In a speech to the Committee of Supply, the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Teo Chee Hean, said that the Singapore government is studying how to better integrate strategy and processes for technology adoption in the Public Service. At the moment, the process is dispersed. The push for a more integrated and technology-enabled government would be crucial to achieving the Smart Nation vision.
He was outlining priorities for the Public Service, including driving innovation and building new capabilities, especially in the area of Digital Government to create “A Well-Coordinated, Technology-Enabled, and Future-Ready Public Service”. .
DPM Teo said that there is always scope for improvement, “The Public Service has embarked on a transformational journey over the past few years to become more innovative, work smarter through technology, deliver seamless services, connect with citizens, and build a future-ready workplace. But this is always a work in progress. We can always do better. We can always be more efficient. We can always be more responsive.”
Minister Ong Ye Kung to champion Public Service innovation
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has appointed the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) & Second Minister for Defence, Ong Ye Kung to champion Public Service innovation.
In this role, Minister Ong will work with the Public Service on driving change and innovation and focus on areas that require close coordination among agencies. This would include review of regulations to better support innovation and entrepreneurship. Secondly, procurement methods will be adopted to support industry development. DPM Teo added that these initiatives are in line with the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE).
Building IT workforce to support priority areas
The Public Service needs to strengthen its digital and engineering capabilities. To support this priority area, a core group of 250 professionals in Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) and Cyber Security Agency (CSA) will drive key digital capabilities in areas such as data science and cybersecurity in the Public Service. These professionals will collaborate with universities and industry to experiment and create new products and services, and enable further policy innovation.
To create a broader appreciation and application of new technologies in the Public Service, 10,000 public officers will be trained over the next four years in digital capabilities such as using more data analytics and data science in policy formulation, service delivery and corporate services, and strengthening cybersecurity.
Three Centres of Excellence
Last year, DPM Teo had announced the establishment of three Centres of Excellence (CentExs), JTC Corporation (JTC), GovTech and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA). The CetExs are partnering many agencies, and research institutions to develop innovative technologies and solutions. The CentExs will develop and share deep technical expertise within the Public Service and optimise deployment and development of these specialities across the Public Service.
For instance, JTC, as CentEx for infrastructure and facilities management, has developed an integrated smart estate and building operations system, called J-Ops. J-Ops uses existing sensors to monitor and analyse essential services and systems in several buildings from a central location. This enables facility managers to optimise operations room personnel and technicians over several buildings and facilities, thereby increasing productivity. The system also allows managers to use data analytics and predictive maintenance to pre-empt issues and reduce energy consumption.
During 2017, the government will also build up capabilities in JTC for underground caverns and LTA for tunnelling for optimising Singapore’s limited land resources.
DPM Teo underlined the importance of public-private partnerships”in the process of improving Singapore’s public services, “We also look forward to partnering the private sector and companies in building these digital and engineering capabilities in the public sector to further support Singapore’s transformation and the delivery of public services for Singaporeans.
Read the speech by DPM Teo here.