Programme Management: Limpopo Department of Education, South Africa

The Limpopo Department of Education (LDoE) has more than 4,200 school facilities in its infrastructure asset portfolio that need to be maintained.

Current backlogs, in terms of education norms and standards, need to be identified and, subsequently, programmes have to be developed and implemented to address this backlog. Moreover, these programmes must align with the LDoE’s project priorities and budgets for every financial year.

The Aurecon JV is the appointed Programme Manager for the LDoE to assist in all aspects of planning and implementation of its annual school capital expenditure budget of approximately USD 100 million. This programme maintains and monitors the life-cycle maintenance of all the school facilities in the Department’s infrastructure asset portfolio and plans as well as the implementation of some 250 (plus) new projects per annum.

The Programme Management Unit (PMU) assistance to the LDoE was developed in terms of the Infrastructure Delivery Management System (IDMS) which was developed by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

To align the activities of the PMU with the IDMS model an organogram was developed based on the extent of work (number of projects and budget) and the list IDMS activities that required the assistance of the PMU.

All procurement and payment of service providers and contractors is managed directly by the LDoE.

During the peak of operations, a dedicated team of some 35 engineers, programme and project managers, construction monitors and occupational health and safety officers were employed on the project.

PMU Innovations

In order to monitor and report against programme and project objectives, Aurecon implemented a web based tool – the Education Facility Management System (EFMS):

  • The EFMS was implemented and populated to enable the LDoE and Implementing Agents to report live on programme and project status:
    - 5 500 projects were uploaded into the EFMS system
    - The total education portfolio of 4 200 facilities was uploaded into the system
  • The EFMS is now hosting the total infrastructure portfolio of the LDoE. This enables the LDoE to access facility data from one central host.
  • Implementing Agents and LDoE personnel were trained and therefore capacitated in operating the EFMS.
  • Standard reports can be generated from the EFMS which enables the LDoE to report effectively and accurately to the National Treasury, Provincial Treasury, National Department of Education and the Premier’s Office.
  • The EFMS also provides a standard reporting format custom-made for the LDoE whereby Implementing Agents were reporting financial and construction progress on their different programmes.
  • An occupational health and safety (OHS) reporting process was introduced and implemented which mitigated the risk for the LDoE in terms of OHS. No formal process previously existed.
  • Due to the implementation of the IDMS processes, the LDoE was, for the first time, in a position to submit planning reports up to 2014.
  • The most comprehensive asset register to date, compiled by the LDoE, was generated from data extracted from the EFMS and PMU Payment Registers in March 2012.
  • The development of an acceptable asset register has also saved the LDoE the expense of another appointment to develop an asset register or the cost to do so internally with additional capacity.

Other significant achievements of the PMU

  • The involvement of the PMU in improving the asset register is assisting the LDoE to move from a disclaimer of opinion in 2009/2010 towards an unqualified audit opinion for its asset register in 2011/2012.
  • The National Education Department visited construction sites during December 2011 and indicated that the quality of work ranked amongst the best compared to other provinces. The construction cost of a comparable facility was also 20% below similar projects in Gauteng.
  • More than 250 facilities were assessed and scoped for future project implementation as part of the IDMS planning.
  • Out of the 207 projects implemented directly by LDoE in the previous financial year, 200 projects were completed within budget and within the timeframe without any variation orders. This was achieved by comprehensive bi-weekly site visits by site monitors and six weekly visits by occupational health and safety officers.
  • Because of the cleaning of data relevant to historical projects, the PMU was able to produce an asset register through the EFMS where only 5% of expenditure could currently not be allocated to a specific facility. Previously the same figure was approximately 30%. The figure of 5% will still decrease as the cleaning of data continues.
  • A major achievement was the cleaning of data relevant to 3 500 projects, to enable the LDoE to transfer these projects back to the Limpopo Department of Public Works (the custodian of these facilities).

Benefits to the Department

Some of the benefits to the department of the project have been the following:

  • Delivering projects within budget and time parameters in a transparent manner.
  • Assisting the Department to comply with relevant national infrastructure planning policies.
  • Updating the Department’s asset register and inventory.
  • Improving the accuracy of planning and reporting.

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