This report will explain the concept of democratization in the context of service delivery with relevant public sector examples. The report will also explain systems theory in the context of South African Government organizations and will argue how it can be applied successfully to address poverty and inequality. Besides this, it will critically discuss the role of both the Public Protector and the Auditor General with regards to the provision of public services by the Government with examples. Moreover, a framework for organizational learning will be applied to inefficient public service delivery along with identifying how the state can improve the delivery of public services using this framework. Apart from this, the report will also discuss the best management practice in the dissemination of municipal public policies and will find how this management practice makes public management more efficient.
Democratization can be defined as the transition to full democracy from an authoritarian regime. In November 2015, the policy dialogue of democracy and service delivery takes place in South Africa(Asmerom and Reis, 2016:2). The main purpose of democratization was to address the complex relationship and difficulties between service delivery and democracy. It deals with the inequality faced by the people and religions in accessing service delivery. The concept is concerned with the challenges of service delivery for improving democratic performance so that it can reflect on the well-being of citizens (Asmerom and Reis, 2016:2). The concept of democratization in the context of service delivery is related to providing and allowing people to access affordable medical treatment and other related services. Many organizations and institutes have earned a lot of profit in the health care industry.
The market has allowed and helps various powerful organizations and groups to achieve their goal unofficially. For example, many big organizations had earned a profit in the field of health care while the cost of treatment and service delivery increased out of control. As a result of the increase in costs, many people were not able to afford the services. Moreover, the number of people increased having no medical coverage. The basic concept of democratization is that providing medical services and care to people at an affordable price so that any person either of the middle class or lower class, everyone can access health care services (Tang and Smith 2016:12). People should not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, and caste for accessing service delivery. Democratization provides the freedom to people and will help in understanding the challenges and complexities of service delivery. Moreover, it will help in engaging with regional and national strategies along with exploring the legitimacy of democracy for achieving better service delivery.
Systems theory offers a framework with the help of which community psychologist examines the relationship of an individual with that of society and community. It is also called a systems framework(Cumming and Allen, 2017:3). According to this theory, an individual's development is effective by various things including the surrounding environment of an individual. This theory has divided the person’s environment and identified five systems. The five systems are Microsystem, Mesosystem, Exosystem, Macrosystem, and Chronosystem.
Microsystem: This system refers to different groups and institutes that have a direct and immediate impact on the development of the child. It includes neighborhood, religious groups, schools, families, etc.
Mesosystem: This system is interconnected with the microsystem. Child peers and family or family and teachers are some of the examples of this system (Cumming and Allen, 2017:3).
Exosystem: This system differs from others as it does not involve the child. In this system there is a link between social settings for example, the experience of the child at his/her home is directly linked with the parent's experience at their work. And due to their bad experience, their interaction with their child differs. The pattern of interaction of parents with their child changes according to their experience at work (Herselman, Botha, Mayindi and Reid, 2018:6).
Macrosystem: This system describes the principles of the culture that influences child development. These cultures also consist of the microsystem and mesosystem in it. The culture changes with changes in traditions, poverty, socioeconomic status, and geographical location.
This system evolves from one generation to another as well as across time. In this system, the cultural group members may share common values, heritage, and identity.
Chronosystem: This system consists of a transition and environmental events pattern over changing socio-historical circumstances and life course. Changing socio-historical circumstances can be explained through an example such as an increase in opportunities for pursuing a career for women in the last thirty years. Family interaction becomes more stable and less messy after two years of divorce while in the first year of divorce, a negative effect on the child is on the peak is an example of this system (Herselman, Botha, Mayindi and Reid, 2018:6).
The systems theory can be used to address poverty and inequality in many ways. It is well known that an individual is responsible for their poverty system. Poverty and inequality are related to each other. According to the systems theory, an individual's development is vastly affected by the surrounding environment. If the surrounding environment is good and supports an individual to grow, then it will become easy to reduce poverty and inequality among people (Herselman, Botha, Mayindi and Reid, 2018:6). In a broad context, children should be provided with a culture where everyone is treated as equal. The surrounding environment of an individual should be such that they get equal opportunity to grow and evolve day by day. Poverty and inequality sometimes run in hand in hand and to reduce it, an individual needs to create a positive environment where hard work and dedication to work pays off. Systems theory can help an individual to identify where he/she is lacking. For addressing the concerns related to poverty and inequality, narrow things of society and an individual is needed to be changes (Cumming and Allen 2017:3).
