SINGAPORE - A one-stop online portal allowing users to look for information on social services was launched on Tuesday (July 24), the first time comprehensive information on such services has been consolidated into an online platform.
Users can look for social services according to target group, programme type, area and organisation using the Social Service Navigator website.
For example, one can find the seniors day activity centre nearest one's home through the portal, or look for information on schemes and subsidies.
The portal was launched by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) at the Social Service Summit held at Fairmont Singapore, which was attended by special guest, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee.
The Social Service Navigator can help both the public and social sector workers.
NCSS chief executive Sim Gim Guan said: "This will significantly reduce the time social service professionals spend searching for suitable programmes for service users even as it allows us to address the needs of our clients more holistically."
Mr Mohd Ali Mahmood, chief executive of the Singapore Muslim Women's Association, said the online portal is a comprehensive tool for both practitioners and the public.
"Practitioners can use it as a quick guide and source of reference," he added.
All NCSS members' programmes are on the platform, adding up to about 1,800.
Another digital initiative launched at the event was iShine Cloud, a collaboration between Singapore Pools and NCSS that can help charity groups with their backroom functions.
iShine Cloud is a non-profit IT company that provides a suite of social service sector-specific software via a secured cloud-based platform at a subsidised rate. The platform will include Microsoft Office 365, backend IT operations, shared storage, donor management systems, accounting and human resource systems.
The cloud service is meant for charities, as many of them have inefficient IT operations or have yet to digitalise their systems.
Mr Lee, who launched iShine Cloud, said: "Initiatives such as the iShine Cloud can also help our sector adopt IT and improve our work processes by aggregating common needs across VWOs (voluntary welfare organisations). This allows us to achieve economies of scale and optimises resources not only within our VWOs but across the sector."
NCSS said the technology would help to make backroom functions more efficient and free up staff resources.
At the summit, 800 social service professionals, corporates, donors and government leaders discussed sustainable funding in the charity sector.
NCSS vice-president Anita Fam said that as societal needs become more complex, the demand for social services will grow.
"One of the key recurring challenges identified by social service organisations is the difficulty in finding sustainable ways to fund their programmes and operations," she added.
A variety of funding approaches were explored at the summit. Beyond traditional grants, the potential of less commonly used approaches in Singapore, such as social impact bonds and endowment funds, were also discussed.
Mr Sim said: "With growing needs, the sector must look beyond current modes of operating and explore new ways to work more effectively."