SINGAPORE: All 17 town councils had unqualified financial statements for the financial year of 2020, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said on Tuesday (Feb 22).
An unqualified financial statement indicates that the report gives a fair view of the organisation's financial affairs.
In a press release, MND said that it has presented the FY2020 audited financial statements of the town councils to Parliament and the town councils will be publishing them on their websites.
In view of the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period in 2021, MND said it had granted the town councils a one-month extension of the deadline for the submission of their audited financial statements and governance checklists, from Sep 30, 2021 to Oct 31, 2021.
MND had earlier announced that the Town Council Management Report assessment for town councils would be suspended for the period of April 2020 to March 2021.
“This is in view of the electoral boundary changes following GE2020 in July 2020 and the disruption town councils faced during the 'circuit breaker' period,” said MND.
“The suspension also allows for clear accountability of the results when the Town Council Management Report assessment resumes from FY2021.”
The ministry said it will publish the next Town Council Management Report for FY2021, which runs from April 2021 to March 2022, in two reports.
One report will be on town councils’ performance for the operational indicators (estate cleanliness, estate maintenance, lift performance and service & conservancy charge arrears management) in May or June 2022.
Another report will be in November or December this year, and will reflect town councils’ performance in regulatory compliance and financial reporting through the corporate governance indicator.
“While there was no Town Council Management Report assessment for FY2020, town councils were still required to submit their declaration of compliance with the regulatory requirements using the revised corporate governance checklist,” said MND.
“The scope of the checklist has been enhanced as part of the corporate governance revisions, to include the new requirements from the 2017 Town Councils Act amendments.”
FY2020 was also the first year where town councils made their declaration of compliance with the Code of Governance for Town Councils using the governance disclosure checklist.
The code was launched in June 2019 and took effect from April 2020. It sets out the principles of good governance in four domains: Council effectiveness; internal controls & processes; financial management; and vendor management.
“The code complements the legislation which sets out the minimum standard of governance that the town councils are expected to comply with,” said MND.
“Most of the code provisions go beyond the legislative requirements and cover best practices that will guide town councils to achieve a higher level of governance over time. Town councils are encouraged to adopt these best practices through a comply-or-explain regime.”