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Costing the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act, 2011 of Lesotho

Authors: Conrad Barberton, Jonathan Carter and Carmen Abdoll
Date: 2014-05-31

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This UNICEF-commissioned report provides a costing of the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act No. 7 of 2011 in order for the Government of Lesotho to make informed decisions regarding the phasing-in of the different services provided for in the Act. The costing exercise entailed the development of three scenarios. The Fixed Scenario envisions service provision to all children in need of care and protection, and provides a 20-year vision. Scenario 1 illustrates the costs of service provision to the baseline number of children, but in accordance with the norms and standards laid out in the Act, while Scenario 2 estimates the costs of increasing the governmental capacity to serve ten times the number of children as the baseline.

The Children’s Protection and Welfare Act No. 7 of 2011 of Lesotho forms an important part of the overarching strategy, The National Multisectoral Child Protection Strategy - 2014/15–2018/19, which outlines the vision for child protection in Lesotho. It is within this framework that the costing exercise is conducted and recommendations for prioritisation are made.

The study makes some interesting findings. Operation setup costs, along with the associated capacity development and training costs, are significant cost drivers in near-future implementation. In spite of this, the report argues that the levels of funding required fall well within the fiscal capacity of the government. Other findings include a lack of resources: staff require furniture and equipment, and vehicles are in short supply, making community contact difficult. The report recommends acquiring motorbikes as a possible solution to the transport issue.

Another major finding is that the provision made for maintenance of children in places of care is set at M100 per child per month. This falls far short of the actual required level of M2 822 per child per month, which means that the budgeted provision equates to roughly 3.5 per cent of the actual requirement. Intrying to resolve this, the report identifies a difficult trade-off between increasing the number of places of safety and improving the services in existing places of safety, to ensure that children are well cared for.

Based on the analysis, a list of suggested implementation priorities was developed (depicted below), top priority being given to the development of with systems, procedures and protocols. Training is also a high priority.

An analysis of overall expenditure allocations in the baseline revealed a means to improve the strategic focus of service delivery. A total overall Government expenditure rate of 0.32 per cent on CPWA-related services was calculated. Of this, M14.5 million was spent on services relating to children in conflict with the law, while M13.9 million was spent on services relating to protecting and assisting vulnerable children. This underlines the importance of early intervention programmes, especially since there are fewer children in conflict with the law than there are children who are vulnerable and in need of care and protection.

he report highlights the annual operational costs as the major cost driver of implementation, overshadowing even the operational setup costs. The annual operational costs are around M41 million at the baseline (Scenario 1), while in the fixed or full (Scenario 2) scenarios, they can reach as much as M1.4 billion. What is notable is that the resource gap between what the Ministry of Social Development requires in Scenario 1 (59 per cent relative share of expenditure on CPWA-related services) versus Scenario 2 (78 per cent) and the Fixed Scenario (93 per cent) is greater than for all other ministries. This indicates that the relative funding shortfall for the Ministry of Social Development in relation to its service delivery responsibilities is greater than for all other ministries.

The report recommends a phased and gradual implementation process, and provides the government with usable tools to cost and compare priorities, advise planning, and continually seek more cost-effective alternatives for delivery.