Implementing Batho Pele Principles to Improve Government Services

The country first formulated the Batho Pele Principles intending to transform service delivery in the public sector. The national government hopes that good service delivery leads to happy customers and employee satisfaction for a job well done.

Batho Pele Principles
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Initially, Batho Pele composed eight principles. However, since the inception of the Awards, two more principles have been added. What are the important points included in the Batho Pele Principles? You will find a comprehensive description of Batho Pele here.

Now, let’s get started.

Understanding Batho Pele Principles

Simply put, Batho Pele means “people first”. In fact, the Batho Pele White Paper is the White Paper for Transforming the Public Service Delivery of the national government.

Essentially, the Batho Pele Principles are all about providing good customer service to users of government services. In fact, all public servants are required to practice the Batho Pele Principles.

Then, there are eight principles or guidelines from Batho Pele in the White Paper, including:

  1. Consultation
  2. Service Standards
  3. Courtesy
  4. Access
  5. Information
  6. Openness and Transparency
  7. Dealing with complaints
  8. Giving Best Value

However, in KwaZulu-Natal, it has two other principles, such as:

  1. Encouraging Innovation and Rewarding Excellence
  2. Customer Impact

Now, let’s dig deeper into each of these principles.


This is about asking customers what they want and finding out how the government can best meet their needs. Furthermore, this may be done by giving out questionnaires or by talking to customers.

Thus, it is important to consult as many customers as possible and to use the information the government receives to help improve the service to them. Also, it’s important to report back to the customers so they know what to expect, and to the staffers so they know what the country expects from them.

Service Standards

While the government should continually try to improve the service it gives, it’s also about how well it promises to deliver the service at any time.

Therefore, if the government already knows what is important to the customers, then it can set service standards. In other words, it must be realistic depending on the source the country has.

Also, the government should be able to measure these standards so that everyone can see if their needs are being met.


The third principle of Batho Pele talks about access. In particular, access applies especially to the previously disadvantaged sectors of the community and people with special needs.

Then, these needs may include access to the government’s departments for the physically disabled, or having services that are too far away for people to visit.

Besides, good staffers attitudes and addressing customers in their own language makes access easier.


In reality, courtesy is not only being polite to customers. It is also about being friendly and helpful and treating everyone with dignity and respect.

That being said, the government should write down a code of conduct and train and assess all staffers in customer care.

Moreover, the managers should monitor the relationship between front line staff and customers. Besides, they should help staffers to give warm and friendly service to everyone.


Information is about reaching all the customers to make sure they are well-informed about the services each department provide. Technically, it may be done in many ways. For example, it’s doable through newspaper, radio, posters and leaflets.

Also, it’s important to remember that different customers have different needs. Moreover, they do not all speak the same language. Thus, the government should disseminate a Service Commitment Charter to inform customers about the services available.

Openness and Transparency

This Batho Pele principle encourages all departments to be open and honest about every aspect of work.

Furthermore, they should publish an annual report to tell citizens how they used their resources, how much everything cost. This includes costs for staffers, equipment delivery, services and so on.

Hence, if they did not meet the standards, they should list the reasons and find ways to improve the service. Also, the departments should hold “open days” and invite members of the public to show them how they run the business.

Dealing with Complaints

Redress is making it easy for people to tell the government they are unhappy with its service.

Thus, the government should train staffers to deal with complaints in a friendly, helpful manner. Additionally, it should apologise and address the problem right as quickly as possible.

It also needs to tell the customers how and where to complain and keep a record of all complaints and how it dealt with them. Moreover, the government should understand that complaints can help it to improve its service since it tells what the customers want.

Giving Best Value

This principle includes giving the customers the best service the government can using all its resources. Also, it means eliminating waste, fraud and corruption. And, it includes finding new ways of improving services at little or no cost.

Furthermore, it might include forming partnerships with other service providers and the community. Ultimately, if the government works efficiently and maximise its skills, it will add value and produce great service to give the customers the best bang for their bucks.

Innovation and Reward

Innovation and Reward was an addition to the original list as a result of many of the participating departments’ innovative and creative ways of “doing things better.”

In fact, innovation can be new ways of:

  • Providing better service,
  • Cutting costs,
  • Improving conditions, and
  • Streamlining and making changes.

All of these are in a tie with the spirit of Batho Pele. Lastly, it is also about rewarding those who go the extra mile in making it all happen.

Customer Impact

In fact, this is a new principle that was added in 2002. Basically, it focuses on the changes and consequences that result from implementing Batho Pele in the government’s work.

People can notice that some departments had concentrated more on some of the Batho Pele principles and had forgotten the others. All in all, impact means looking at the benefits which the government has provided for its customers, both internal and external.

Furthermore, it’s how the nine principles link together to show how the government has improved its overall service delivery.

Batho Pele Principles PDF

You can download a PDF version of our description above to make it easier for you to understand this vision. It also comes with attractive illustrations to make it easier for you to absorb it down to the smallest bits.

Batho Pele Principles

Download the document here (PDF 347 KB)

Final Note

It is only natural that the officials in the public sector must put the customer above anything. The Batho Pele Principles are a good guide for anyone who is looking to dive into this field and get a career.

In particular, this will be an excellent guide for you if you are interested in applying to one of the DPSA vacancies in the public service. You have the opportunity to learn how you can mould yourself to be the best public servant and win the competition.

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