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National Council of Social Services’s tech initiative

The National Council of Social Services (NCSS) introduced initiatives for charities and social service agencies to adopt technological solutions at subsidised rates on Tuesday, July 16.

The initiatives include an intelligent surveillance system called SoundEye which can alert staff when someone has fallen or injured themselves and an autonomous cleaning robot programmed to have human-like responses.

“The initiative enables existing care workers to provide better service to more clients, raise staff morale and retention and increase client centricity. Care workers’ roles can also be upgraded to attract more Singaporeans to take up these jobs,” said NCSS.

Tech Booster Initiative

The Tech Booster initiative is amongst two initiatives which are aimed at helping social service agencies address the manpower crunch.

This Tech Booster initiative allows for social service agencies to get up to 98 percent funding, with a cap of $450,000 per centre, if they adopt three or more technology solutions.

It hopes to implement the use of technology at residential facilities that find it hard to hire staff, such as adult disability homes, daycare centres, and welfare homes.

A key aim of the programme is to cut operational time spent by a care worker by 30 percent.

Project Back-To-Basics initiative

Social service agencies can make use of this initiative to streamline processes for social service professionals, to allow them to invest more of their time to serve clients instead of handling administrative tasks. Some of these professionals include speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and youth workers.

“The professionals can have higher job satisfaction and perform upgraded functions that better use their professional skills and knowledge,” said NCSS.

Implementing initiatives

A consultancy company will work with the organisations to suggest ways to use technology for processes that need improvement.

An earlier OpenGov article reported that the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) forecast sectors to remain resilient, in the face of global trading uncertainty and economy slowdown, due to demand for digital solutions. Social services was one of the sectors identified to be resilient in this economic uncertainty.

NCSS president Anita Fam addressed about how innovation is a key challenge for the social service sector. She shared about a recent social service sector survey, which indicated that 26 percent of more than 280 industry leaders said innovation was one of their agency’s top three challenges.

Minister for Social and Family Development, Desmond Lee, urged the industry to open to digital transformation. He said that charities and social service agencies must recognise the larger picture of manpower tightening across all sectors in Singapore.

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