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NCSS Refreshes Strategy Roadmap For Social Service Sector, Deepens Partnerships With SSAS To Strengthen Social Service Delivery

Type: Fact Sheets

Topic(s): Committee of Supply, Social Service Agencies & Partners, Social Service Professionals

1 The National Council of Social Service (NCSS), in consultation with the sector, is refreshing the Social Service Sector Strategic Thrusts (4ST), a five-year strategy roadmap for the social service sector. Launched in 2017, the 4ST charts different pathways for individuals and organisations in the People, Public and Private sectors to contribute towards the shared vision of “every person empowered to live with dignity in a caring and inclusive society”. The sector can look forward to a refreshed 4ST later in 2022.

2 To build resilience and develop long-term capability and capacity in the sector to cope with future challenges, it is essential to invest in strong organisational capabilities. Hence, NCSS, together with the Ministry of Social and Family Development, has set up the Community Capability Trust (CCT) that aims to resource the sector with up to $480 million over the next decade. The CCT will open for applications in April 2022. NCSS will also be launching the Organisational Health Framework for Social Service this year, to help social service agencies (SSAs) systemically and comprehensively assess their strengths and areas of development, as well as identify follow-up plans to strengthen their organisations. The Social Service SkillsFuture Tripartite Taskforce (STT) has also been renewed to enable and empower social service professionals to deliver effective services.

Transforming the social service sector

3 Alongside changes in society and demographics which have thrown up new social needs, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many changes in the social service sector, and it is opportune to seize the opportunity to take steps to shape and transform the sector into one that is dynamic, resilient, and able to continuously learn and adapt to new challenges. The refreshed 4ST, which will be launched later this year, will incorporate views from more than 250 key opinion leaders and sector stakeholders, as well as recommendations from the Beyond COVID-19 Taskforce, a Singapore Together Alliance for Action (AfA) set up to guide and strengthen the resilience of the social service sector during and beyond the pandemic. The roadmap will feature a new thrust that emphasises going beyond meeting present needs, and for the sector to be well-positioned for the future. This includes building capabilities at different levels across the sector to plan and act with the longer-term in mind, and putting in place strategies to address emerging issues, facilitated by data and digitalisation to strengthen service delivery and impact assessments.

Building capacity and capability of the sector

4 To enable SSAs to meet the needs of social service users more effectively and efficiently, SSAs can soon tap on the Community Capability Trust (CCT). The CCT is a fund dedicated to support the building of stronger SSAs by developing their capabilities and capacities over the longer-term. The CCT will provide support for key capability pillars including Innovation and Productivity, Evaluation and Research, People Practice, Board Leadership, Financial Sustainability and Volunteer Management. The CCT’s schemes of support, administered by NCSS, will be rolled out to the sector progressively, and SSAs can apply from April 2022.

5 To help SSAs identify their capability building needs, NCSS will launch the Organisational Health Framework for Social Service this year. Through a self-assessment tool, SSAs will be able to identify and prioritise capability building efforts that would make the biggest difference to the organisation and their ability to provide effective services to users. The tool would also enable SSAs to track their organisational health over time. More information will be shared later this month.

Enabling and empowering social service professionals

6 Formed in April 2019 to enhance the capabilities of social service professionals through close partnerships with partners in the People, Public and Private sectors, the STT will be renewed for a second term from May 2022 to April 2025. It will set up a workgroup to develop a new Counselling track in the Skills Framework for Social Service that seeks to outline occupation and job roles, career pathways and competencies for the counselling profession. In its second term, the STT will study and promote best collaborative practices to improve service delivery, enhance retention of sector professionals, and improve pre-employment and continuing education training to address skills gaps and upskill the sector's manpower.

Annex A Frequently Asked Questions

Annex B Translated Terms [82.4kb]

Annex A Frequently Asked Questions

Social Service Sector Strategic Thrusts (4ST)

Q1 Why is the 4ST being updated?

There is a need to refresh the existing roadmap to reflect emerging trends and updated priorities. The insights that NCSS has gathered from various stakeholders in the Public, People and Private sectors revealed a need to place greater emphasis on planning capabilities to enable the sector to become more future-oriented. Hence, a new fourth thrust will be added to the 4ST (2022-2026) to emphasise the need for the sector to be future-directed, and forms the basis of this iteration of the roadmap. All four strategic thrusts should be appreciated as mutually reinforcing as they work together to support the 4ST vision of “every person empowered to live with dignity in a caring and inclusive society”.

Q2 Who is driving the development of the 4ST?

