SINGAPORE: The social services sector is looking to facilitate greater collaboration and boost service delivery with two new digital initiatives.
The first is an IT system to improve back-end processes.
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee launched the iShine Cloud at the Social Service Summit on Tuesday (Jul 24).
Jointly developed by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and Singapore Pools, iShine Cloud provides a suite of integrated IT cloud services specific to the charity sector.
It includes office productivity tools, shared storage, human resources and accounting packages, which voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) can enjoy at subsidised rates. Those who need further funding can tap on NCSS’s VWO-Charities Capability Fund.
"It will free up the time of our social service professionals to attend to our clients, instead of being bogged down by administrative tasks," said Mr Lee.
"Initiatives such as the iShine Cloud can also help our sector adopt IT and improve our work processes by aggregating common needs across VWOs.
"This allows us to achieve economies of scale and optimise resources not only within our VWOs but across the sector."
SOCIAL SERVICE NAVIGATOR
The second initiative is the Social Service Navigator, an interactive online platform and mobile portal that consolidates information on social service providers, programmes and resources all over Singapore. It is a rich database to help social service professionals find the resources they need to support their daily work.
The platform aims to significantly reduce the time social service professionals spend searching for suitable programmes to better address the needs of their clients in a more holistic manner, as well as to reduce service duplication and identify any service gaps.
Another key topic discussed at the event was the issue of new funding models in the social services sector, with the view of long-term sustainability and issues such as donor fatigue.
NCSS vice-president Anita Fam moderated a panel discussion which included Mr Lee and Nominated Member of Parliament Chia Yong Yong.
The discussion centred on a key challenge faced by social service organisations, which is how to find sustainable ways to fund their programmes and operations.
This is set against the backdrop of more complex societal needs and a growing demand for social services.
A variety of funding tools that would help diversify and grow funding streams were explored.
These went beyond traditional grants to less common funding instruments, such as social impact bonds and investing and endowment funds.
The panel also emphasised the need for more collaboration among the 3Ps of People, Private and Public to facilitate more impactful giving.