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 has prescribed the functions for the Public Protector. The functions of the Public protector includes the following things; to investigate any conduct either in public administration or in states affair in any domain of administration, that is suspected or supposed to be inappropriate or to result in prejudice or impropriate. The role of the Public protector is to report the conduct, investigate that conduct, and take appropriate actions for remedies. The Public Protector Act, 23 of 1994 consist of the function and power of the Public Protector in section 6 (4) (Mbiada, 2017:5). Public Protector's main role is to defend and support democracy. It is one of the six independent state institutions in South Africa set up by the constitution of the country. They protect the public and investigate matters related to improper acts related to law, administration, public money, and affairs of government. They are also responsible for strengthening the democracy of the country by ensuring that all the organs of the states are responsive, fair, and accountable to all the individuals and deliver the services equally (Mbiada, 2017:5).
For example, a public protector can investigate any person performing a public function like a policeman or an electoral officer. If a complaint is registered on the Public Protectors office against any policeman or any other person performing official duty regarding violation of the law, the public protector will investigate the matter and come to a result for protecting the law and welfare of the people. Public Protector also investigates companies and corporate where the states are involved as in the case of Eskom and Telkom. They also investigate statutory councils like council for scientific and industrial research or human science research council.
The role of the Auditor general is to audit and inspect as well as report the auditing at ones in the financial year. Auditor General is provided by unrestricted power to access all the documents so that he can investigate or question any individual to disclose any information related to the audit (Hatchard, 2018:8). He is provided by the power of investing matters related to public money, misuse of public money, or a waste of expenditure. Auditor General's main responsibility is to use public money in the best possible way. They also ensure that public money is not wasted or misused for individual benefits. Besides this, they are responsible for ensuring that the money is used for the benefits of society and that too in the best way possible. They carry out annual audits that help the parliament to manage the public funds and resources (Hatchard, 2018:8).
For example, they conduct a performance audit of public service officers and teaching service members. The power elated to Auditor General includes accessing storage of information device, gathering information power, audit dispense, appointing an auditor on his behalf to conduct an audit, and advise Governor-General to appoint a registered public accountant for auditing purpose.
The framework has two sections namely determinants of learning (independent factors) and processes of learning (dependent factors).Institutional learning is divided into four parts that are knowledge, feedback, reflection, and adaption. In the framework there are three types based on the content of knowledge which is as follows:
Strategic knowledge: knowing about the mission, vision, objective of the department, and effects that are expected from the department(Argote and Hora, 2017:1).
Operational Knowledge: Knowing operational knowledge about procedures and tools that help the organization to act smoothly, as well as on-time and following all the regulations.
Contextual Knowledge: This about knowing the environment of the department under which it is operating, understanding policies, relations, and trends of the field in which the department has its expertise (Reddick, Chatfield and Ojo, 2017:10).
Another element in the framework is feedback which acts as a central mechanism. It helps the organization to identify whether the particular activity worked or not and whether it needs to be redefined or not.
This framework of organizational learning can be used to improve the delivery of public services. The state can use this framework to identify where they are lacking in providing services to citizens. This framework will help in finding how the services are delivered along with the reason for failure as reflected in economic outcomes and poor social conditions. Using this framework of organizational learning, the service delivery mechanism can be transformed and can be improved for delivering services. For this, it is required that the mindset of the bureaucracy is changed and the various services should reach the people at the right time as they deserve. The state can develop strategic and contextual knowledge which means they can first identify what they are doing and why they are doing (Singhsomransukh and Heo, 2017:11).
It will help in generating dedication towards the work and help them in realizing their duties towards the citizens. It is the right of every individual that services are delivered to them what they deserve. They can involve people in service delivery and can find or ask about its feedback using the framework. Asking for feedback will help in improving the system or mechanism of service delivery. Moreover, the service delivery to the poor's is needed to be mentioned as they are completely dependent on the public services for their survival. Using the framework of organizational learning, the state can aware of the people as the service delivery quality is adversely affected by lack of empowerment, low level of awareness among people, and less knowledge about their rights (Argote and Hora, 2017:1).
