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Awards Committee Terms of Reference

  1. CONSIDERATIONS
  2. TERMS OF REFERENCE
  3. KEY FOCUS AREAS
  4. COMPOSITION OF THE AWARDS COMMITTEE
  1. CONSIDERATIONS

  2. 1.1 The Tourism Act allows the Minister to delegate the authority to establish a grading system for tourism establishments to the SAT Board which in turn has delegated the authority to the Awards Committee, which has a specific delegation of authority: “To grant authority to the person conducting the establishment to use and display, in respect of that establishment, the prescribed insignia, which shall include a depiction or depictions of a star or a number of stars which indicate the grading awarded in respect of that establishment in terms of the scheme”.

  3. 1.2 In terms of the assignment letter dated 17 June 2015 and in accordance with section 44(1) of the Tourism Act, 2014 (Act No. 3 of 2014) and as contemplated in section 30(2), the Minister, Mr. Derek Hanekom has assigned the functions of the Tourism Grading Council to the South African Tourism Board with effect from 1 July 2015.The tenure of the Awards Committee is one year.

  4. 1.3 The Chairperson of the Awards Committee is a member of the Board of SA Tourism and reports to the Board on the activities of the Awards Committee. The minutes of the quarterly Awards Committee meetings are included in the SA Tourism Board packs for the information of the directors of SA Tourism.

  5. 1.4 Based upon the significant increase in the number of graded establishments since the inception of the TGCSA in 2002, it is not practically possible for the Awards Committee, given the limitations of time (One 8-hr meeting per month), to 'authorise' the proposed quality grading of establishments. Up to five hundred establishments are submitted for review and authorisation at each of the Committee’s monthly meetings which renders it physically impossible to carry out the delegation of authority as set out above. This has entailed a ‘dip stick' approach based on star grading, size of establishment and members intervention to determine which properties are reviewed at the monthly meetings. It should also be pointed out that the Awards Committee has and will continue to spend a considerable amount of time on other issues which it is required to get involved in e.g. implementation of QiT (Quality in Tourism - the IT system used to process establishments).

  6. 1.5 The new QIT system, combined with a more rigorous performance management system has resulted in greater reliance on an assessor’s grading of an establishment and has reduced the incidence of "Grading to the plaque " or so-called “Soft Stars”. It must be said however there remains a challenge in achieving the necessary levels of objectivity and consistency and accuracy across the “Assessor” fraternity as a whole and this must be looked upon as work in progress.

  7. 1.6 There is evidence, based on the reduced number of rejections by the Awards Committee at each of its more recent meetings that greater reliance can be placed on the assessments carried out by the assessors and those assessors who are guilty of manipulating an assessment or not applying the minimum requirements and criteria objectively, resulting in an establishment being awarded a higher grade than it deserves, will be weeded or " Performance Managed" out.

  8. 1.7 The appointment of Provincial Master Assessors has assisted greatly in highlighting anomalies providing the assessor in question the opportunity to address areas of concern to the PMA.

  9. 1.8 The introduction of requests for “Dispensation” and “Grace periods” has also assisted in dealing with those establishments, which are unable to comply or fail to comply respectively with the minimum requirements and criteria under the new system at the time of the assessment. The Service Provider Agreements (SPA) signed with Assessors, provides an excellent tool which management can use to manage the performance of the assessors. At present, all assessors are in possession of a SPA which is valid until 31 March 2017.

  1. 2 TERMS OF REFERENCE

  2. 2.1 Given the considerations above, the Awards Committee, meets on a quarterly basis, as close as possible to the SA Tourism Board meetings.

  3. 2.2 The monthly and daily responsibility to ““To grant authority to the person conducting the establishment to use and display, in respect of that establishment, the prescribed insignia, which shall include a depiction or depictions of a star or a number of stars which indicate the grading awarded in respect of that establishment in terms of the scheme’ rests with the Executive Management (Exco) of SA Tourism, as led by the CEO, as per approved Delegation of Authority.

  4. 2.2.1 This monthly meeting, called, the Monthly Property Approvals Exco Meeting, will be chaired by the Chief Quality Assurance Officer.

  5. 2.2.2 The Chief Operating Officer of SA Tourism will be the second Exco Member that participates in these meetings.

