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Batho Pele Principles


1 Introduction

Through the Batho Pele principles of 1997, government aims to instil a culture of accountability and caring by public servants.

2 Linkage to risk management principles

The connection between Batho Pele and risk management is that risk management is an instrument to support the achievement of performance and service delivery excellence as espoused by Batho Pele. 

This can be inferred from the paragraphs below:

"1.1 - Purpose"

"1.1.2 This White Paper is primarily about how public services are provided, and specifically about improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the way in which services are delivered."

"1.2 - Background"

"1.2.2 The Constitution, 1996 stipulates that public administration should adhere to a number of principles, including that:

·         resources be utilized efficiently, economically and effectively;

"1.2.3 Chapter 11 of the WPTPS requires national and provincial departments to identify, among other things:"

·     "service standards, defined outputs and targets, and performance indicators, benchmarked against comparable international standards;

·     monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and structures, designed to measure progress and introduce corrective action, where appropriate;"

"1.3 - The people must come first"

"1.3.3 To treat citizens as 'customers' implies:

·         making sure that the promised level and quality of service is always of the highest standard;

·         responding swiftly and sympathetically when standards of service fall below the promised standard."

"4.2 - Setting Services Standards"

"4.2.1 National and provincial departments must publish standards for the level and quality of services they will provide, including the introduction of new services to those who have previously been denied access to them.  In the case of certain services, such as health, or education, national departments, in consultation with provincial departments, may set standards which will serve as national baseline standards.  Individual provinces may then set their own standards, provided these meet or exceed the national baseIine.  Provincial departments may also set additional standards for aspects of service not covered by national, norms.  Similarly - departments may set intra-departmental service standards which will serve as minimum norms for their institutions and components.  These internal institutions and components may also set additional service standards for aspects not covered by intra-departmental norms.

4.2.3 Service Standards must therefore have the approval of the relevant Minister/MEC/ executing authority before they are adopted.

4.2.4 Performance against standards must be regularly measured and the results published at least once a year and more frequently where appropriate.  They are also essential tools to track improvements in services from year to year, and to inform subsequent decisions about the levels to which standards should be raised in future.

4.2.5 Performance against standards must be reviewed annually and, as standards are met, so they should be progressively raised, year on year. Once set and published, standards may not be reduced.  If a standard is not met, the reasons must be explained publicly and a new target date set for when it will be achieved."

"4.4 - Ensuring courtesy"

 "4.4.3 All managers have a duty to ensure that the values and behavioral norms of their organisations are in line with the Principles of Batho Pele.

 4.4.4 All managers should ensure they receive first-hand feedback from front-line staff, and should personal visit front-line staff at regular intervals to see for themselves what is happening."

 "4.7 - Remedying mistakes and failures" 

"4.7.1 The capacity and willingness to take action when things go wrong is the necessary counterpart of the standard setting process.  It is also an important constitutional principle."

"4.8 - Getting the best possible value for money" 

"4.8.1 Improving service delivery and extending access to public services to all South Africans must be achieved alongside the Government's GEAR strategy for reducing public expenditure and creating a more cost-effective public service.  The Batho Pele initiative must be delivered within departmental resource allocations, and the rate at which services are improved will therefore be significantly affected by the speed with which national and provincial departments achieve efficiency savings which can be ploughed back into improved services.

4.8.2 All national and provincial departments will be required, as part of their service delivery improvement programmed, to identify areas where efficiency savings will be sought, and the service delivery improvements which will result from achieving the savings."

"5 - Encouraging innovation rewarding excellence"

"5.1 It is essential to the success of Batho Pele that the commitment, energy and skills of public servants are harnessed to tackle inefficient, outdated and bureaucratic practices, to simplify complex procedures, and to identify new and better ways of delivering services.  It is also important that the efforts of staff- both individuals and groups - who perform well in providing customer service, should be recognized and appropriately rewarded."

"7.1 - Institutional mechanisms"

"7.1.1 Transformation units in national and provincial departments will have a key role to play in helping to support national and provincial departments' efforts to improve service delivery, by feeding in fresh ideas for improvements and identifying areas where existing systems are a stumbling block to better service.

7.1.2 However, ultimate responsibility for implementation rests firmly with the political and administrative heads of departments who should, as a first step, make the necessary institutional arrangements to ensure that the Batho Pele concept is communicated throughout their department, and to draw up and drive forward a Service Delivery Improvement Programme which must be integrated with the other departmental transformation priorities within the department's strategic plan."

"7.2 - Implementation Strategy" 

"7.2.6 The 'improvement gap' is the gap between what customers want, and the level and quality of service currently provided.  Closing this gap is the prime aim of a. service delivery improvement programme

7.2.7 Once the 'improvement gap' has been identified, standards can be set, and progressively raised for closing the gap.  Service standards are commitments to provide a specified level and quality of service to individual customers at any given point in time.  Standards are different from targets, which express longer-term aims for the ultimate level and quality of service to be achieved."


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