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More digital ICs, including digital driving licence, among upcoming Singpass app improvements

SINGAPORE: The Singpass mobile application will have more digital identity cards (ICs) as the Government looks to introduce more digital initiatives to improve convenience and accessibility.

A digital driving licence will be rolled out next Monday (Mar 7), while a digital practising certificate for healthcare professionals has been available since January, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) said in a factsheet on Wednesday.

Business users will be able to access their companies’ profile and related information through the app by the end of March, SNDGG said.

The Government is also looking to expand the use of its digital payment service GovWallet, currently used by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board and Ministry of Defence to disburse funds securely and conveniently.

“Promoting digital inclusion and enhancing cybersecurity remain priorities as we continue to push ahead in our digitalisation efforts,” SNDGG said.

This comes as annual surveys with end-users showed that the citizen satisfaction score for digital government services rose from 73 per cent in 2016 to 85 per cent in 2021, while business satisfaction scores rose from 64 per cent to 76 per cent over the same period, SNDGG said.

SNDGG said it will partner citizens and businesses to identify areas for improvement and co-create solutions, and that it launched a citizen co-creation group in January with representatives for seniors and low-income families to give feedback on digital services.

One existing solution is the Singpass app, which currently has more than 3.5 million users. It lets users access government and private sector services, including checking their CPF balance, applying for HDB flats and banking online.

The app has been made available in the four official languages since February, and the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) will progressively extend translations to more Singpass features, and work with public agencies to include the multi-language feature in more services.

“As more features are onboarded, this will better support citizens who are more comfortable transacting in vernacular languages,” Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Josephine Teo told Parliament during SNDGG’s Committee of Supply debate on Wednesday.

DIGITAL DRIVING LICENCE

The police, GovTech and the Home Team Science and Technology Agency said in a news release on Wednesday that the digital driving licence will serve as an alternative official identification document for drivers in Singapore.

It will provide more information than a physical driving licence, including the number of demerit points accumulated by the motorist, eligibility for certificate of merit, and the status of their driving licence, the agencies said.

The police are working closely with both the public and private sectors to encourage adoption of the digital driving licence in their transactions with the public. The digital licence will also have the same security and tamper-proof measures as the digital NRIC.

Singpass app users can present their digital NRIC at government service counters for identity verification or scan the its barcode at kiosks, such as in public libraries or polyclinics.

There are some exceptions where physical identification cards are required by law, such as for marriage registrations and hotel check-ins, SNDGG said.

The digital NRIC has an animated and holographic lion crest at the corner of the user’s photograph to deter image tampering and screenshot spoofing. For privacy, the NRIC number or Foreign Identification Number (FIN), for foreigners using Singpass, is masked by default.

By the end of March, users with valid Corppass accounts can view their business entity information on the Singpass app, including business registration and shareholder information, as well as information on awarded government contracts.

These users comprise business owners and authorised employees of more than 550,000 businesses and entities, such as non-profit organisations and associations.

“This is part of the Government’s commitment to offer citizens and businesses convenient and secure access to data,” SNDGG said, adding that users need not look through various sources for the data.

Nevertheless, Corppass continues to be the single authorisation system for businesses and entities to manage digital service access of employees who need to perform corporate transactions with the Government, SNDGG said.

“GovTech will progressively announce and roll out more enhancements to improve and facilitate more secure and seamless corporate transactions,” it added.

EXPANDING USE OF GOVWALLET

Moving on to GovWallet, SNDGG said it expects “more agencies and use cases” to come on board.

“GovWallet improves the user experience significantly by digitalising the process of collecting physical vouchers or redeeming credits from government schemes,” SNDGG said, pointing out that what used to be a multi-step process with a physical visit could now be done anytime and anywhere.

“GovWallet also improves inclusion because even people without bank accounts can view and utilise their government payouts via apps like LifeSG.”

GovWallet can be integrated with mobile apps, and the monies and credits can then be used at 164,000 registered merchants by scanning an SGQR code with PayNow.

MINDEF is currently using the e-wallet to disburse National Service recognition benefits for 35,000 operationally ready national servicemen through the LifeSG app.

The CPF Board is using it to administer the Workfare Income Supplement scheme, instead of issuing cheques to more than 6,200 Workfare recipients.

GovWallet started off as an internal pilot project in GovTech when the team was looking for a way to credit staff benefits.

“Since then, it has received interest from many organisations to be used in household and social assistance programmes, sector-specific relief programmes and even staff recognition programmes,” SNDGG said.
 
GovWallet can be easily integrated with existing government apps, and makes it easy to design government credits and voucher schemes that are more targeted, it said.

For instance, government agencies are able to specify the list of merchants that qualify for each scheme, such as if they want the credits or vouchers to be spent at heartland shops or at merchants that meet healthy lifestyle standards.

To provide more spending options for citizens, the GovWallet team is looking to tap on the NETS payment ecosystem that has more than 120,000 acceptance points across 42,000 merchants in Singapore, SNDGG added.

PROMOTING DIGITAL INCLUSION

On digital inclusion, the citizen co-creation group is made up of Smart Nation ambassadors who are community leaders representing diverse groups, including people with disabilities, low-income families, seniors, clan associations as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises.

To date, 15 community groups such as Lions Befrienders and Society for the Physically Disabled have signed up.

The group aims to hold two open dialogue sessions a year. Through these discussions, representatives can give feedback on behalf of their community, so that digital government policies and services can consider the community’s needs from the onset, SNDGG said.

Topics of discussion could include Smart City solutions for the neighbourhood, and ways to address gaps in digital inclusion for low-income families and people with disabilities.

Community representatives will also be invited to work with SNDGG engineering teams to co-develop tech solutions that tackle social and economic issues.

“SNDGG will continue to use technology to solve everyday, real-life challenges faced by people living here,” it said.

“Looking ahead, this would include looking at green tech for building management, sensors to enhance our way of life and building cross-border partnerships to extend the use of well-adopted infrastructure like Singpass and e-payments.”

Technologies like 5G and autonomous systems will continue to mature, Mrs Teo said, potentially changing schools, hospitals, workplaces and the heartlands.

Nevertheless, she reassured that the Government will try to offer alternatives for those who are less comfortable with digital services or cannot access them.

This includes telephone services, she said, highlighting that tech teams set up a call handling and case management system within a week of COVID-19 cases spiking in September last year and a surge in calls to the COVID-19 emergency hotline.

“Through better information-sharing capabilities, productivity of our call agents improved,” she said.

“The percentage of incoming calls that went unanswered dropped from 30 per cent in mid-October, to almost zero by the end of November.”

Source: CNA/hz(cy)

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