MND engages panel for new code of governance for town councils

A seven-member advisory panel has been set up to help town councils develop a code of governance, as a result of changes to the Town Councils Act passed in March 2017.
A seven-member advisory panel has been set up to help town councils develop a code of governance, as a result of changes to the Town Councils Act passed in March 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A seven-member advisory panel has been set up to help town councils develop a code of governance.

The code is a result of changes to the Town Councils Act passed in March 2017. It will highlight best practices that can guide town councils to better execute their fiduciary responsibilities and improve accountability.

Similar to the code for charities here, town councils will be encouraged to adopt these practices through a comply-or-explain regime.

In a statement on Wednesday (Feb 7), the Ministry of National Development (MND) said it has appointed consultant Ernst & Young Advisory to assist it in drafting the code.

The consultant will also provide expertise on governance best practices as well as engage the town councils to better understand their current operations.

It has also appointed seven academics, governance experts and industry practitioners to advise MND on the development and implementation of the code.

This panel will be chaired by MND permanent secretary Ow Foong Pheng, and comprise Mapletree Investments head of group property management Foo Say Chiang; National University of Singapore (NUS) accounting professor Mak Yuen Teen; Jay Gee Group managing director R. Dhinakaran; Colliers International executive director Tang Chee-Charn; chartered accountant Tham Sai Choy; and NUS real estate professor Yu Shi-Ming.

Said the MND: "The panel will provide expert views and perspectives on the governance principles and practices which the town councils can adopt, taking into consideration the town councils' operating context."

The ministry will seek public feedback on the draft code in the second half of this year, and aims to introduce the code by early next year.

Implementation details will be shared at a later stage.