Sunday, November 2, 2008

Address by the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Hon Daniel K. Kwelagobe on Public Service Customer Service Standards

source: Republic of Botswana (01/11/08): TAUTONA TIMES no 34 of 2008
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


[Salutations]…Ladies and Gentlemen

1. It is indeed a great pleasure to be addressing you today. As the Minister responsible for the Public Administration portfolio it is my duty amongst others to ensure that the Public Service delivers efficiently and effectively.

2. As you all know we are meeting against the backdrop of a new administration. President Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama in his inaugural address made a commitment to improve the delivery of public services and in line with this commitment, a number of initiatives have been introduced and are being implemented by different ministries. Monitoring and reporting structures have been put in place to ensure accountability for delivery at all levels.

3. As Government and as a nation, we want a Public Service that is efficient, effective, excellent, equitable, empowering and caring. We also want a Public Service that is responsive and committed to continuous improvement in the delivery of Public services. We are however concerned that despite all these initiatives the performance of the Public Service continues to be a major concern.

4. Ladies and Gentlemen, a customer satisfaction survey on the performance of the Public Service was undertaken in 2005 and the results revealed a disappointing 25% customer satisfaction level. The key areas of concern revolved around issues of accessibility for people with special needs, appropriate signage within offices, courteous and welcoming front line staff, clean and presentable premises.

5. As a responsive government a number of strategies have been put in place. These include improved maintenance of government facilities, regions and districts much more frequently, monitoring staff performance and taking appropriate action. Review and improvements in the Public Service conditions of service.

6. A Business Process Reengineering strategy has been introduced in government and its primary objective is to improve service delivery by setting, publishing and monitoring Public Service performance standards. To date a total of Two hundred and twenty (220) processes have been reengineered and are at different stages of the quality control level.

7. On the 26 June 2008, I launched the first set of 34 Customer standards in the Public Service, and a further thirteen (13) standards have been published, making a total of 47 standards. These standards are benchmarks for both Public Officers and the general public. They basically define the type of service and the timeframe within which service should be provided. This provides the Public Officers with the opportunity to plan for resources and competency requirements for effective service delivery, and for the customer this is an empowerment tool which enables one to clarify expectations on service delivery and to demand service if there are failures in meeting service standards.

8. Ladies and Gentlemen, the provision of service to customers and our citizens is a basic right and service delivery should not be regarded as a favour to an individual or community. We therefore, appeal to Batswana to keep us updated on how the Public Service is performing in terms of the standards that have been published through the toll free number, which has been put up specifically for this purpose.

9. The standards that we are rolling out today are from selected Business Processes in the following Ministries/Departments:

a) Ministry of Education
- Department of Student Placement and Welfare
b) Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism
- Department of Wildlife and National Parks
c) Ministry of Finance and Development Planning
- Department of Supply
d) Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs
- Department of Civil and National Registration
- Department of Immigration and Citizenship
- Department of Labour and Social Security
e) Ministry of Works and Transport
- Department of Central Transport Organisation
- Department of Roads, Transport and Safety
f) Ministry of Trade and Industry
- Registrar of Companies
- Department of Trade and Consumer Affairs.

10. These standards will be publicly displayed in Government offices within the respective service areas where such service is provided. For example information with regard to the application of Passport will be displayed in the Immigration areas where the Public apply for their passports, whilst that of registration of Motor vehicle licenses will be displayed in the Transport registration offices.

11. I remain committed to ensuring that the Public service delivers a high level of service to all our customers and I therefore urge Batswana, our customers and stakeholders in all our sectors to use these standards, to ensure that they are served as per the standard if not better. These standards provide us with an objective and sustainable platform for assessing and driving performance in the public service.

13. The roll-out of the Public Service Customer Service Standards will ensure uniformity of service delivery nation-wide. This the direction that requires the Public Service to be more customer focused, to improve on its core business, to ensure that the quality of service provided is of high standard, - integrated, accountable and flexible in accordance with citizen requirements.

14. Through these standards we can all make sure that we communicate the importance of good customer service to both our staff, stakeholders and customers, as well as be able to measure the impact of what we are doing. This process therefore legitimises what we all know needs to be done, which is putting the ‘service’ back into the Public Service.

15. The standards presented are a best practice framework that describes an effective and efficient Public Service. These standards also position the Public Service to compete and benchmark itself with the best on the global platform as well as providing a platform for continuous improvements.

16. Ladies and Gentlemen, in order to ensure compliance and customer feedback, the Directorate of Public Service Management (BPR) has installed a toll free number, the number is 0 800 600 749. Please use this number for all your complaints and compliments on service delivery.

16. I conclude by urging you to work together to ensure an improved service delivery. PULA!

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