The annual human resource learning forum

Date: 24 Feb 2009 - 25 Feb 2009

Venue: Protea Hotel: The Ranch, Polokwane

Background

The Batho Pele Learning Network (BPLN) is a learning platform that promotes sharing and exchanging of experiences and lessons that are aimed at improving service delivery through the implementation of the White Paper on Transforming Public Service Delivery of 1997 (known as Batho Pele). The BPLN was launched in 2003 by the Department of Public Service and Administration (dpsa) to ensure that those in the public service have a platform to

  • Explore and reach an understanding on the meaning of Batho Pele and its importance in the business of government, particularly service delivery.
  • Understand government's various initiatives and programmes to make Batho Pele work.
  • Showcase government's efforts to put people first "for real" in service delivery.
  • Share and learn from each other based on practical experiences in implementing Batho Pele on the ground.

The BPLN continues to grow and to generate interest in the public sector. The BPLN has matured into an appropriate platform to share and exchange experiences, including best practices as well as lessons learnt, while putting emphasis on initiatives and programmes relating to the promotion and implementation of Batho Pele. The growing interest and commitment to this platform by the public sector was further witnessed during the 7th BPLN in 2008, whereby participation was 30% more than the targeted number of 500 delegates, comprising of delegates who came from all spheres of government, including the non-government organisations.

Objectives

The objective of the 8th BPLN is to avail a platform to:

  • Share new innovative ideas that are aimed at improving service delivery.
  • Promote and strengthen cooperative governance and partnerships with stakeholders.
  • Discuss service delivery challenges and find solutions that will enable government to render quality services to the citizens.

Theme and sub-themes

Theme"Driving service delivery through collaborative and interactive government"

Government's commitment is about "working together to achieve more". This commitment has been emphasised by the President in many occasions, including his State of the Nation Address of 2009. Furthermore, the Minister for Public Service and Administration has committed to finalising the Public Administration Management Bill, known as the Single Public Service Bill.

The recent report from the Public Service Commission on the "Proposed South African specific drivers of citizen satisfaction - June 2009" highlighted, among other issues, poor partnerships, communication, public participation or even consultation are some strong causes for citizen dissatisfaction in relation to service delivery. The role of government in providing quality or descent services is being tested or questioned.

The proposed theme intends to afford service delivery practitioners a platform to examine, discuss, debate and find solutions to service delivery challenges, while learning from each other's best practices. The platform will further ensure that the implementation of Batho Pele principles is cascaded to all government levels so that the beneficiaries have sufficient information on the services they are entitled to, through collaborative efforts.

  • Strengthening partnerships for better service delivery

    In line with government's commitment of working together to achieve more, the platform of the BPLN is ideal to open the discussion of improving partnerships with key stakeholders. The idea of strengthening, leveraging on existing partnerships and even building new partnerships is important so that government can be able to render demand driven services. Partnerships will further improve communication between government and citizens. This sub-theme will examine best ways/ methods of having good partnerships and benefits of partnerships towards service delivery.

  • Promoting decent services

    It is acknowledged that the theme for 2009 Africa Public Service Day celebrations also highlighted quality service delivery to ensure sustainability. In discussing this matter further, BPLN is seen as an appropriate platform where all government spheres are represented from decision makers to implementers.

    In his budget vote speech, the Minister for Public Service and Administration said "we will not fail to deliver quality services". The President has said in many ways that descent services shall be rendered by this government and we shall not falter or fail as public servants. Therefore, understanding the role of government in rendering quality or descent services is important and how can this be achieved.

  • Promoting efficient, effective and economic use of resources across all spheres of government

    In this time of economic crisis, the President indicated that we will not change our commitment to deliver descent services as government. Maybe therefore, we need to look at how best we can achieve more with our limited. In his State of the Nation Address of 2009, he used the phrase, "we must cut our cloth according to our size" so that we do not waste, create rollovers, but we spend wisely and fruitfully without compromising improvement to service delivery.

Furthermore, in line with the requirements of section 195 of our Constitution, public administration is expected to uphold certain basic values and principles, and among them, is the "promotion of effective, efficient and economic use of resources". One of Batho Pele principles is "value for money", which is aimed at promoting the efficient and economical use of resources so that citizens can be given the best possible value for money.

This sub-theme will encourage discussions that should assist government officials to optimally utilise limited resources without compromising the quality of services to be rendered. As this is a challenge in deed in many departments, the platform seeks to open a discussion and find possible solutions.

Approach and format

The aim of 2009 BPLN is to share best practices, promote corporative governance and partnerships in order to render quality services to the citizens. As already shared in the background, the dpsa seeks to enrich the BPLN participation to include other equally important stakeholders in service delivery. In an endeavour to improve the learning platform and partnerships, the information will be sourced from different stakeholders like the Civil Society organisations and all spheres of government, including the private sector. The information for sharing will be in a form of presentations, research papers and case studies.

Discussion platforms to allow sufficient time to interrogate challenges, root causes and find possible solutions will be available. Discussions will take shape in line with the following sub-themes, as mentioned above.

Targeted Audience

  • Public servants from all government spheres, (i.e. senior and middle managers, including service delivery practitioners)
  • Civil Society organisations
  • Labour organisations
  • Community Development Workers
  • South African Local Government Association
  • National Youth Development Agency
  • Institutions supporting democracy like Public Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, Commission on Gender Equality, etc.
  • Organisations for disabled people
  • Private sector partners

Conclusion

One of the challenges encountered in the Public Service is the real implementation Batho Pele policy. This is also supported by a number of reports, including the recent report from the Public Service Commission on the "Proposed South African specific drivers of citizen satisfaction, June 2009", which highlighted poor partnerships, communication, public participation or even consultation as some strong causes for citizen dissatisfaction in relation to service delivery. The citizens' protests against poor public service delivery can also be attributed to some of the outcomes stated in the above-mentioned report.

Another challenge is the current period of financial meltdown that is experienced worldwide. Its impact to quality service delivery need to be examined, and how best can the South African government and partners work together to achieve more with limited resources at their disposal.

Programme

Day 1

Theme: "Strengthening partnerships to promote quality service delivery"

Programme Director: Ms Thuli Manzini, Chief Director: Human Capital Management, the dpsa

Day 2

Theme: "Driving service delivery through collaborative and interactive government"

Programme Director: Ms Yasmin Bacus, HOD: Community Safety and Liaison, KwaZulu-Natal

Day 3

Theme: "Promoting efficient, effective and economic use of resources across all spheres of government"

Programme Director: Mr Geeva Pillay, Chief Director: Human Resource Planning, the dpsa

Last update: 31 August 2011

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