PDG undertakes both national scale policy work relating to public finance and work directly for municipalities on financial planning. The national scale policy field includes advising national bodies (particularly DCoG and National Treasury) on policy with respect to tariffs, property rates, capital and operating grant mechanisms etc as well as support to clients with the roll-out of policy. Work directly for municipalities typically involves the application of financial models; PDG has developed a series of financial models including infrastructure investment planning tools, models aimed at projections of the financial viability of municipal services undertakings, and tariff setting tools.
Practice area leader:
This practice area aims to improve the provision of water services in Southern Africa by working with national government clients in the areas of legislative reform, institutional reform and regulation strategy; undertaking financial analysis of water services provision in municipalities and water services providers; and participating directly in reform and improved governance initiatives.
PDG has been active in the Water Sector in Southern Africa for the past 22 years, undertaking a wide range of projects involving policy and strategy development, institutional reform, local government restructuring, regulation, pricing, sector reviews, grant and finance policies and processes, project evaluations, water demand assessments, water services development planning, financial viability analysis, teaching and workshop facilitation. Through these projects, PDG has played a leading role in assisting the South African government to develop the policy, legislative, institutional and financial frameworks that govern the sector. PDG has also undertaken consulting work in the water sector in Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Zambia. These experiences serve to enrich our consulting offering in South Africa as well an enable South African experience to be translated into other contexts.
The urban systems practice area focuses on the interaction between land, housing, infrastructure and public transport, with a focus on how these are financed. Our interest is in how cities function to facilitate the flow of people and resources. We undertake research, policy development, and financial analysis around housing, land, spatial planning, urban economics, infrastructure services, public transport, public services, and environmental sustainability. We are therefore able to perform a niche role of providing consulting services around a full suite of public sector functions to clients that are tasked with integrating these functions, as well as those that have a larger policy perspective.
Environment and Sustainability
The environmental practice area undertakes projects that provide strategic environmental policy advice. The practice area focuses on the use of economic, financial and market instruments for environmental management and planning. PDG also has significant project experience in environmental policy development. Specific focus areas are integrating ecological infrastructure into municipal planning processes, and urban sustainability. Increasingly, our work in this practice reflects a systems approach to sustainability, with a focus on linkages and is becoming progressively integrated with our other practice areas.
Institutional Development and Inter-governmental Relations
This practice area aims to support the evolution of a sound framework for public institutions with specific attention to the relationships between them and the private sector. In dong this PDG builds on considerable experience with intergovernmental relations and the powers and functions of the spheres and tiers and government with effective regulation being a central part of the framework. Municipalities, due to their number and diversity, have received specific attention under past PDG projects, playing a central role in the functioning of the government system and ultimately development in South Africa. PDG supports this area by working intensely in the policy areas relating to the inter-governmental system, regulation of local government activities, the role of parastatals and the interface with the private sector and civil society. Emphasis is placed on sound research and policy analysis aimed at improving the efficiency of service provision, benefiting all communities and enterprises.
Monitoring and Evaluation
PDG’s M&E practice focuses on strengthening monitoring and evaluation in the public sector in order to facilitate evidence-based learning, performance improvement and broader societal accountability. PDG has contributed to the development of public sector evaluation practice nationally by designing a quality assessment system and an evaluation management information system for all evaluations commissioned within the National Evaluation System (NES). PDG has developed M&E systems and frameworks and undertaken a number of flagship evaluations for national and provincial government. Through our history of work in local government, we have also acquired unique expertise in understanding the M&E environment of municipalities and the local government system as a whole. We take a collaborative approach in our M&E work, making sure our work is useful and responsive to clients’ needs. We have a passion for skills development and maximising the learning value that clients derive from our work. Our M&E practice cuts across all our sector expertise and utilises a diverse array of tools and methodologies to deliver quality results. Our staff are active members of the South African Monitoring & Evaluation Association (SAMEA).
Public Sector Governance
The focus of the PSG practice area is to support public sector institutions improve their internal governance arrangements as their governance responsibilities and obligations grow. This relates specifically to improving transparency, accountability and ultimately service delivery through improved internal governance systems. It requires and understanding of roles and responsibilities between executive and administrative leadership, where roles are often blurred, as well as the implications of the King Code of Governance on the public sector. The practice area aims to support national government as they support municipalities and also work with government departments and donor agencies to promote public sector ethics, anti-corruption activities and improve accountability in public sector governance.
This practice area supports municipalities to strengthen their internal systems and contribute towards democratic and accountable local government. This includes supporting municipalities to fulfil their legal mandate with respect to municipal systems, for example the establishment of Performance Management Systems (PMS) in accordance with the Municipal Systems Act (2000) and national regulations. To this end, PDG has been extensively involved in developing PMS in local government in South Africa, since 2001. This includes facilitating strategic planning and policy development within municipalities, developing tools to assist in implementing systems as well as providing strategic and technical support in the area of employee performance management. In addition to providing direct support to municipalities, the practice area also undertakes research and policy analysis as well as assessments of municipal performance at provincial and national levels. There is a degree of overlap and cross-interaction with the M&E practice areas where the two draw on and utilize the experiences, tools and expertise in each area.