Public service waiting times to be listed

2012-05-15 21:13
Cape Town - Standard waiting times for certain services will soon be made public, acting Public Service and Administration Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Tuesday.

She told the National Assembly in debate on her budget vote that the ministry had been working with line departments to develop standards for waiting times.

These applied to pension pay-out points, hospital queues, and vehicle licensing centres.

A turnaround strategy for processing drivers' licence applications was also being developed.

"These standards will in future be made public so that members of the public can know in advance the level of service they should expect," she said.

Double its efforts

The ministry also worked with government departments to facilitate the development of service delivery improvement plans (SDIPs).

This was part of a strategy to start with the basics of the broader response plan to the service delivery problems facing people on a daily basis.

"May I inform this House that while the ministry prides itself on the compliance rate of 78.3% in respect of departments having service delivery improvement plans for the 2011/12 financial year, the ministry will double its efforts so that this year the public service will achieve a full compliance."

As part of improving the internal efficiency of the public service, the ministry would also continue working towards an integrated single public service.

Thus far work streams had been identified and implemented to create a sound institutional base for such a public service.

Seamless integration

Guided by the Constitution, the ministry would draw from certain experiences when it considered the legislative implications of taking the process of a single public service forward, including finalising discussions on the most suitable legislative approach to support the need for seamless integration.

Oliphant said a number of recent service delivery failures across the three spheres of government, and especially at local government level, could be attributed to, among others, the lack of sufficient numbers of adequately skilled public servants.

"Training and development interventions within the public service will have to be needs-based, respond to government's priority skills areas, support the national development agenda and contribute to increased performance."

The ministry would embark on a capacity building programme through an improved induction programme for new entrants to the public service, training unemployed young graduates to prepare them for entry into the public service, building capacity for public service innovation, and repositioning the Public Administration and Leadership Academy (Palama) as a school of government.

"We will continue our collaborative work with the department of higher education and the Pseta [Public Service Education and Training Authority] to ensure that we have sufficient numbers of adequately skilled public servants, who are able to respond to the call of making the public service more efficient and effective, and the employer of choice," she said.
Read more on:    local government  |  service delivery

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