1. At the 2018 Committee of Supply debates, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) announced plans to strengthen social service delivery on the ground to provide more holistic and coordinated assistance for individuals and families in need. These include efforts to explore the provision of more help services through the Social Service Offices (SSOs).
Video-conferencing links with other help agencies
2. Since December 2018, the SSOs at Geylang Serai and Bedok have set up video-conferencing links with the Housing & Development Board (HDB), SG Enable and the Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC). Clients who come to the SSO to apply for financial assistance can be linked up onsite with officers from these agencies and have their queries addressed. This saves them a trip to these agencies to access additional help. For example, clients could check the status of their rental flat application, enquire on monetization options including the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS), or get information on the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) without making a separate trip to HDB Hub or HDB Branch.
Co-location of complementary services
3. MSF has also worked with government agencies to co-locate complementary services at the SSO where opportune. The Silver Generation Office has relocated a satellite office formerly located at Macpherson to Geylang Serai, which started operations in July 2018. This is the second SSO to have an SGO Satellite Office co-located with it, the first being the SSO at Taman Jurong.
4. The co-location of services at SSO at Geylang Serai has allowed us to deliver services better and work in a more integrated manner with partners. For instance, seniors with complex needs applying for ComCare assistance can be jointly interviewed by SSO and SGO officers. During the joint interview, seniors can learn about programmes and services provided by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) that they may qualify for. They will not need to repeat their circumstances or make separate trips to the SSO and SGO. This arrangement also allows officers from both SSO and SGO to jointly plan how to better support their client's needs.
5. MSF will continue to work with our partners to strengthen collaboration and tighten coordination across government and community agencies to provide better support for those in need.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Which other SSOs have co-located or integrated services currently?
The SSOs at Woodlands, Geylang Serai, Tampines, Toa Payoh, and Jurong East are co-located with or near WSG or e2i, which offer career coaching services.
MSF has been piloting an arrangement at several SSOs where officers have been trained to provide clients both social and employment assistance. This means that apart from assessing clients for ComCare assistance and making referrals to address their other needs, SSO officers also support clients in their job search, e.g. through exploring their career interests and making job referrals. This is currently being piloted at the SSOs at Taman Jurong, Kreta Ayer, Yishun, Chua Chu Kang, and Jalan Besar.
Of these, two SSOs (Taman Jurong and Kreta Ayer) also have VWO-run family services co-located within the same premises, allowing clients to access family services, social and employment assistance at these SSOs.
2. How does MSF decide what services to co-locate at each SSO?
Services are co-located based on the needs of the local community and if there are opportunities to co-locate with other service providers, as we recognise that clients who come in for financial assistance often need help from other service providers. For example, the integrated family services model was piloted at SSO at Kreta Ayer after they had identified a high concentration of ComCare clients needing family services at Jalan Kukoh.