In 2013, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) communicated to municipalities regarding the implementation of the Corporate Governance ICT Policy Framework. It became evident that the aforementioned ICT Policy Framework introduced to municipalities by the DPSA was too complex to be implemented within the municipal environment.
In 2014, the initiative was taken by the Western Cape Department of Local Government to lead the development of a new ICT Governance Policy designed specifically for municipalities. In true democratic spirit, it became a policy for municipalities by municipalities. The design of the new policy is a direct product of formal consultations which included all municipalities in the Western Cape – one of which was the Eden District Municipality.
Owing to Eden municipalities’ valuable past experience and knowledge in the area of good governance, the ICT Section could assist extensively in simplifying the proposed Framework Policy. Eden’s ICT Manager, Mr Koos Nieuwoudt, made a point of utilising a project dating back to 2006 in which The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) started an IT Governance Project with Eden DM. This project included the IT Governance Framework based on International Best Practices Standard, COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology). The International Standard establishes guidelines for initiating, implementing, maintaining, and improving information security management in an organisation.
To facilitate the construction of a fresh policy framework, Eden District Municipalities’ business processes were measured and assessed against COBIT control objectives. From this, extensive information was gathered and analysed in order to assist in the development of a framework policy which complies with the Best Practices Standard and is also conducive to a municipal environment. “This policy is now accepted as a standard for National as well as Provincial Departments”, said Mr Nieuwoudt.
At a recent MGRO gathering, representatives from local government thanked Eden District Municipality for assisting in the development of a framework that is simplified, easy to understand, and built for effective implementation. Another outcome from this project was Eden’s disaster recovery infrastructure, which is currently one of the best of its kind within the municipal environment.
What is IT Governance?
Information Technology Governance is a framework of a series of well-defined processes to ensure effective operations within the IT function, as well as operations that rely on IT to perform effectively.
There are various publicised ITG frameworks, such as COBIT, ITIL and ISO 17799 etc. Some are issue-specific e.g. security related, whereas other offer a broader scope of IT governance issues.
Eden DM Governance Project
In 2006, Eden DM accepted COBIT as a best practice framework. A project was initiated as a research project in collaboration with NMMU with the primary objective to analyse the current situation regarding information technology governance in municipalities and propose an IT Governance Framework to improve the situation. This project was conducted with specific emphasis on the Eden DM and its local municipalities. The primary objective of this project was to determine a strategic, practical and suitable governance framework for information technology in district and local municipalities.