Public human resource management involves all management decisions and practices that affect the people who work for a public institution such as a government department. The number of functions included as part of human resource management is potentially large depending on the institution and its needs. Within each functional area of human resource management, many activities must be accomplished so that the institution’s human resources can make an optimal contribution towards the achievement of institutional goals and objectives. Within this context, this course aims to provide an overview of the fundamentals of human resource management practices in the South African public sector and the private sector. Issues that will receive specific attention include integrated human resource practices, human resource provisioning, human resource maintenance, training, development and skills facilitation, leadership, team development, and performance management. You must bear in mind that this course is purely an orientation course and is, therefore an overview of human resources issues on the supervisory level. Sound knowledge about the various aspects can be acquired only by a thorough literature study, personal experience, and communication with knowledgeable officials. With the introduction of a training programme for local authorities, the question may arise: Why is there a need for guidance and training of middle and top management as well as councilors? They are, for all practical purposes, a select group who are, in fact, leaders in their respective towns, cities, and metropolitans - and more importantly, they are at present the persons who are determining the rate of development on local government level in terms of South Africa's transformation process. They are also taking care of the needs of the entire population. In answer to such a question, it can be said that the rapid changes in the macro and micro environments demand constant new skills, competencies, and capabilities. New management approaches and model are the results of such changes and are a determined effort to better equip modern managers for their dynamic functions. Since a local government also has to deal constantly with the issue of efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness, increasing pressure is placed on the management of local governments by the community to provide for the changing needs in a professional way.
It is not only the public who would like to see public services improved. Many dedicated public officials are frustrated by outdated systems and procedures which are often a barrier to good service rather than a support for it. It is essential that energy and skills of these officials are harnessed to tackle inefficient, outdated and bureaucratic practices, to simplify complex procedures, and to identify new and better ways of delivering services. The need for training in this context is obvious.