AHPETC does badly in S&CC arrears, corporate governance in Town Council report

The Workers' Party-run AHPETC was the only town council to achieve a red - that is, worst - banding in any area. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The Workers' Party-run AHPETC was the only town council to achieve a red - that is, worst - banding in any area. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - The Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) continues to perform poorly in the areas of corporate governance and service and conservancy charge (S&CC) arrears management, according to the annual Town Council Management Report released by the Ministry of National Development on Tuesday.

The report, which covers the 2013 financial year from April 2013 to March 2014, assesses town councils in five areas using a red, amber and green banding system.

The Workers' Party-run AHPETC was the only town council to achieve a red - that is, worst - banding in any area. This was the second year running that it was red-flagged for corporate governance, and the third year for S&CC arrears management.

Summary of town councils’ performance for FY2013 (click on image for more details)

According to the report, AHPETC's poor performance in corporate governance was because it has not shown that it has rectified "various legal and regulatory contraventions" reported by its independent auditors for the 2011 and 2012 financial years. In addition, it has not submitted its FY13 financial statements and its self-declared corporate governance checklist.

The report also described the "sharp decline" in the S&CC arrears situation as being "of grave public concern".

Aljunied's S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6 per cent in FY10 to 8.4 per cent in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3 per cent, the MND noted in its statement on Tuesday.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4 per cent at the end of April 2013. "From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders," said the MND.

The only other town council that did not do well for arrears management was Potong Pasir Town Council. It continued to be rated amber, although its arrears rate has improved from 4.2 per cent last year to 3.7 per cent this year.

Two town councils were also rated amber for corporate governance, due to "technical breaches".

Ang Mo Kio Town Council was late in transferring funds to its sinking fund bank account on two occasions, once by six days and the other time by eight days. This was because the authorised signatories were overseas when the transfers were due.

Chua Chu Kang Town Council did not transfer the correct amount to the sinking fund for the quarter ended September 2013 due to errors in calculation.

The other three areas in which town councils are assessed are estate cleanliness, lift performance and estate maintenance.

Town Council Management Report framework and banding (click on image for more details)

All town councils performed well and were banded green for the first two areas. But 11 out of the 16 town councils were banded amber when it came to estate maintenance.

Summary of results

The obstruction of common areas was the top problem, accounting for 32 per cent of all estate maintenance issues.

"Such obstructions are potential fire hazards and can hamper evacuation efforts during emergencies. TCs should address this issue jointly with their residents," said the MND.

"Residents should also play their part not to clutter up the common passageway. By working together as a community, TCs and residents can ensure that their fire safety is not compromised," it added.

The full report can be found at www.towncouncils.sg