SINGAPORE: Voluntary welfare organisations under the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) have reported cost savings of nearly S$500,000 in the first half of financial year 2013 through the use of common services.
NCSS said the cost savings reaped are on track to exceed the total cost savings of S$815,000 in FY2012 and S$650,000 in FY2011.
The council introduced a range of common services in 2006 to enable its member VWOs to achieve better organisational efficiency and cost savings.
NCSS said there are currently 25 service providers offering preferential rates and pro bono assistance to more than 400 member VWOs through 17 common services, which cover audit, governance consultancy, human resource, information technology, insurance, medical and healthcare, printing and design, pro bono legal, cleaning, groceries and vehicle related services.
The top three common services with the highest cost savings in the first half of FY2013 are financial audit services (S$169,000), information technology hardware purchases (S$113,000) and governance and internal audit services (S$84,000).
The top two services with the highest usage among member VWOs are insurance and audit services.
VWOs also benefited from discounted groceries and fuel, which were tied at third place.
Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore), which runs a nationwide befriending programme for vulnerable seniors and six senior activity centres, is one of the VWOs that has used the audit service.
"We engaged a participating firm to audit our annual financial statements in the last few years. We not only benefited from their professional service, but also managed to save costs as their audit fees were more affordable than that of our previous auditor," said Goh Boo Han, executive director of Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore).
NCSS said the common services have also helped member VWOs to streamline their procurement practices with the ease in selecting vendors that have experience working in the social service sector and who are attuned to the requirements.
It added that 251 VWOs have used at least one common service since FY2011.
NCSS is calling for more vendors to come forward to offer their services.
Quek Boon Kien, director of Fund Allocation and VWO Benefits at NCSS, said: "NCSS hopes to deliver more value to our member VWOs through engaging and encouraging more vendors to come forward and offer their services at discounted rates or on a pro bono basis, for the benefit of the social service sector.
“We are also gathering feedback from our member VWOs on new services that will cater to their needs. Through offering greater cost savings to the VWOs through the common services, they can then channel their savings to serve their clients better." - CNA/nd
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