8 January 2018
Mr Teo Ser Luck
MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether there are any plans to further develop the infrastructure and programmes of the Social Service Offices.
1. Our current network of 24 Social Service Offices (SSOs) was set up between 2013 and 2015 to provide more accessible and coordinated assistance to Singaporeans in need. The locations of these SSOs were chosen such that they are situated close to major transport nodes as well as to residents. Today, 95% of ComCare beneficiaries live or work within 2 kilometres of a SSO.
2. Infrastructural improvements or relocations are considered and carried out where opportune or needed. For instance, the SSO at Tampines was relocated to Our Tampines Hub, so that its service counters can be co-located with those of other public sector agencies in the Public Service Centre.
3. Apart from providing ComCare assistance, officers in the SSOs also do ground sensing and local services planning, collaborating with community partners to facilitate a coordinated approach to the planning and delivery of social services in the community. These twin purposes remain unchanged, although we are continually looking into ways to enhance service delivery and make it more client-centric.
4. For instance, there are ongoing efforts to tighten inter-agency referral processes and facilitate data-sharing between SSOs and other agencies. We are also exploring the potential for more integrated service delivery by piloting at five of our SSO1 the delivery of social assistance and employment assistance by the same SSO officer, instead of referring the ComCare beneficiary to a Workforce Singapore (WSG) or e2i officer for employment assistance. For clients who are unemployed but able to work, this provides easier and quicker access to employment assistance. We are also exploring co-locating other complementary services so that our clients can access the services and assistance they require more conveniently and meaningfully. Two of our SSOs2 have VWO-run Family Services Teams co-located with them as part of another ongoing pilot.
5. These efforts aim to bring about better coordination across both government agencies and community partners so as to provide necessary and holistic support for those who have fallen on hard times, and enable them to ‘bounce back’ and become self-reliant again.
 These are the SSOs at Kreta Ayer, Taman Jurong, Chua Chu Kang, Jalan Besar and Yishun.
 These are the SSOs at Kreta Ayer and Taman Jurong.