In 1999 the Department of Human Settlements was formed out of a split in the Department of Local Government and Housing.  This split provided the opportunity for a ‘ground up’ construction of the ‘Supply Chain Management’ (SCM) function in the Department that would be able to respond to the problems identified in Auditor General’s reports. The SCM unit transacts 86% of the Department’s 1.063 billion rand budget.

In the setup of the SCM Unit, 4 key factors have contributed to a successful story.  Firstly, appropriate personnel were appointed for all posts. It ensures ‘fit for purpose’ people to deal with challenges as they unfolded.  Secondly, a monitoring function was set up as a mechanism to ensure compliance with PFMA and Treasury requirements.  Thirdly, the Unit identified that Risk Management – though not organizationally located within the SCM Unit – was a critical factor to their success, and so they forged strong links to incorporate Risk early in the SCM cycle.  Fourthly, the Unit developed a procedures manual that defined the work of all aspects of the Unit, including turn-around time for processes and committee processes.  This resulted in organization-wide understanding of roles and responsibilities and expectations.

Although the SCM Unit is not at the coalface of housing delivery, it developed a concept of ‘self’ as central to the work and mandate of the Department as a whole, that is driven by values of both compliance and adaptation to the processes and procedures of Supply Chain Management (SCM). read more