Strategy, Operations and Compliance
The engine room supporting the NPA’s new trajectory
As the NDPP highlighted when she addressed the Chief Directors on the DNDPP’s first day in office, SOC is the engine room of the NPA. SOC “keeps the show on the road”, inter alia, by ensuring that salaries are paid; vacancies are filled; labour disputes are resolved; dishonest employees investigated and where appropriate, disciplined; accounts are paid; and that staff have chairs to sit on, desks to work at, and laptops and paper to write with. Without SOC the NPA’s operations will grind to a halt.
But SOC is about a lot more than operations and compliance. Uniquely, SOC has a bird’s-eye view of organisational performance across all Divisions and Business Units.
Its mandate includes assisting the NPA and its business units to develop strategies and to monitor progress against these plans across the entire organisation.
It exists also to ensure that there is adequate and effective internal communication, and that staff are always kept informed and engaged of all critical aspects that impact their working life.
The NPA has a crucial role to play restoring the rule of law and contributing to the country's socio-economic development, including protecting the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. SOC is here to fully undergird that process. The Administration of the NPA transitioned to become Strategy, Operations and Compliance (SOC) with the appointment of the DNDPP: SOC on the 1st of March 2021.
While the NDPP leads the process of developing the roadmap to guide the NPA to where it needs to go, SOC supports efforts to ensure that the organisation gets there. This requires a collaborative approach with other DNDPPs and Business Units to ensure a holistic implementation of the NPA’s Strategy and relevant compliance frameworks.
The Department has made significant progress in repositioning the strategic support role of SOC. In the first three months of this strategic repositioning, SOC has, especially, made important progress towards an enhanced delivery and support approach, more attuned to the organisation’s needs nationally and at the coal face of delivery in the regions.
Roles and Responsibilities
More than a name change, the SOC is a recognition that the NPA can only deliver on its ambitious mandate with effective and professional strategic and operational support. SOC is responsible for ensuring that the NPA is well governed and resourced so that it can deliver on its core mandate effectively, within budget, with proper oversight and reporting, and in line with the NPA’s strategy and values.
Not unlike the criminal justice system, the NPA has too often been operating in silos when it comes to strategy development and implementation. This sets the NPA up for failure. SOC must support and drive initiatives aimed at enhancing strategy implementation, collaboration, and coherence.
While the NPA has made progress in implementing its 2020-25 strategy (e.g. internal promotions and appointments, revitalising the Aspirant Prosecutor Programme, introducing the community prosecution initiative, establishing the office for complaints and ethics (OCE)), the SOC manages and accelerates implementation and ongoing delivery on this strategy.
- Launch of SOC and new positioning at a strategic level. The component’s new mandate provides for much-needed coordination and oversight of strategy implementation.
- New structure, functioning and approach to Exco and Manco, including transparent reporting, decisions, and timely, professional, and predictable communication, through the ExCo and ManCo Decisions and Update mailers.
- Elevated strategic role and functioning of Communications. This includes the development of a new communications strategy, focused on developing in-house digital platforms balanced with traditional media platforms to engage its publics, internally and externally. The increased use of innovative communication platforms, and more regular communications to staff on key issues is a game-changer in motion. To this end, we have recently added YouTube to the current NPA’s social media repertoire, which includes Twitter and Facebook. An internal YouTube channel helps overcome some of the challenges with access to the NPA server by our prosecutors on the DoJ server.
- The new Ithala (intranet) was launched on Monday 5 July. Working in partnership with ISM, the objective was to ensure a more dynamic and interactive site with more fresh content, including current news, including live streams from relevant news platforms, media releases and updates from the NPA Twitter and Facebook pages. In this way SOC has mproved access to internal communication platforms as staff will now be able to access the intranet via Teams from wherever they are, including on their phones and other hand devices.
- Works with HRD on recruitment which remains a priority as well as creating much needed capacity in priority areas.
- The development of an organisation-wide cultural enhancement initiative includes the development of a comprehensive harassment policy, which was tabled before ManCo on 9 July 2021. The cultural enhancement and capacitation initiatives will address the many ongoing concerns from staff about unfair labour practices, workplace harassment, and inadequate human resources.
- Implementation of a Microsoft Business Intelligence System: a management reporting solution, with the appointment of a service provider for technical support. The system, designed for standardised reporting with the ability for further data interrogation, is being piloted in NPS. MS Teams has the functionality for task scheduling, which is now available for all to use. The IJS ECMS project in the development of High Court Digital Docket, which entails the referral of dockets from the lower courts to the high court for enrolment, is in progress.
Adv. Anton du Plessis
Adv. Karen Van Rensburg
Hanika van Zyl