Date: 18 Oct 2006 - 19 Oct 2006
Venue: ICC, Cape Town
The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) launched the first Batho Pele Learning Network (BPLN) at the Kopanong Conference Centre in Gauteng, in April 2003. The second BPLN was also held in Gauteng in 2004. Due to the nature of service delivery challenges confronting public service, it was decided that two learning networks will be held per year. This culminated in two successful Learning Networks in 2005, one in Mmabatho in July and the other in Kimberly in November. It was however realized that two learning networks per year hardly fit into the DPSA's tight schedule. A decision was then taken to have only one session a year.
Batho Pele is key to service delivery improvement, hence the need for a platform where service delivery challenges and achievements are shared amongst departments with a view to finding common solutions. To date, the Learning Network has generated a lot of interest among public servants and is gradually becoming an appropriate platform to share and exchange experiences and lessons on issues relating to the promotion and implementation of Batho Pele practices. In addition, provinces are encouraged to host their own learning networks as a way of institutionalizing the concept. To this end, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces have already held such sessions.
The Fifth Batho Pele Learning Network will be held on 18 to 19 October 2006 in Cape Town at the International Convention Centre. A large number of participants are expected to come from the Local Government sphere as all municipalities have been invited. This will be a first time for local government to formally participate in a Batho Pele Learning Network. The move to call Local Government municipalities to such an important service delivery occasion tallies very well as the Cabinet recently approved the single public service initiative.
The launch of the Batho Pele Learning Network was borne out of a need to build a "learning culture" within the public service. Improving service delivery does not only refer to the overhauling of the public service in terms of systems, processes improvement and culture change, as public servants we need to be responsive to the needs of the people we serve. It is also important to realize that we are not operating in isolation, hence we need to keep abreast of new developments in the changing world.
Learning and sharing of best practices and challenges is an integral part of fostering a Batho Pele spirit and practice. Furthermore, learning and sharing of best practices ensures that there is less duplication. This is only possible if there is a culture of collaboration, partnership, learning and sharing in the public service. Batho Pele Learning Network is one way of creating such a learning environment.
In brief, the objectives of the learning network are to:
Methodology and approach
Various case studies and good service delivery initiatives are invited from the provinces. Suitable case studies and initiatives are selected for presentation during the learning network. This provides an opportunity for provinces to learn from one another with a view of copying similar successful initiatives in their provinces. In most cases, some of these case studies are further developed into write ups for publication in the Service Delivery Review journal, Rutanang and BuwaNews.
Achievements and impact
The Learning Network has successfully created a community of Batho Pele Coordinators who meet on quarterly basis to further discuss issues raised in the learning networks. The DPSA is currently developing guidelines for the Batho Pele coordinators as per discussions in the Learning Network that took place in Kimberly in 2005. It is envisaged that this will serve as a point of reference for the Batho Pele coordinators as it will clarify roles and responsibilities.
Programme director: Mr AB Mphela , DDG, Institutional Improvement Development, Office of the Premier, Western Cape
Programme director: Ms Virgina Peterson: DDG, Departmental Operations, Department of the Premier