For effective and efficient communication of municipal public policies, the best management practice is the implementation of sustainable development practices through community leaders, CDCs (community development committees), smaller groups like women leaders, youth leaders, elders council and men's league to organize community general meetings, seminars, training, workshops, also the use of handbills, posters and media as well as questionnaires for feedback or monitoring and control. The use of such groups will ensure transparency and effective dissemination of information on community development projects such as training, available jobs, developmental projects, cooperative society, local content, etc.
These will also ensure a quick response from citizens where their contributions and suggestions are needed (Hyndman and Lapsley, 2016:7).
Moreover, in terms of the dissemination of municipal public policies, there is a need to consider the urban and rural dimensions also. In rural areas, community-based engagement at the village level is beneficial as this promotes bottom-up feedback of public policies. Citizen engagement makes processes of public engagement effective but this requires proper documentation of people's input. For urban areas, innovative technological multi-media approach such as the use of WhatsApp, advertisements, and other social media platforms. With regard to value for money, this is a low cost than printing documents. The advantage is that the message will reach to every individual. Besides this, the approach for Public policy-making and dissemination is dependent on the nature and situation of the country (Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2017:8).
In underdeveloped countries, Public policy-making and dissemination should follow a vertical reciprocal approach both in the making and in the dissemination to ensure the active involvement of both the public policymakers, the government, and the citizens. This is more of an improved development-participatory management approach. The reason for this approach is that, if it flows top-down, then the public policy becomes an imposition and if it flows bottom-up; then there would be tendencies of non-implementation of public policies because of the requirements of the people might be beyond government fiscal capability. However, this approach will aid in both policymaking, policy supervision and policy evaluation as each party is fully integrated on an equal basis in the policy processes (Hyndman and Lapsley, 2016:7).
It can be concluded that the concept of democratization was briefly discussed in the context of service delivery with relevant public sector examples. Democratization can be defined as the transition to full democracy from an authoritarian regime. The main purpose of democratization in context with service delivery was to engage with the complex relationship and difficulties between service delivery and democracy. The report has also explained systems theory in the context of South African Government organizations. Moreover, comments related to how systems theory can be applied successfully to address poverty and inequality has also been discussed. Besides this, the report has critically discussed the role of both the Public Protector and the Auditor General with regards to the provision of public services by the Government with examples. Moreover, a framework for organizational learning has been applied to inefficient public service delivery along with identifying how the state can improve the delivery of public services using this framework. Apart from this, the report has also discussed the best management practice in the dissemination of municipal public policies and will find how this management practice makes public management more efficient.
Argote, L. and Hora, M. 2017. Organizational learning and management of technology. Production and Operations Management, 26(4), pp.579-590.
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Hatchard, J. 2018. The Role, Independence and Accountability of the Auditor General: A Comparative Constitutional Analysis. Denning LJ, 30, p.51.
Herselman, M., Botha, A., Mayindi, D. and Reid, E. 2018, August. Influences of the ecological systems theory influencing technological use in rural schools in South Africa: A case study. In 2018 International Conference on Advances in Big Data, Computing and Data Communication Systems (icABCD) (pp. 1-8). IEEE.
Hyndman, N. and Lapsley, I. 2016. New public management: The story continues. Financial Accountability & Management, 32(4), pp.385-408.
Mbiada, C.J.T. 2017. The Public Protector as a mechanism of political accountability: the extent of its contribution to the realisation of the right to access adequate housing in South Africa. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal/PotchefstroomseElektronieseRegsblad, 20(1).
Pollitt, C. and Bouckaert, G. 2017. Public management reform: A comparative analysis-into the age of austerity. London: Oxford University Press.
Reddick, C.G., Chatfield, A.T. and Ojo, A. 2017. A social media text analytics framework for double-loop learning for citizen-centric public services: A case study of a local government Facebook use. Government Information Quarterly, 34(1), pp.110-125.
Singhsomransukh, S. and Heo, D. 2017. Gamification of knowledge sharing practices: A proposed conceptual framework for organizational learning. In Proceedings of the 14th international conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management &Organisational Learning (ICICKM 2017) (pp. 232-235).
Tang, P.C. and Smith, M.D. 2016. Democratization of health care. Jama, 316(16), pp.1663-1664.
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