The two-day Batho Pele Forum that was held at the Department of Public Service and Administration’s (DPSA) Batho Pele House building in Pretoria from 23-24 May 2024 expressed its expectations for all government departments to link the Public Service Charter to the professionalisation of the public service framework.

Addressing delegates, Ms Marothi Ramphele, the Assistant Director in the Government Service Access Improvement (GSAI) Branch of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), said the Public Service Charter is aimed at enhancing public service delivery and building a better life for all South Africans.

“It is crucial that all government departments link the Public Service Charter to the professionalisation of the public service framework,” Ms Ramphele stated.

“One of our key recommendations is for departments to institute an integrated programme management approach to ensure effective implementation of the Public Service Charter.”

She explained that this integrated approach will help minimize siloed efforts, consolidate the use of available resources, and maximize the impact on society.

“There is a need to develop an implementation plan to popularize and effectively execute the charter,” Ms Ramphele continued. “Collaboration with all social partners is also essential to improve the implementation of the Batho Pele programme.”

According to Ms Ramphele, there is also a need to ramp up the awareness programme of the charter to all public servants, from cleaners to accounting officers.

The Public Service Charter outlines a clear set of objectives aimed at enhancing the delivery of public services and fostering excellence within the public sector. The charter seeks to improve service delivery programs, reinforcing the commitment of all partners to enhance service delivery for the benefit of all citizens.

The charter also works to clarify the rights and obligations of each party involved, ensuring a shared understanding and alignment of expectations including acknowledging and rewarding excellent performance by public servants, recognizing the vital role they play in delivering high-quality services.

In line with this, the charter also seeks to professionalize and encourage excellence in the public service, driving a culture of continuous improvement and responsiveness.

This, in turn, is expected to enhance overall public service performance, ensuring an effective, efficient, and responsive public sector.

Importantly, the charter also facilitates a process to define service standards across various sectors, providing a framework for consistent and measurable service delivery targets.

This approach helps to align the public’s expectations with the government’s commitments, promoting transparency and accountability.

By addressing these key objectives, the Public Service Charter represents a comprehensive effort to transform and elevate the public service, ultimately delivering better outcomes for all South African citizens.

The 2022 Public Service Summit provided departments with implementation guidance, leading to the approval of a Directive that offers guidance to departments.

The implementation of the Public Service Charter Directive will foster a citizen-centric approach to developing trust between the government and its citizens.

It will also enhance the effective implementation of programs such as the revised Batho Pele Strategy (2021), which requires the development of Batho Pele-specific standards by each public service department, as well as the Service Delivery Improvement Programme (SDIPs) as per Public Service Regulation 38.

Delegates were also informed that a new approach in preparing and implementing the SDIPs is being operationalized.

According to DPSA Chief Director for Service Delivery, Mr Marcel Wilson, as part of good practice, the Service Delivery Model (SDM) must reflect differentiation between strategic, tactical, and operational levels, with clear roles and responsibilities for different layers to enable seamless service delivery.

The SDM must describe how an institution will deliver on the services linked to its strategic plan, with a list of core mandated services provided by the department.

Thusong Service Centres Status Report

The second day of the Forum started with the launch of the Thusong Service Centres status report by Public Service and Administration Deputy Minister, Dr Chana Pilane-Majake.

The Deputy Minister emphasized the importance of ensuring the efficient operation of these one-stop integrated community development centres, which are a strategic response to the Batho Pele Principles.

The Deputy Minister described the Thusong Service Centres as a channel that should assist the country in delivering services that meet the needs of South Africans in a satisfactory manner.

She expressed the hope that the report, which articulates the findings, observations, and recommendations, will enable the government to review the way Thusong Service Centres are operated.

The Thusong Service Centres, initially known as Multi-Purpose Community Centres (MPCCs), were established in 1999 following a Cabinet decision to expand access to information and services in an integrated and sustainable way.