The roadmap development process is led by NCSS and overseen by a 20-member Steering Committee comprising representatives across the Public, People and Private sectors

Ms Anita Fam (Chairperson) President, National Council of Social Service (NCSS)
Mr Alfie Othman Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE)
Mr Andrew Buay Vice President, Group Sustainability, Optus; & Singtel
Ms Chan Chia Lin Vice President, NCSS; & Director, Lam Soon Cannery Pte Ltd
Ms Chew Seow Chien Partner, Bain & Company
Mr Chew Sutat Chairman, Caregivers Alliance Limited; Vice-Chairman, Community Chest
Mr Esa Masood Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Social and Family Development
Dr Gerard Ee Chairman, Agency for Integrated Care (AIC)
Ms Tamsin Greulich-Smith Director, School of X at DesignSingapore Council
Ms Ku Geok Boon CEO, SG Enable
Dr Lee Tung Jean Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (Culture and Sports)
Mr Lee Poh Wah CEO, Lien Foundation
Mr Philip Ong Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (Community and Youth)
Mr S Devendran CEO, Sree Narayana Mission (Singapore)
Mr Seah Chin Siong Chairman, National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC); President & CEO, Singapore Institute of Management
Mr Eugene Seow Board Member, NCSS; & Partner, E3TWENTY
Mr Martin Tan Board Member, NCSS; & CEO, The Majurity Trust Ltd
Ms Felicia Wee Deputy Executive Director, Metta Welfare Association
Ms Woon Saet Nyoon CEO, Temasek Foundation Cares
Mdm Zuraidah Binte Abdullah CEO, Yayasan MENDAKI

Views from more than 250 key opinion leaders and sector stakeholders, as well as recommendations from the Beyond COVID-19 Taskforce, were also incorporated in the development of the roadmap.

Community Capability Trust (CCT)

Q3 How does the CCT ensure that it is responsive to the sector and SSAs’ needs?

The CCT is expected to support the needs of the sector over 10 years. This will enable NCSS and MSF to take a longer-term approach in planning capability-building initiatives. NCSS and MSF will curate initiatives and schemes based on the sector's needs. Strategies, design of support schemes and focal areas for funding will be reviewed regularly and evolve over time.

Q4 How were the six key capability pillars identified?

CCT’s six key capability pillars of Innovation & Productivity, People Practice, Volunteer Management, Board Leadership, Financial Sustainability, and Evaluation & Research comprehensively cover the key capability areas that are important to SSAs to deliver better service outcomes, amidst demographic changes, resource, and manpower challenges. These are also the areas that SSAs have identified as areas of improvement through NCSS’ regular engagements with SSAs and ground-sensing through studies like NCSS’ Social Service Sector Survey.

Q5 What are the CCT’s sources of funding?

The CCT aims to resource the sector with $480 million over 10 years, starting with an upfront capital of $230 million provided by the Government, Tote Board, and NCSS. The Government and Tote Board will also provide dollar-for-dollar matching for funds raised by Community Chest for the CCT. This matching will be up to a cap of $100 million over 10 years from the Government, and up to a cap of $50 million over the first five years from Tote Board.

Q6 Are there existing funds that support capability building? Will that change after the roll-out of CCT?

From FY22 onwards, CCT will replace VCF’s Organisational Development Grant (ODG) & Innovation & Productivity Grant (IPG) to support the social service sector’s capability and capacity-building needs with a bigger budget, wider coverage and in new capability areas. Other grants like the Professional Capability Grant (PCG), Consultancy Grant, Shared Services Grant and Info-Comm Technology Grant will continue to be available to support other areas like training, enhancing the governance and management capabilities of charities and IPCs.

Organisational Health Framework for Social Services (OHFSS)

Q7 How can SSAs access the Organisational Health self-assessment tool?

SSAs can access the Organisational Health self-assessment tool on the NCSS website. This tool can be used to assess the SSA’s current state in the seven domains and 32 sub-domains of organisational health.

Q8 What can SSAs expect after completing the Organisational Health self-assessment form?

SSAs will receive an Organisational Health Report containing scores of the SSA across seven domains and 32 sub-domains of organisational health. SSAs can use these scores to identify current strengths and areas of development, and support efforts to prioritise the areas and processes to develop.

Q9 How long does it take to complete the OHFSS Online Self-Assessment?

The OHFSS Online Self-Assessment will take approximately 45 mins to 1 hour to complete.

Social Service SkillsFuture Tripartite Taskforce (STT)

Q10 Why was the STT formed?

The STT seeks to bring together academics, policymakers, and practitioners to drive, coordinate and implement tripartite collaborations for manpower development initiatives in the social service sector. It will build on the Skills Framework for Social Service launched in 2019 to ensure that training programmes and curricula are relevant and up-to-date, entry and training pathways allow for career progression, and continue existing efforts to enhance capabilities and strengthen professional practice in the sector.