  6. 2.2.3 The Monthly Property Approvals Exco Meeting requires the following people in attendance:
    • Operations Manager
    • Marketing and Communications Manager
    • Finance Manager
    • Provincial Master Assessors.

  7. 2.2.4 The specific agenda items to be considered at the Monthly Property Approvals Exco Meetings are as follows:

  8. 2.2.4.1 To review and consider motivations for star grading applications for New and Renewal properties as submitted by Assessors through the QiT system. This includes cancellations, downgrades, upgrades and failed properties.

  9. .2.4.2 To review and consider requests for Dispensation or Grace Periods submitted by establishments, which cannot, at the time of the assessment, meet the Minimum Requirements and/or Grading Criteria applicable to the category and grading in question.

  10. 2.2.4.3 To review the performance of Assessors in line with monthly targets.

  11. 2.3 The Role of the Awards Committee is:
  12. 2.3.1 To closely monitor the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the grading system and to make recommendations to the Chief Quality Assurance Officer, the CEO and when necessary the Bboard of SA Tourism, on any improvements or changes in policy, procedures and processes that would, in the opinion of the Awards Committee enhance the acceptance and effectiveness of the grading system and/or address any stakeholder concerns.

  13. 2.3.2 To review and update the Grading Minimum Requirements for the TGCSA Star Grading System for each Category and Star Grading Level of graded establishment.

  14. 2.3.3 To review and update the Grading Criteria for the TGCSA Star Grading System for each Category and Star Grading Level of graded establishment.

  15. 2.3.4 To oversee a tri-annual formal review process of the Minimum Requirements and Grading Criteria referred to in 2.3.2 and 2.3.3 above and ensure that there is appropriate stakeholder consultation and involvement in the process.

  16. 2.3.5 To receive and decide upon appeals received from establishments appealing against the grading awarded to them.

  17. 2.3.6 To ensure that the minimum requirements and criteria applicable to each category of tourism establishment and the TGCSA policies, procedures and processes are aligned with international best practice at all times.

  18. 2.3.7 To review and advise on the 5-year Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan as well as the Marketing Plan for the TGCSA through the Awards Committee’s participation in the Annual Strategic Meeting and/or any other interventions.

  19. 2.3.8 To advise on any other matters or issues referred to it by the TGCSA executive management team or the CEO, Exco or Board of SA Tourism.

  1. 3 KEY FOCUS AREAS

  2. 3.1 The continued focus on ungraded establishments and initiatives to increase the number of tourism establishments participating in the grading system.

  3. 3.2 The continued close monitoring of assessor performance with a view to ensuring a higher overall level of objectivity and consistency and accuracy in the assessment of participating establishments at all times.

  1. 4 COMPOSITION OF THE AWARDS COMMITTEE

  2. 4.1 The composition of the Awards Committee should include the following skills and areas of knowledge, experience and expertise:
  3. 4.1.1 Universal Accessibility

  4. 4.1.2 Hospitality

  5. 4.1.3 Decor

  6. 4.1.4 Architecture

  7. 4.1.5 Grading Categories

  8. 4.1.5.1 Formal Accommodation - (Hotels & Lodges)

  9. 4.1.5.2 Guest Accommodation - (B&B's, Guest Houses, Country Houses)

  10. 4.1.5.3 Self-catering/Time share industry

  11. 4.1.5.4 MESE (Meetings, Exhibitions and Special Events)

  12. 4.1.5.5 Caravan and Camping

  13. 4.1.5.6 Backpackers and Hostelling

  14. 4.1.5.7 Game Lodges (a new category, currently being developed)

  15. 4.2 The Awards Committee should comprise of at least 13 members:
  16. 4.2.1 Eleven (11) members possessing the skills and expertise outlined in 4 above.

  17. 4.2.2 The Chief Quality Assurance Officer , ex-officio member

  18. 4.2.3 The quorum for the meeting shall be 50% of members present plus one.

  19. 4.2.4 The Chairman of the Awards Committee should ideally be an independent professional without any links to any accommodation establishment(s) in South Africa. He or she will be appointed by the Chairperson of the Board of SA Tourism, at his discretion and must be a member of the Board of SA Tourism.