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Four new cross-sector groups to develop solutions for work-life harmony, corporate giving and digital inclusion

Four new cross-sector groups to develop solutions for work-life harmony, corporate giving and digital inclusion

File photo of pedestrians wearing protective face masks along Orchard Rd in Singapore on Sep 9, 2020. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Four new cross-sector groups will develop and deliver socio-economic solutions on work-life harmony, corporate giving and digital inclusion, as part of Singapore’s push to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis.

This will bring the total number of Singapore Together Alliances for Action to 15 collaborations, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) on Tuesday (Feb 9) in a press release, which included a report on the Singapore Together Emerging Stronger Conversations.

The first 11 Alliances for Action were launched in June last year, as the Government partnered industry groups to help the Singapore economy bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Groups spearheading Singapore's post-COVID-19 economic plans announce new ideas

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah said on Tuesday that some “concerning issues” and “difficult realities” surfaced for many Singaporeans during the pandemic, including domestic violence, mental wellbeing, digital inclusiveness and digital literacy.

“Our conversations show that there is increasing awareness of these and other social issues, and that Singaporeans place high importance on being an empathetic and caring society,” she said.

WORK-LIFE HARMONY

Under the Alliance for Action on Work-Life Harmony, Singapore will move beyond flexible work arrangements to implementing work-life harmony measures, said MCCY in a factsheet.

“In this opportune window of transformation, we need to find ways to entrench and enhance good work-life practices in the new normal and beyond.”

This would include building a “network of advocates” for work-life harmony, by growing a community of Work-Life Ambassadors who will raise awareness and promote such practices to the wider public.

Sector-specific Communities of Practice on work-life harmony will provide tailored guidance and resources to companies that face “greater challenges in implementing work-life practices”, including flexible work arrangements, added MCCY.

READ: First Citizens’ Panel session held to look at work-life harmony in Singapore

READ: Singapore ranks 32 out of 40 for work-life balance, second most overworked city

Led by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the alliance will include other representatives from Singapore’s tripartite partners - the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) - along with work-life ambassadors, union leaders and parliamentarians among others. 

Members of the alliance will meet regularly, and hope to finalise their initiatives and resources by the first half of this year.

“In the long term, we envisage that the Alliance can transition into a self-sustaining action-oriented network that continues to achieve WLH (work-life harmony) outcomes,” said MCCY.

STRENGTHENING SOCIAL SUPPORT AND DIGITAL LITERACY

Other focus areas will include a national framework and blueprint for "corporate purpose and social impact" and improving Singaporeans’ digital skills and access to digital devices.

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre will lead the Alliance for Action on Corporate Purpose, which came out of the Emerging Stronger Conversations conducted by the centre.

Participants “envisioned a business ecosystem that supports and enables corporates to effectively align purpose and profit to become a force for good in Singapore”, said MCCY. 

Participants also offered ideas on how to foster closer partnerships between the private, public and people sectors and make corporate giving more accessible.

“One of the key objectives of this alliance is to evaluate various local and international standards related to corporate purpose and social impact and recommend a harmonised framework that guides corporates to do good strategically, sustainably and impactfully,” said MCCY.

This alliance will be rolled out in phases, with the first phase studying factors that affect the integration of purpose and profit in corporates. The results will be released in the second half of this year.

READ: Bring Singaporeans back home, grow local talent for Smart Nation efforts: Vivian Balakrishnan

READ: COVID-19: Singapore to spend S$3.5 billion on information and communications technology to support businesses

The Smart Nation & Digital Government Group (SNDGG) and the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) will lead two groups - one which looks to expand the offerings on an online digital awareness and skills learning platform, and the other to help needy beneficiaries access smart devices.

They will partner more businesses and community organisations to launch additional digital programmes to help older workers upskill and remain employable, under the #SmartNationTogether platform. More details will be available in March.

In addition, they are exploring ways to bring their platform onto an app with gamification features to make digital learning “fun and engaging”.

Separately, MCI and SNDGG will also develop a portal to match needy beneficiaries with community, government and corporate partners offering digital devices.

Users can search and apply for digital devices on the portal and agencies can list their digital device schemes. Updates on the user's application status will be provided via a notification service. 

“These features will help ensure that the application process is seamless and that the digital devices are efficiently distributed, to better serve those in need,” said MCCY.

EMERGING STRONGER CONVERSATIONS

More than 16,900 Singaporeans have reflected on their COVID-19 experience in the Emerging Stronger Conversations sessions conducted between June and December last year, said MCCY on Tuesday, adding that these have been published in a report.

The conversations were launched by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in June 2020.

A number of these sessions were conducted in mother tongue languages and “special effort” was made to reach out to people with disabilities, said the ministry.

READ: Emerging Stronger Taskforce will identify global risks, seize economic opportunities for Singapore: Desmond Lee

The report noted 15 themes that emerged in the conversations, including social support; national identity and shared values; jobs and economy; digitalisation and technology; and family.

Minister for National Development and Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee said: “This report presents the views and aspirations of the thousands of Singaporeans who took part, their hopes for a society that is inclusive and caring, and an economy that is thriving and globally competitive. Our commitment is to work with Singaporeans to translate these aspirations into action.”

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Source: CNA/cc(ta)

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