System which rates transparency of charities to be ready by end-2014

A new system to rate the transparency of charities is expected to be unveiled by the end of this year. It aims to help charities improve their effectiveness, and create more public support and confidence in them.

Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, announced this to about 300 participants of the inaugural Charity Governance Conference on Wednesday.

Citing examples of similar rating systems in the United States, Mr Wong said such a framework is needed in Singapore to help create an environment conducive to informed giving.

"We have a more sophisticated public that wants to see clearer reporting on the work done by charities," he said.

But many charities still perceive transparency and accountability as "something good to have, not a must-have", he added.

The conference, held at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium, was organised by the Charity Council, a 15-member committee which promotes good governance practices in the charity sector.

The council is partnering the National University of Singapore Business School to develop the system, which will be introduced in phases.

Mrs Fang Ai Lian, chairman of the council, also said the council's website will be revamped in the next few months. She hopes the new website will provide more informative content and raise public awareness of good governance in charities.

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