We thank Ms Braema Mathi, president of Maruah, for her letter ("Examination of PA's structure needed to ensure accountability"; last Friday).
Today, ComCare Financial Assistance is disbursed primarily through the Ministry of Social and Family Development's (MSF) network of Social Service Offices (SSOs) located within HDB estates islandwide. Singaporeans in need of help, regardless of where they live, may approach the nearest SSO.
To increase the accessibility of assistance, MSF has also appointed key community partners to disburse ComCare interim financial assistance, including Citizens Consultative Committees (CCCs), Family Service Centres and the Community Justice Centre.
As these partners are likely to come across persons in need, they have been authorised to tap ComCare funds to provide immediate, interim assistance to individuals and families who require urgent and temporary financial relief to tide over their situation.
Those who require longer-term assistance will be referred to the SSOs.
MSF also requires partner agencies to provide assistance based on stipulated guidelines and processes, and fulfil the necessary reporting and monitoring requirements.
The CCCs raise money to co-fund 20 per cent of the CCC ComCare fund so that more residents, regardless of where they live, can be helped.
In addition, the CCCs also raise funds and work with partners such as voluntary welfare organisations, charities, and religious and clan associations to help residents.
This includes providing grocery vouchers, school fees, textbooks and uniforms to those who need them.
The lapses highlighted by the Auditor-General concerned data entry errors in recording the assistance offered to residents. These have since been rectified. All funds were accounted for.
We assure readers that no one was denied help because of these errors.
Kong Kum Peck (Ms)
ComCare and Social Support Division
Ministry of Social and Family Development
Ng We Khoon
Director, North West Community Development Division