11 September 2017
Mr Leon Perera
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the cost of on-boarding social service offices (SSOs) and Ministry-supported VWOs to Social Service Net (SSNet); (b) what is the timeline for the adoption of SSNet; and (c) what are the initial indications of the impact of SSNet on SSOs and VWOs in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
1. The Social Service Net (SSNet) was developed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) as an integrated case management system for the social service sector.
2. Conceptualisation and development of SSNet started in 2013. The rollout to all Social Service Offices (SSOs) and Family Service Centres (FSCs) was completed by February 2016, at a cost of about $29 million. This amount covered the development and operating cost of the system for the full rollout, network connectivity and software applications to support the ICT-enabling of the social service sector, as well as provision of end user devices to the Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) that have come on board. SSNet will continue to be extended to other MSF-funded services and programmes, such as the Divorce Support Specialist Agencies, in phases. There are more than 1,500 SSNet users to date.
3. The SSOs and VWOs have benefited from more efficient information sharing through SSNet. For instance, SSO officers are able to retrieve the ComCare records of any walk-in clients requiring financial assistance, even if these clients had previously visited another SSO, reducing the need for the client to explain his or her personal or family circumstances and difficulties in full again. Also, with the client's consent, the SSOs and FSCs can obtain some client information directly through system link-ups with other agencies, such as the Ministry of Health and the Housing Development Board, reducing the time needed to collect such information and making things more convenient for the client.
4. To reap these benefits, some standardisation of key business processes have had to be put in place across more than 40 FSCs run by 22 different VWOs. Some FSCs have found the change process more challenging than others, although there is broad agreement that there are clear benefits to having an integrated case management system and baseline practice standards across the sector. MSF regularly engages the FSCs in dialogue, and has worked with the FSCs to address the challenges that some of them have faced post-implementation. We are continually reviewing how SSNet can support our business processes better, so that those in need can be served better.