Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what criteria or key performance indicators are used to assess whether the functions of the Mayors and Community Development Councils (CDCs) have been successfully achieved; (b) in the past three years, what is the combined total expenditure of the CDCs; (c) what is the percentage breakdown of how such expenditures are allocated; (d) how many unique schemes have been rolled out by the Mayors and CDCs in the past five years as distinct from schemes administered by the Government and what are these schemes; and (e) what efforts are adopted to ensure co-ordination between financial assistance schemes offered by the CDCs, Comcare and other support schemes provided by the Government.
Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Culture, Community & Youth and Trade & Industry, in her capacity as Chairperson of Mayors’ Committee:
- The chief aims of the Community Development Councils (CDCs) are to assist the needy, bond the community and strengthen social cohesion in Singapore.
- Each Mayor plays a key role in leading their respective CDC and district to achieve these goals. They galvanise residents and the support of diverse community partners, and help the community stay connected, resilient and cohesive.
- The CDCs and Mayors form a bridge between residents and the Government, and strengthen Singapore’s social safety net. They function not only as the hands and legs to implement programmes for the community, but are also the eyes and ears to identify emerging needs and gaps in social support.
- Being nimble and close to the ground, they have a strong network across the people and private sector to lean upon, and the ability to aggregate local needs and resources, as well as build capabilities in their partners, and connect communities together.
- One of the key roles of the CDC is to complement national help schemes and initiatives. To date, the CDCs have developed and administered over 100 CDC local assistance schemes, and this forms about 40% of all CDC programmes. The diverse range of schemes and community programmes are tailored to meet the respective district’s needs and priorities.
- Many of these efforts are developed through innovative solutioning and collaborations with community partners. Some of the unique programmes include Central Singapore CDC’s Purple Parade, North East CDC’s Heart Bakers programme, North West CDC’s Club 100, South East CDC’s 5E Programmes (which stands for Easy and Enjoyable activity that Encourages widespread participation within the community which Earns sponsorships for the needy. In doing so, SE CDC also Enlarges the value of the giving and thus Enhance the community ownership and spirit) and South West CDC’s Caregiver Support Fund.
- To meet its goals, the CDCs’ annual operating expenditure has been about $40.8 million for the past three years. On average, the CDCs raise about $11.4million in cash annually to support and enable more community programmes on the ground.
- In addition, the CDCs have evolved to support and administer social and community services on behalf of the government. For instance, in the national SkillsFuture drive, the CDCs launched “SkillsFuture Advice” to promote lifelong learning and bring career advice through roadshows and workshops to Singaporeans. They met the goal of attaining 80,000 unique participants in two years instead of three.
- With Covid-19, the role of the CDCs is more relevant than ever - to uplift lives and strengthen community resilience. With the benefit of economies of scale and a close understanding of the ground, the CDCs were able to quickly roll out between February and October 2020, close to 100 local district initiatives that served over 676,000 beneficiaries. They also raised $8.39 million in cash and in kind.
- Together, the CDCs and their partners continue to build an important scaffold of support to strengthen Singapore’s social safety net and form a whole-of-community response to leave no one behind in this crisis.