Factors affecting management of budgets at a department in the Western Cape government, South Africa
Budgets are inevitable strategic tools used in the planning of the effective delivery by any organisation. In a sense budgets become the financial interpretation of work, services or products to be produced or services to be delivered by the organisation. In the same vein, government departments have plans and programmes to be implemented, and these programmes are quantified in the form of budgets. The budgeting processes are determined by the strategic imperatives and the type of leadership in an organisation, thereby differing from organisation to organisation. The traditional approach in government budgeting is that the activities to be undertaken start as political decisions which will be cascaded down to the different departments. Though the different department units construct their own budgets, the ultimate budget comes top down more than it comes top up. This research aims to identify the extent of the involvement of budget managers in the budget development process and the possible limiting factors if any. The study goes further to try to understand why there is always a seeming perpetual difference between budgets and deliveries at the end of every year. This empirical research focussed on the ‘budget practitioners’ in the particular department under study with emphasis on how they operate. Questionnaires were used to collect data which was analysed using Excel Spreadsheet and the findings were interpreted. The findings imply a need for extensive training as well as empowerment of the budget practitioners to be able to create congruence between budgets, budgeting processes, project implementation and envisage delivery to the citizens.