SOCIAL SERVICE DATABASE: SPENDING MILLIONS TO DELIVER PEANUT RETURNS?

Opening of 23rd Social Service Office

I refer to the article ”Punggol gets its 23rd Social Service Office” (Straits Times, Oct 2).

It states that ”The office, at Punggol 21 Community Club, 80 Punggol Field #04-01, is the 23rd opened by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).”

How much are we spending?

How much are we spending with the introduction of these Social Service Offices, staff costs, etc?

In this connection, according to the article “National database that will speed up aid delivery to needy to be ready next year” (Straits Times, May 31, 2014) –  “Needy people who require help will get it more speedily when social service agencies start sharing a national database of information on aid recipients from the third quarter of next year.

Database cost $26.5m?

The tender to develop the system, called Social Service Net, was awarded to consultancy firm Accenture for $26.5 million, announced the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSFon Friday.”

Costs of delivering social assistance?

Reading the above gave me a sense of “discomfort”.

Does it not perhaps indicate that we may have lost our sense of proportion in balancing the efficiency of the delivery of social assistance vis-a-vis the amount of financial assistance.

ComCare only spent $102.4 million in financial assistance to needy families a year. And we are spending $26.5 million on the database system?

What about the additional millions that are spent running the new social service offices and the existing family service centres, Community Development Councils (CDCs), etc – which should be costed into the delivery of ComCare?

Leong Sze Hian

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