The concept, 'dignified service delivery', emerged from the scenario development discussions initiated by the Unit for Human Rights Mainstreaming and Capacity Building (Stellenbosch University). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, dignity refers to ‘the state of being worthy of respect’ as well as ‘a sense of pride in oneself’.
When service delivery is dignified we would expect that those who benefit from the service will feel that they are being treated with respect and those who provide the service will feel a sense of pride in themselves and their work. When thinking of the work of government, there are two areas where politicians and public officials can facilitate dignified service delivery. One area would be when developing policy, the policy tools can be chosen based on whether they will bring dignity.
To assess whether a policy instrument would facilitate feelings of dignity - those who plan policy responses may ask whether their proposed policy solutions carry the message that they view beneficiaries as people who are worthy of respect. Another area for intervention is how public officials interact with people they provide a service to. To evaluate their own behaviour, public officials should ask themselves whether their behaviour shows that they respect those who they are meant to serve and that they are proud of themselves.
For more information on the scenarios or to obtain a copy of the discussion document 'Human Rights Scenarios for the Western Cape Province', e-mail to email@example.com or Website, Facebook or Twitter page.
- Dr Ubanesia Adams-Jack (D.Phil, University of Sussex, United Kingdom) is a lecturer in Political Science at Stellenbosch University.