The public servant's perspective

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THE EDITOR: As a result of disenchantment among public servants over the two per cent salary offer for 2014-2021, there has been a barrage of negative comments about the service provided by these workers.

At no time would I support a poor quality of service, but the public needs to understand the daily experiences of a public servant. A public servant working 8 am-4 pm, Monday-Friday is unable to conduct business unless he/she requests time off or a day off.

Applications for days off may be denied as a result of staff shortages and public servants are consequently coerced into taking sick days to conduct their pressing private business.

On any given day, a public servant is entitled to a one-hour lunch break and works seven hours, or 420 minutes. I would like to reiterate that public servants are not machines; they require bathroom breaks, they get ill and they have family emergencies like everyone else.

Assuming that quality service is delivered: the time allotted to conduct the shortest customer-related transaction at any public office should be approximately 15 minutes. Considering the above; a public servant can attend to 28 clients conducting such short transactions.

This does not take into consideration transactions requiring filing, photocopying, searching for documents in an antiquated filing system, and seeking approvals from supervisors.

Despite each public servant's capability of assisting a maximum of 28 clients, they are often mandated to assist in excess of this, as every client coming on a given day expects to receive service.

It can therefore only be deduced that an increase in the number of clients to be seen, in the same amount of time, would result in:

A reduction in the quality of service; increase in time for delivery of the final product; potential for errors; staff burnout; dissatisfaction among staff; poor punctuality rates; dissatisfaction of customers/clients and; high absenteeism rates.

Notwithstanding the above, quality of service can not only be affected by staff shortages, but also by a lack of proper tools to perform duties and frequent breakdown of equipment since they may not have been meant for such large output in such time constraints.




"The public servant’s perspective"

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