'Practice makes perfect' – the significance of standardised methods and procedures in public administration : a case of the Madibeng Municipality

10 Oct 2019

Even though research on the determining and revision of methods and procedures as generic administrative functions matured in the late 1990s, there is a shortage of research on the significance of standard operating procedures in public administration in present-day local government. As a result, there is lack of knowledge of what the determining and revision of methods and procedures entail and the exact nature of standard operating procedures that municipalities implement. More often, researchers fail to adequately interpret the scope of methods and procedures, identify types of procedures, and recognise the significance of standardised methods and procedures at operational level in local governments. Consequently, the development and implementation of standard operating procedures are often reduced in practice to red tape or the excessive use of inflexible rules and regulations. The significance of methods and procedures is unfortunately underestimated and at times poorly expressed in public administration literature. With regard to the Driving Licence Testing Centre of the Madibeng Municipality, the lack of standardised methods and procedures results in unjustifiable delays in the issuing of driving licences and lengthy queues is a familiar sight. Also, staff of the Driving Licence Testing Centre can often not be held accountable for not upholding directive documents and guidelines. By implementing standardised methods and procedures, the Driving Licence Testing Centre of the Madibeng Municipality, fulfil its duties in terms of what is required to ensure driver fitness. This paper uses quantitative and qualitative data as well as document analysis of a specific case, the Madibeng Municipality, to explore the importance, nature and scope of the determining and revision of methods and procedures in public administration. It analyses and interprets responses to five statements posted to the respondents as well as dialogues from the follow-up interviews. The paper concludes with recommendations to the Madibeng Municipality. Keywords: Driving licence testing centre, Method, Procedure, Public administration, Standard operating procedure