Speech by Minister Grace Fu at the Committee of Supply Debate 2020 - Connected Services for a Connected Community
Mar 4, 2020
From Coordinating to Connecting
As our country battles the COVID-19 outbreak, I would first start by conveying our appreciation towards all cleaners and workers in municipal services for working hard to keep COVID-19 at bay.
Municipal issues concern all of us as residents and, as Mr Baey Yam Keng said, can be complex and involve multiple parties to resolve. We have made good progress coordinating across government agencies, Town Councils and other non-government stakeholders, to offer residents services that are prompt, practical and personal.
With the OneService App, residents can access services on-the-go. We now have more than 200,000 App users who, collectively, submitted over 460,000 feedback cases. The use of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, enables our integrated systems to route most of these cases automatically to the right agency for prompt action, with 89% accuracy. This saves about 175 man-days a month, freeing up resources for agencies to focus on rectifying ground issues.
To address complex issues, MSO first clarifies the roles of stakeholders involved. 90% of cases involving multiple stakeholders found the case owners within 7 days, and since 2015, the average time taken has fallen from 8.5 to 6 days. MSO then works with stakeholders to develop collaborations that tap on their respective areas of expertise. Mr Baey cited cat-related nuisance. NParks is the first point-of-contact for the public for animal-related feedback. We are tightening the collaboration to manage this and monitoring to ensure that case resolution times and outcomes improve.
Addressing residents’ concerns about complex issues often goes beyond coordination, so we emphasise services that carry greater personal engagement. I recall a case where residents at Pending Road were troubled by unpleasant smells from a nearby flat. HDB found the flat severely hoarded and infested with pests. HDB worked with Holland–Bukit Panjang Town Council, MSF, PA, IMH, Thye Hua Kwan and Covenant Evangelical Free Church to address the case holistically. They worked over weekends to clean the flat, obtained financial aid for repairs and provided emotional and counselling support – all to afford long-term self-care to the flat owner and a sustainable solution to other residents.
This is the empathy and resident-centric service we champion. Today, nearly 60% of our OneService App cases have post poll ratings of 4- and 5-stars. We aim to raise this to 70% by end-2020. MSO will go further, beyond coordinating, to forge meaningful connections with, and among residents.
Connecting Residents to Services Using Technology
Mr Ong Teng Koon asked about MSO’s progress in harnessing technology to deliver service improvements to residents. The projects undertaken by SLA and NEA under the Municipal Services Productivity Fund are progressing well. In 2019, we awarded funding for HDB and PUB to trial a smart lock system, that Mr Ong has asked, that automates access to maintenance areas in HDB estates (such as rooftops). We will explore the potential for this system to be adapted to other spaces, together with other solutions, such as encouraging residents to be more considerate, as Mr Ong has requested, to address the root cause of community noise.
We are making other technological improvements to better connect residents to services that meet their needs. First, we are integrating services from agencies and Town Councils into the OneService App, to develop the “Book Facilities” feature for residents to have a single, simple touchpoint to find and book community spaces, such as function rooms, barbeque pits and sports facilities. In addition, we will introduce new reporting categories, such as “smoking” and “high-rise littering”, for residents to highlight specific concerns for investigation.
Second, we are improving accessibility to services, by bringing our mainstay reporting function to where residents are. With OneService Lite, which involves QR codes posted at places where residents frequent (such as HDB lift landings), users can easily report a case by scanning the QR codes in just two steps, without having to pre-install the OneService App. Soon, residents can also submit cases via popular social messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, guided by an AI-powered chatbot.
Third, we are constantly innovating to kick-start future-ready solutions. Since January, we have been trialling Municipal 360. Routine feedback submitted through the OneService App will be routed directly to agencies’ contractors for speedier resolution. Residents will be updated with photos of work done directly by the municipal worker. Last November, MSO hosted the OneService-Industry eXchange for public and private organisations to share ideas and co-develop solutions for municipal operations. With more collaboration and experimentation, residents can look forward to smarter, more customised service improvements.
Connecting the Community to Co-create a Better Living Environment for All
Even as we expand technological connectivity, we want to connect residents with each other to co-create a better living environment for all. We agree with Mr Amrin Amin’s suggestion to consider the diverse views of residents. Certainly, as part of SGTogether, we will enable each and every one to have a say, and exercise collective choices that will impact their living environment.
For a start, we have included new OneService App features to activate our community to make the changes they want to see. Residents will be able to poll on local improvement works through “What Say You?” surveys and use the “Community Challenge” feature to take bite-size, meaningful actions that help address issues that concern them.
We must also augment hardware with “heartware”, by nurturing more community participation and partnership. During a pilot in Yio Chu Kang to reduce high-rise littering and pigeon issues, the dedication of the Residents’ Committee community leaders to educate residents personally was critical in tackling the root cause: human behaviour. Post-pilot, we saw an 80% reduction in related feedback. We have formalised a programme to equip community leaders and Town Councils in all towns with advice and resources to tackle these issues.
We welcome residents to come on board in a variety of ways – as individuals, to inject their unique perspectives; and as a community, to build consensus amid diverse views. For example, MSO is partnering MCCY in the “Love Our ’Hood” initiative that testbeds various resident participation models to co-create solutions for municipal issues in their neighbourhoods. Through these projects, we will develop resources that other community groups can use when launching future ground-up initiatives.
To sum up, there are many good ideas, diverse talents, and new solution possibilities across the community, industry and agencies. We want to harness these to achieve our common goal of improving our living environment, the SGTogether way. In 2020, we will remain steadfast in our goal, to deliver connected services for a connected community. Thank you.