SMS Competency Framework

The introduction of the SMS Competency Framework is key in ensuring that the South African Public Service achieves its objective of professionalising the Public Service, especially at the Senior Management level. The SMS Competency Framework will assist in ensuring a consistent approach to human performance throughout the Public Service from National to Provincial levels, and thus help to drive and support all human performance initiatives.

In developing the SMS Competency Framework focus was placed on critical generic competencies, which senior managers would be expected to possess, rather than functional/technical competencies, which are essential to a specific department or a specific job. The SMS Competency Framework consists of a set of eleven generic competencies that communicate what is expected of Senior Managers. In addition, this Framework seeks to establish a shared understanding of the critical success factors for performance in the Senior Management Service. This Framework does not describe the functions or responsibilities of particular senior management levels for example manager, senior manager or director, chief director, etc. However, they are based on the requirements for the whole of the Senior Management Service in both its current and emerging form.

A Competency Framework is the foundation for, and a key driver of effective Human Resource Management. It describes the activities and behaviours of employees using a common set of terms and scales, thus creating a common language across HR processes. Having the knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes described in one place in a competency model is a helpful tool that allows both the individual and the organisation to know what knowledge and skills are needed to be effective in a given role.

The components of the SMS Competency Framework

COMPETENCY NAME Name used to identify the Senior Manager’s behaviour or groupings of behaviours
COMPETENCY DEFINITION General description of behaviours and activities that must be demonstrated by Senior Managers to achieve the desired competency
PROFICIENCY LEVEL Description of the degree to which a Senior Manager has mastered the criteria of a competency. The competency scale classifies observable and measurable behaviours (behavioural indicators) sequentially. Individual progresses through the hierarchy by mastering the knowledge, skills, behaviours, or outcomes required at the level below

The competencies that appear in the SMS Competency Framework are in no order of importance to the role of senior managers in the South African Public Service. All the following competencies are viewed as being critical for high performance in the senior manager’s role:

  1. Strategic Capability and Leadership;
  2. Programme and Project Management;
  3. Financial Management;
  4. Change Management;
  5. Knowledge Management;
  6. Service Delivery Innovation;
  7. Problem Solving and Analysis;
  8. People Management and Empowerment;
  9. Client Orientation and Customer Focus;
  10. Communication;
  11. Honesty and Integrity;

Proficiency levels

Proficiency Level Description
Basic APPLIES BASIC CONCEPTS AND METHODS BUT REQUIRES SUPERVISION AND COACHING.
Competent INDEPENDENTLY DEVELOPS AND APPLIES MORE ADVANCED CONCEPTS AND METHODS. PLANS AND GUIDES THE WORK OF OTHERS. PERFORMS ANALYSIS.
Advanced UNDERSTANDS AND APPLIES MORE COMPLEX CONCEPTS AND METHODS. LEADS AND DIRECTS PEOPLE OR GROUPS OF RECOGNISED SPECIALISTS. ABLE TO PERFORM IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS.
Expert SOUGHT OUT FOR DEEP, SPECIALISED EXPERTISE. LEADS THE DIRECTION OF THE ORGANISATION. DEFINES MODEL/THEORY.

Copyright RSA Department of Public Service and Administration: SMS Handbook - Chapter 5: Competency Framework (2003).


External Links

Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), Republic of South Africa

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