The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will invest more resources to help Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) and professionals in the social service sector build up capabilities to meet future demands.
Corporate Development Funding Scheme
As VWOs in the social service sector expand their scale and service capacity to meet emerging demands, they will need to strengthen their corporate capabilities and standards of governance. To support this growth, MSF will introduce a Corporate Development Funding Scheme. The scheme provides funding support for these VWOs to hire qualified professionals in corporate functions such as strategic planning, finance, human resource and information technology. The scheme will commence from July 2015. Suitable VWOs will be invited to apply. MSF will set aside an average of $6 million a year under the scheme.
Increase in Programme Funding
From 1 April 2015, MSF will increase funding norms for its funded programmes run by VWOs. The bulk of the increases will go towards raising the salaries of social service professionals, to ensure they are paid competitively. The salary adjustments will vary depending on the profession and market comparisons. With the changes, MSF’s funding for VWO-run services is expected to increase by more than 10% to $165 million in 2015.
Social Service Fellowship
To better recognise social service professionals (such as social workers, therapists, early intervention teachers, psychologists, counsellors) who are at the top of their professions in the social service sector, MSF and National Council of Social Service (NCSS) will launch a Social Service Fellowship in the second half of this year. Social Service Fellows will be appointed for a 3-year term, with option for renewal. The Fellows will contribute towards sector-wide capability building efforts such as mentoring programmes, practice standards enhancement and professional development programmes. They will receive a monetary allowance in recognition of their professional expertise and experience, and sector-wide contributions.
Expansion of Professional Hubs
To better attract, develop and deploy therapists and psychologists in the social service sector, MSF will expand the usage of the “hub-and-spoke” concept. MSF will provide support to expand the two existing Therapy Hubs at SPD and Thye Hua Kwan Therapy Services to support more VWOs in delivering therapy services. MSF will also appoint a third therapy hub by the end of this year. About $7 million a year has been set aside. The target is to increase the pool of funded therapists at the hubs to 125 by 2017, to meet the growing demand for therapy services.
MSF will also set up a new Community Psychology Hub. The hub will start with attracting, developing and deploying psychologists to support disability services (e.g. Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Young Children), before eventually expanding to support other areas such as family services. To be located at SG Enable, the Hub will commence operations in the second half of 2015. About $8 million has been set aside over the next 3 years to fund the initiative.