S&T Monitoring Systems S&T's senior partner David Everatt looks at the growth of S&T, from a new player to the key provider of monitoring systems for anti-poverty programmes in South Africa and beyond.
S&T: the key player in monitoring systems in SA
In just two years, S&T has emerged as a leading provider of development
monitoring systems, in South Africa and beyond.
When S&T was founded two years ago, one of our main goals was to provide
a mechanism which would allow the tools of applied research to be situated
closer to the point of implementation and decision-making in development
projects, and anti-poverty programmes in particular. Monitoring mechanisms
were a key means of achieving this. They allowed us to combine our extensive
experience of survey and other quantitative research with development
delivery and management.
We found a situation where few other companies were focusing on monitoring
systems, and those that did so were fixated on high-tech equipment that
simply could not function in the context of anti-poverty programmes.
Government's monitoring systems were weak, and monitoring itself regarded
as an administrative function that could be handed over to secretaries.
This situation still obtains in many places. The result: weak monitoring
systems that did not fit the circumstances, and demotivated staff who
regarded monitoring either as policing or an irrelevance.
Since then, we have designed monitoring systems for the Labour Market
Skills Development Programme, the Labour Market Information and Statistics
Directorate in the Department of Labour, for the 'War on Poverty' of
the Department of Welfare (implemented by the Independent Development
Trust), and others. We run monitoring and evaluation studies for the
Department of Public Works, which includes a national quality of life
survey, verification studies to check monitoring data accuracy, and
fast turn-around diagnostics. We analyse the output of the monitoring
system for the Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Programme, South
Africa's largest infrastructure delivery vehicle. The Client Satisfaction
Tool, designed for Health Systems Trust to measure the attitudes of
patients to the health care system, is poised for broad implementation.
In Kenya, our baseline survey next year will also lead into a national
monitoring framework for development and civic education. The list goes
on, and S&T is extremely proud to be so heavily involved in a key aspect
Two years since S&T was founded, the situation is changing. The emphasis
on delivery - the hallmark of the current government - requires detailed
impact and performance monitoring, to know whether targets are being
met, and how efficient government, parastatals and partners are in delivering
In that time, S&T has consulted to a wide range of government departments
involved in delivery, and we serve on the programme management teams
of some of the key development programmes of government. This has culminated
in the huge national study currently under way, of developing a national
monitoring framework to serve Cabinet clusters. This was won by S&T
in a consortium including MXA, Simeka and Khanya, in a highly competitive
tender against some of big international financial and management companies
and their local counterparts.
Some departments have been badly burned, by consultants peddling extremely
expensive systems that look good on Powerpoint and fail completely in
the field. Many others have implemented internal performance monitoring,
through performance agreements. Slowly a culture of monitoring - as
a key part of management - is emerging within government. And S&T is
perfectly positioned to meet the demand for monitoring systems that
are affordable; that meet the needs of project implementors and workers
as well as managers; that provide reliable and accurate data in good
time; and that allow integration with evaluative strategies.