Q11 What is the tenure of the STT?

Members of the STT were appointed for a three-year term, starting from April 2019.

Q12 How were the members of the taskforce selected?

It was intended that the taskforce consisted of a good mix of representatives from the social service sector, academia and government as these are key stakeholder groups that influence and drive skills development for professionals in the social service sector. The STT members are as follows

Ms Ang Bee Lian
STT Co-chair; Senior Director, Professional Capability Development Group and Director-General of Social Welfare, MSF
Ms Tan Li San
STT Co-chair; Chief Executive Officer, National Council of Social Service (NCSS)
Dr Cherie Chan
President, Singapore Psychological Society (SPS)
Dr Michael Fung
Deputy Chief Executive (Industry), SSG
Prof Robbie Goh
Provost, Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)
Ms Hazlina Abdul Halim
President, Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura (PPIS)
Mr J R Karthikeyan
Chief Executive Officer, AWWA
Prof Kwok Kian Woon
Associate Vice President (Well-being), NTU
Mr Jason Lee
Chief Operating Officer, Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities
Prof Susanna Leong
Vice-Provost (Masters Programmes and Lifelong Education), NUS
Ms Jeanne Liew
Principal & Chief Executive Officer, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)
Mr Lim Kok Kiang
Principal, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP)
Mr Arthur Ling
Executive Director, Fei Yue Community Services
Prof Loh Han Tong
Deputy President (Technical Development), SIT
Dr Frederick Low
President, Singapore Association of Counselling (SAC)
Ms Julia Ng
Group Director, Enterprise Development Group, WSG
Dr Vincent Ng Chief
Executive Officer, AMKFSC Community Services
Ms Susan Niam
Chief Allied Health Officer, Office of the Director of Medical Services, MOH
Ms Tan Sze Wee
Executive Director, Rainbow Centre (RC) and President, Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW)

Q13 What is the Skills Framework for Social Service?

The social service sector is one of 34 sectors identified by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to develop its sector-level Skills Framework. The Skills Framework for Social Service was launched on 12 January 2019. It provides information on the social service sector, the range of jobs and career pathways available in the sector, the skills required for each occupation, and training programmes that are available to support individuals’ skills upgrading and mastery.

Q14 What is the intended impact of the Skills Framework for Social Service?

The Skills Framework for Social Service is a central reference tool for
(i) Individuals interested to join the sector to make informed decisions on entry requirements, career pathways and skills development;
(ii) Employers to recognise skills and invest in skills training for their employees to enhance talent attraction and retention; and
(iii) Training providers to draw from the detailed information on skills needed, to design programmes that aid professional development in the sector.

Q15 What are some of the manpower initiatives that were accomplished by the STT?


Manpower sufficiency and retention
Initiatives include

(i) Developing Learning Support Educator (LSEd) specialist track and harmonising pre-employment training for LSEd and Early Intervention (EI) educators;
(ii) Articulating skills roadmap to inform Continuing Education Training for an expanded pool of family counselling professionals;
(iii) Improving entry of working adult applicants for a Higher Diploma in Social Service through recognition of courses as pipeline of Social Work Associates;
(iv) Supporting the launch of SUSS’ Master of Psychology Postgraduate Programme that offers specialisation in Forensic or Organisational Psychology;
(v) Supporting the review of the Career Conversion Programme (formerly known as Professional Conversion Programme) for Social Workers and Allied Health Professionals (Therapists);
(vi) Developing agency-specific recommendations on retention measures for Therapists;
(vii) Introducing “Joy@Social Services” self-care movement among Social Workers; and
(viii) Organising the inaugural Youth Work Day to celebrate and recognise the efforts and contributions of youth workers to the social service sector.

Skills-relevance and good practice standards
Initiatives include

(i) Engaging Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs) to enhance the training of psychologists and associate psychologists;
(ii) Completing a comprehensive Training Gaps Analysis to identify and address priority skills gaps for key professions in the Skills Framework for Social Service;
(iii) Launching the Early Intervention Continuing Professional Development Roadmap to guide EI educators and LSEds on prioritised skills/knowledge and corresponding training courses to develop these skills;
(iv) Collaborating with IHLs in the development of professional workshops to support, upskill and onboard Associate and Junior Psychologists;
(v) Enhancing Social Work supervision and mentorship for mid-career professionals; and
(vi) Launching Youth Work Supervision and Mentorship Schemes.

Sector transformation for service delivery
Initiatives include
(i) Developing professional guidelines for remote counselling and cross-sharing of best practices on digitalisation;