Disbursements of public monies to Citizen Consultative Committees and Community Development & Welfare Funds

Parliamentary Question, 5 Nov 2019

https://www.pa.gov.sg/our-network/community-clubs

Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) in each of the last three years, what is the breakdown of public monies disbursed to (i) Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCCs) and (ii) Community Development and Welfare Funds (CDWFs) respectively; (b) what is the criterion used by CCCs and CDWFs to (i) assess eligibility for financial assistance to needy residents and (ii) Citizens’ Consultative Committee ComCare Fund (CCF); © what is the amount of assistance, broken down by types of assistance, rendered by CCF; (d) what is the mean and median duration of assistance provided to residents through the CCF; and (e) how should residents apply for assistance from CCC, CDWF and CCF respectively.

Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what are the respective roles of grassroots advisors (GAs) and elected Members of Parliament (MPs) in deciding (i) leadership and (ii) membership of grassroots leaders appointed by People’s Association (PA); (b) how are GAs and MPs respectively empowered to influence the operations and decisions of (i) Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCCs) and (ii) Community Development and Welfare Fund (CDWFs); and © whether the Citizens’ Consultative Committee ComCare Fund (CCF) applications and CDWF disbursements are decided by GAs or MPs.

Mr Chan Chun Sing (for the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth): Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected to represent their constituents in Parliament, to debate and make laws. They conduct Meet-the-People sessions and lead their town councils in managing the municipal operations and issues of the estates.

The role of Grassroots Advisors (GRAs) is different from that of MPs. GRAs are appointed by the People’s Association (PA), a statutory board under the MCCY. The PA’s role is to promote social cohesion, and to act as a bridge between the Government and the people. The PA appoints GRAs to guide its grassroots organisations (GROs) in communicating and implementing the policies and programmes of the Government of the day. These include difficult and unpopular policies which are necessary for the good of Singapore, such as CPF cuts during the 1986 recession, the increase in retirement age and the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA). In appointing GRAs, the PA therefore looks to those whom can be entrusted to carry out this role faithfully.

Similarly, the PA appoints grassroots leaders, including volunteers who serve on the Citizens’ Consultative Committees (CCC). Among other things, the CCCs help the PA to administer Government and local schemes such as the Community Development and Welfare Fund (CDWF) and CCC ComCare Fund (CCF), based on established criteria.

The CDWF supports community bonding programmes and welfare assistance for needy residents. The CDWF Committee, appointed by the CCC, manages and oversees the disbursement of funds. Those applying for welfare assistance under CDWF should minimally fulfil the following criteria:

(a) Residents of the constituency or Division of Group Representation Constituency (GRC) where the CCC serves; and

(b) Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents (PRs) or their children must be Singapore Citizen or PR.

Established under the ComCare Endowment Fund (ComCare), the CCF offers interim assistance to needy residents who require urgent and temporary financial relief. The CCC helps to administer the scheme based on the eligibility criteria set by Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). For the amount and duration of assistance rendered by CCF, the CCCs can grant up to three months of financial assistance per application, capped at $200 per month. Residents with longer term financial needs will be referred to the MSF’s Social Service Offices.

Residents can apply for both the CDWF and CCF at the Community Centres/Clubs.

In instances where applications for the CCF or CDWF do not meet the eligibility criteria, the CCC and CDWF committee may seek the help of the GRA to identify and connect residents with other sources of government and community support.

Based on an average of Financial Year (FY) 2016 to FY2018, the amount of direct grant given by PA to the CCCs and CDWFs is about $290,000 per CCC and $9,000 per CDWF per FY. These grants are used towards welfare assistance and community bonding programmes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and climate change in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

Follow Anthea Ong on her public page at www.facebook.com/antheaonglaytheng

A full-time human, and part-time everything else.

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