1 Since 2018, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has been working with government and community agencies to strengthen the delivery of social services to provide more Comprehensive, Convenient and Coordinated (3Cs) support for lower-income and vulnerable families. This is achieved through building capabilities of officers, strengthening town-level networks, enhancing work processes and protocols, as well as leveraging data and technology.
Building capabilities and strengthening town-level networks
2 Individuals and families in need often face complex and inter-locking challenges that require support from multiple government and community agencies. To this end, MSF has trained around 4,300 officers to ensure that those in need receive comprehensive, convenient and coordinated support. Of the 4,300 officers, 1,9001 frontline officers across 14 government agencies2 have been trained to share information with or make referrals to the appropriate services and schemes, when they encounter clients who have needs beyond their own agencies’ scope. Public agencies, namely the People’s Association (PA), the Housing & Development Board (HDB), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Ministry of Education (MOE), have implemented this training for their frontline officers. MSF has also made this training available to for all public officers via the Public Service learning application, LEARN@Gov. MSF will expand training to community agencies and volunteers in the second half of 2021, as they are also important touchpoints for individuals and families in need.
3 Beyond building capabilities, MSF is also working with the Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to strengthen town-level SG Cares Community Networks3. With the onset of COVID-19, in June 2020, MSF and MCCY tapped on the SG Cares Community Network within each town to reach out to some 50,0004 households living in rental housing through SMS-es, phone calls and posters in the estate.
4 Building on this foundation, MSF and MCCY have organised three webinars over the past two months, bringing together nearly 1,000 government officers, community partners and volunteers, to collectively reflect on the COVID-19 experience, and discuss new ways to advance the SG Cares Community Network, by building deeper relationships and stronger partnerships. These webinars are a prelude to the town-level networking sessions, which will resume this year to forge new collaborations, and co-create programmes to meet the local community’s needs.
Enhancing work processes and protocols
5 We continue to strengthen cross-agency coordination and streamline our work processes and protocols so that families with multiple needs receive holistic, targeted support. In 2019, MSF introduced the Guidelines for Case Master Action Planning (Case MAP), which sets out good practices and protocols to guide agencies in supporting families with complex needs. This includes identifying lead agencies, clarifying expectations of lead and supporting agencies, and ensuring alignment of interventions. Having completed Case MAP training for 2,400 public officers and staff from social service agencies, MSF plans to tap on e-learning to train even more officers, and will organise Communities of Practice (CoP) sessions at each town. These sessions will allow partners to come together to discuss complex cases, to continue refining the case coordination process and to encourage cross-learning and sharing of best practices within the community.
6 To provide greater attention to more complex cases with issues that cut across agencies, and cases that are not covered within conventional policy boundaries, MSF has set up a Social Service Systems Office (S3O), which steps in to support and resolve these cases, drawing on the support of Coordinators from the 12 agencies involved (please refer to A5 in Annex A for more details). To date, the S3O and SSOs have thus far supported some 160 complex cases that agencies had difficulties resolving on their own and might have remained “stuck” for a long period. These complex cases involve inter-locking issues such as housing, legal, and immigration matters.
7 Furthermore, to reduce the administrative load on clients when accessing multiple support schemes, we have developed Streamlined Assessment Protocols (SAPs). For example, ComCare clients will receive medical assistance at public healthcare institutions, the highest tier of additional childcare subsidies from the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), and financial assistance from MOE, where relevant. They will also be assessed by HDB for rental fee reduction without having to make a separate application at HDB.
Leveraging data and technology
8 To facilitate inter-agency coordination and support officers in rendering 3Cs support to vulnerable households, MSF is making two key system enhancements
i. One Client View (OneCV), which was launched in February 2021, allows frontline officers to obtain a comprehensive view of clients’ circumstances and assistance received. Officers can now gather information with ease and render support promptly, while clients need not submit common documents such as marriage and birth certificates. Some 1,000 officers from 12 agencies will have access to OneCV as a start. More officers and agencies will come on board progressively.
ii. Case Connect, which will be rolled out in phases from June 2021, allows frontline officers and case workers to make referrals to other agencies, share assessments and updates, and coordinate with other agencies easily on a common platform, so that families can be helped more expediently and holistically. This would ease the current process of referring and coordinating cases, as well as tracking of case progress, which are usually done manually over emails, letters and phone calls. Some 3,000 officers from government and social service agencies, including Family Service Centres, will benefit from this platform progressively.
9 Approximately 5,000 frontline officers from Government and community agencies will be able to tap on these systems to provide 3C support to individuals and families in need.
