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2 Preface This budget brief is one of four that explore the extent to which the national budget and social services sector budgets address the needs of children under 18 years in South Africa. The briefs analyse the size and composition of budget allocations for fiscal year 2017/18 as well as offer insights into the efficiency, effectiveness, equity and adequacy of past spending. Their main objectives are to synthesise complex budget information so that it is easily understood by stakeholders and to present key messages to inform financial decision-making processes. Key Messages and Recommendations Overall spending trends: Expenditure on social development programmes as a share of total government expenditure appears stable and averages around 13 per cent. Nonetheless, more work is required to reach all eligible social grant recipients and extend much-needed services to targeted beneficiaries. The government is encouraged to: 1. Expedite the process of developing a single overarching legislative framework; 2. Implement the widely accepted and Cabinet-backed ‘Social Protection Floor’; 3. Finalise the core set of services that will be funded as integral to the Social Protection Floor. Composition of spending: The government has done well to maintain the real value of children-specific grants such as the child support, the foster and care dependency grants. The government is encouraged to: 1. Convince the National Treasury that further expenditure reductions over the new 2017 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) baseline are not an option; 2. Protect the real spending power of social grants for children such that these grants can meet children’s nutrition and food diversity requirements; 3. Develop its legislative agenda to include service delivery norms and standards that can be used by provincial social development departments to anchor bids for additional funding for social welfare services. Equity of spending: Provincial Departments of Social Development (DSD) budgets are projected to grow at a real average annual rate of 0.2 per cent, which is not enough to cope with increasing demands for children’s services. The government is encouraged to: 1. Support the full spending of available resources on the Early Childhood Development (ECD) conditional grant so as to increase the number of qualifying ECD centres and young children accessing the ECD subsidy; 2. Publish service delivery norms and standards for key children’s programmes such as the Children and Families programme to eliminate large disparities in per-child spending; 3. Urgently introduce much-needed stability and certainty in the transfers to Non-profit Organisations (NPOs) to avoid any disruptions to key social welfare services.
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