Joint MOH-MSF statement in response to AGO Audit 2019 Observations on Thematic Audit
1 The Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) acknowledge the observations made by the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) in its thematic audit on social grants managed by MOH and MSF. We have taken immediate steps to remediate the lapses and rectify inaccurate disbursements, and initiated further actions to address areas for improvement.
2 MOH and MSF partner and fund many Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWO) which provide health and social support services. These VWO-run services complement government programmes in meeting the needs of Singaporeans. For example, in recent years, MOH has worked with VWOs to expand the capacity and range and improve the quality of intermediate and long-term care services which have benefited many families. MSF also works closely with VWOs over the years to assist them in providing assistance to families and those in need.
3 In working with VWOs, we seek to ensure that they uphold high standards of financial accountability while taking care not to impose excessive administrative burden on them. AGO’s in-depth thematic audit has found that MOH and MSF have established processes in place for the design and setup, evaluation and approval, disbursements, monitoring and review, and cessation of social grants. However, there is a need to strengthen controls in areas such as ensuring timely funding approvals, verifying disbursements, and monitoring performance indicators of grant recipients.
4 Both MOH and MSF are taking immediate actions to address the concerns raised by AGO, including working with relevant VWOs to rectify over-disbursements and under-disbursements.
5 MOH is taking further measures to strengthen controls and oversight and improve the accuracy of social grant disbursements. These include making changes to funding frameworks, refining processes, enhancing IT and other systems, and levelling up awareness and capabilities among both our staff and VWO partners.
6 MSF is also improving its internal processes. This includes ensuring that officers involved in the disbursement of such funds are well-versed with the necessary funding procedures. We will conduct regular reviews of our funding frameworks, and work with social sector agencies to level up their capabilities so that they are better able to comply with these frameworks and ensure the judicious use of public funds.