Various efforts coming together at Community Link (ComLink)
10 These efforts to strengthen the delivery of social services come together at Community Link (ComLink), which provide holistic support to uplift families with children living in rental housing toward stability, self-reliance and social mobility. As announced in the accompanying media release ‘Community Link expanded to reach 21 towns and 14,000 families over next two years’, MSF will scale up ComLink to be a nation-wide initiative supporting some 14,000 families with children living in rental housing over the next two years. As part of the scale-up, MSF will also review and explore ways in which outreach, assessments and coordination can be further streamlined and integrated across agencies.
1 The other 2,400 officers have been trained in protocols for closer case coordination. More details of the training will be shared in paragraph 5.
2 The 14 agencies are Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), Community Justice Centre (CJC), Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB), Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), Housing and Development Board (HDB), Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), Ministry of Education (MOE), MUIS, MENDAKI, People’s Association (PA), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Singapore Police Force (SPF), Singapore Prison Service (SPS), and Workforce Singapore (WSG).
3 The SG Cares Community Network comprise government agencies, social service agencies, community stakeholders and volunteer groups from each HDB town. In total, the Network comprises 3,500 partners from 160 government and community help agencies across the social, health and community sectors. Since 2018, MCCY and MSF have been working together to organise SG Cares Community Network sessions to bring together agencies and partners to discuss the needs of their respective towns, and explore areas where they can work together to help resolve them.
4 Of the 50,000 households living in rental housing, the SG Cares Community Networks have called or visited the 22,000 of them who are not known to existing touchpoints, to check on their well-being. Through these checks, about 5,000 families were connected to agencies for further support. Households living in rental housing who are known to existing touchpoints such as Family Service Centres or Social Services Offices would have received support through these agencies.
Annex B Translated Terms [90 kb]
Training of Frontline Officers
1. Besides Government officers, are there plans to train community partners to provide more holistic support? How will it be implemented?
We plan to extend the e-learning training module to community partners as well as their volunteers from the second half of this year. To make this course more accessible to community partners and volunteers, we will host this module on the Social Service Institute’s (SSI) Learning Management platform. We will work with the member agencies to identity relevant community partners/volunteers who will benefit from the e-learning module. Once the training plan has been finalised, MSF will also work with the agencies to track and ensure that the relevant partners/volunteers have completed the training.
2. Besides the officers already trained, will new officers be trained in providing holistic support?
Government agencies such as WSG and MOE have made the e-learning module a compulsory onboarding programme for new frontline officers. Additionally, to ensure that the training content remains relevant to the operating context of the day, MSF will refresh the e-learning module regularly.
SG Cares Community Network Sessions
3. What are SG Cares Community Network Sessions? How many agencies have been involved in SG Cares Community Network Sessions in the past?
SG Cares Community Network Sessions are jointly organised by MSF and MCCY to bring together partners in each town, namely government agencies, social service agencies, corporates and volunteers. These partners discuss issues in their respective communities and explore areas where they can work together to help address them.
The sessions, which started in May 2018, have brought together 3,500 participants from 160 government and community help agencies across the social, health and community sectors. We have thus far conducted 21 sessions island-wide, and will continue to organise these sessions at the town level in the later half of this year.
Strengthening Case Coordination and Protocols
4. Which agencies are represented in the S3O, and what are the roles of the Coordinators?
Agencies under the Social Service Systems Office (S3O) include HDB, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), MOE, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Workforce Singapore (WSG), the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB), the Legal Aid Bureau (LAB), the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and the Singapore Prison Services (SPS). The Coordinators in each agency will work with S3O office to exercise policy flexibility for complex cases surfaced, to ensure that these cases are supported holistically across the agencies, and to drive policy reviews where required.
5. What are some of the forward plans to sustain and expand these coordination principles?
To sustain the knowledge and practice of Case MAP principles amongst community agencies in their respective towns, we have partnered with community partners in co-organising Communities of Practice (CoPs). The CoPs encourages cross-learning and sharing of best practices amongst different agencies. This will be rolled out progressively to cover all towns island-wide by the second half of this year. Additionally, we will be developing an e-learning module to train public officers through the LEARN App 1. For social work practitioners, we have included Case MAP Guidelines in MSF’s practice resources microsite, which contains a repository of materials to keep social work practitioners up to date regarding useful tips and resources. To access the microsite, please visit www.msf.gov.sg/ODGSW/practice-resources/Pages/default.aspx
1 The LEARN App is an e-learning portal for Government Officers.