Provincial Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works
(DPTRW), in Gauteng undertook various policy initiatives intended to realign
the programme for the 2000/2001 year. Most of the initiatives of the directorate
took into consideration some of the strategic developments within the
realigned national CBPWP.
Key activities and changes in the province included the
following (amongst others):
- realignment of delivery mechanisms in the province;
- adoption of an integrated approach to infrastructure delivery;
- review of financial procedures;
- adoption of a new provincial targeting strategy, taking into consideration
the current demarcation boundaries in the province; and
- reviewing the monitoring and evaluation system within the directorate.
The need for an M & E review
Some of the activities outlined above had a higher priority
than others. The M & E review was considered an urgent activity –
if not a necessity - if the impact of the programme was to be measured
both regularly and accurately.
S&T was commissioned by the Gauteng CBPWP Directorate
to review its current monitoring and evaluation requirements and the capacity
required to ensure the efficient functioning of the system.
Purpose of the review
The monitoring and evaluation review focused on the following
aspects of the system:
- review the reporting requirements and data path from project level
- assess capacity requirements of users as well as data use for management
- assess the frequency and accuracy of data capturing, reporting and
- assess whether there is a uniform M & E reporting system for the
- based on the findings of the review, design an M & E framework
for the Directorate.
The review used two methods: documentation review and in-depth
interviews. For the first, we relied mostly on key strategic documents
within the directorate. For the second, we developed structured guidelines
about current M & E practices and needs in consultation with the Directorate.
These were used to conduct in-depth interviews with key players within
Firstly, monitoring was taking place within the Directorate,
albeit in a less systematic fashion than required. We also noted that
there were challenges were M&E were concerned, and some of these are
We found a lack of uniformity in terms of what project co-ordinators
(departmental officials responsible for project monitoring) were expected
to do and/or monitor within the existing framework. As a result, in many
instances a great deal of the information collected at project level did
not serve the monitoring function.
Also, while some of the information was reported on regularly,
the responsibility of reporting was located outside the directorate and
with project managers (who were independent consultants). As a result,
most of the monitoring data were not situated within the directorate but
with these outside service providers. These raised questions about strengthening
and developing the capacity of the directorate to function better and
take ownership of the data.
Inaccuracy of data was fairly common. While some of the
service providers tried to report on the actual performance of the projects,
others did not update their data; often the data reported on were inaccurate
and inconsistent. If the programme needed to be moved in a particular
direction to maximise the impact or deal with unforeseen problems, it
would be extremely difficult - and misleading - to do this on the basis
of inaccurate and inconsistent data.
Furthermore, we noted that data analysis and tracing emerging
trends in the programme did not seem to take place. The only analysis
that we were informed about related to minutes and scanty reports written
by outside consultants, which often did not focus on key impact issues
relating to the programme.
We noted three key areas or levels of reporting and monitoring
within the directorate. Firstly, the pre-implementation or baseline data;
in other words, business plan data that needed to be separated from ongoing
regular monitoring of the project progress and performance. This mostly
referred to information captured on a once-off basis, for example, envisaged
number of beneficiaries, intended jobs to be created, and overall project
budget and so on. We stressed the importance of recording such targets
and using it as the baseline against which performance can be measured
(and for the use of programme evaluators).
The second level we identified was at project level. We
specified indicators to be reported against and thus monitored at that
level. For example, regular administering of a wage register to capture
the number of people employed and their demographics, days worked, wage
rates and so on.
The third level was at directorate and management level.
The frequency of reporting, the type of information reported on, the report
format, analysis and management of the programme using M&E outputs
were some of the issues that were recommended to the directorate.
It is important that monitoring and evaluation be viewed
as an integral part of the entire programme cycle. It should not be viewed
by those implementing the programme as an additional administrative burden,
separate from the programme outputs and deliverables.
As such, for the recommendations to be realised it is important
that the following activities be carried out by the Directorate:
- Firstly, conduct a workshop with all key members of the Directorate
responsible for project implementation, management and monitoring to
understand the ethos and culture of M & E and allow them space and
scope to make informed inputs.
- Secondly, to design a simple, user-friendly and uniform tool for recording
and analysing data for the Directorate. This system would assist the
Directorate in producing regular reports pertinent to their needs and
- Linked to the above would be to ensure that if a monitoring system
were to be introduced, it must not lose its social and developmental
component. For this to succeed, it would be important that the process
of developing and designing the M & E system is an integrated process
involving M & E specialists as well as (but not driven by) IT/software
- It is important to put timeframe for the entire process of designing
and developing an M & E system. Sufficient resources need to be
sourced for the development and capacity building processes.
- Finally, implementing a fully developed M & E system would require
a training component. Therefore, it would be important for the M &
E specialists to develop an M & E training manual that would be
used by those involved in the implementation and monitoring of the programme.
This would contain generic M & E principles as well as specific
elements of the system.