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Many helping hands to tackle social issues

28 August 2012

(From left) Jessica Huang and Mohamed Fareez Bin Mohd Fahmy from the second best and best teams of the essay competition respectively, with Madam Halimah and Mr Ng during the panel discussion

The Public-Private-People sector partnership or 3P approach is an important way of serving the needs of the people. Madam Halimah Yacob, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports, highlighted this at the Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund Forum organised by the NUS Department of Social Work on 27 August.

Citing Singapore's 2012 Budget, Madam Halimah noted that government expenditure in the social sector grew from S$13.0 billion in 2006 to S$20.2 billion in 2010. "However, the Government's efforts alone will not be sufficient to reach out to individuals and families in need. We require the involvement of the community to ensure effectiveness in our social service delivery," she told the audience from the academia, government and social service community.

The people and private sector organisations can better detect families and individuals in need within the community and at workplaces. To achieve an effective social service delivery, coordination is key. "We have started strengthening the Community Development Council-Family Service Centre nexus to ensure that their work for the same beneficiaries is well coordinated with no-wrong-door policy in place," said Madam Halimah.

The forum also saw views on the "Many Helping Hands" approach through the presentations of NUS alumnus Mr Ng Kok Hoe - a recipient of the 2010 Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund Scholarship and a London School of Economics doctoral student - as well as from the two winning teams of the inaugural Social Policy Essay Competition.

Rounding off the forum was a discussion session with Madam Halimah where questions raised included how to further increase the effectiveness of social agencies and the allocation of social spending.

The Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund was established in 2002 to honour the late Dr Ee who was known as Mr Charity for his contribution to the social service sector. The Fund offers bursaries and scholarships to NUS students pursuing social work studies at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. It also supports professional social work research and training.