Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of National Development

$5m fund for inter-agency productivity projects

A sensor measures the height of grass in real-time, allowing a grass-cutter to know if he has met the standards for a particular plot. The cutting-edge technology may soon be used by NParks, thanks to a prototype created by GovTech.

There will hopefully be more of such inter-agency collaboration to raise productivity, as the Municipal Services Office (MSO) sets aside up to $5 million a year to fund it. Agencies and town councils can tap this funding from May.

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu, who oversees the MSO, said increasing productivity is "critical in view of the tightening labour market and technological disruptions".

She added: "Municipal service delivery will need to adapt and take advantage of new technologies to be better and more efficient."

The MSO was established in 2014 to improve inter-government agency cooperation in municipal issues.

As of end-2016, 83,000 registered users reported some 85,000 cases on MSO's OneService app.

By streamlining processes, MSO has also cut down the time taken to close cases involving multiple agencies from 21 days in October 2014 to 12 days last year.

Ms Fu said it will "go beyond merely responding quickly to feedback" and anticipate problems early by studying data.

"What we hope to achieve is in fact a deeper cultural transformation: to change how agencies work and how they collaborate with one another."

Rachel Au-Yong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline '$5m fund for inter-agency productivity projects'. Print Edition | Subscribe