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Singapore: Common Services Platform Cuts Costs Welfare Organisations by Close to US$400,000
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement, Institution and HR Management, Internet Governance
Country: Singapore
Created: Apr 01, 2014

Member voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) reported cost savings of more than $487,000 (US$385,000) in the first half of Financial Year (FY) 2013 from using the NCSS Common Services.


IT hardware purchases are among the top three Common Services with the highest cost savings. VWOs reported total savings of S$113,000 (US$89,000) from this common service.


The other two were financial audit services at S$169,000 (US$133,000) and governance and internal audit services S$84,000 (US$66,000).


The total savings figure is on track to exceed the total cost savings of $815,000 (US$644,000) in FY2012 and $650,000 (US$513,000) in FY2011.


Started in 2006, the Common Services is a platform initiated by NCSS to enable member VWOs to achieve better organisational efficiency and cost savings.


Currently, 25 service providers offer preferential rates and pro bono assistance to more than 400 member VWOs through 17 Common Services.


The Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore) or LBSA, which runs a nationwide befriending programme for vulnerable seniors and six senior activity centres, is one of the VWOs that has used the audit service.


“We engaged a participating firm to audit our annual financial statements in the last few years. We not only benefited from their professional service but also managed to save cost as their audit fees were more affordable than that of our previous auditor,” said Executive Director Goh Boo Han.


The Common Services have also helped member VWOs to streamline their procurement practices with the ease in selecting vendors that have experience working in the social service sector and are attuned to the requirements. 251 VWOs have used at least one Common Service since FY2011.


With growing demand from VWOs, a larger pool of vendors and services is needed to support the needs of VWOs in the social service sector.


On mobilising resources for member VWOs, Quek Boon Kien, Director of Fund Allocation and VWO Benefits, NCSS said: “NCSS hopes to deliver more value to our member VWOs through engaging and encouraging more vendors to come forward and offer their services at discounted rates or on a pro bono basis for the benefit of the social service sector. We are also gathering feedback from our member VWOs on new services that will cater to their needs. Through offering greater cost savings to the VWOs through the Common Services, they can then channel their savings to serve their clients better.”
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