MWS was presented with the Charity Governance Award (Large Category) 2014 on 13 November 2014.
The CGA recognises charities that have adopted the highest standards of governance. The CGA aims to promote good governance in the charity sector by acknowledging the excellent work of charities, while inspiring others to emulate best practices in governance.
MWS received the award from the Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Chan Chun Sing, at the presentation ceremony held on 13 November 2014. The event was witnessed by more than 300 representatives from voluntary welfare organisations, top officials from MCCY and members of the Charity Council.
MWS Chairperson also shared about our governance practices in a panel discussion moderated by Professor Mak Yuen Tee of the NUS Business School.
Good Governance Practices in Methodist Welfare Services
OVERVIEW AND KEY PRINCIPLES
MWS is a multi-service welfare agency, operating several centres providing the community with a variety of services. Our governance framework encompasses an independent Board which is accountable for the entire organisation, as well as Governance Committees that oversee each of the respective centres. This framework has evolved in response to improving standards of governance, and to encourage committed volunteerism, and greater staff professionalism in the delivery of our services to the community.
Our Board seeks to implement the highest standards of governance, with a clear focus on substance over form. These standards are established by the Board, and observed at all our centres throughout our organisation. The two key pillars that support our entire approach to governance are: ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY. These two principles resonate throughout our governance policies and practice.
ENGAGING PARTNERS AND VOLUNTEERS
MWS works in partnership with Methodist churches and agencies, to operate our centres and deliver the much needed services to the community. This ensures close collaboration and accountability to our principal stakeholder, the Methodist community in Singapore. As a result most of our volunteers are from the Methodist community, and this model ensures that our volunteers possess a high degree of commitment and ownership in their involvement. There is a high degree of interaction and collaboration between staff and volunteers throughout our entire organisation.
We are also blessed with a wide and dependable base of donors and supporters, also largely drawn from the Methodist community. We seek to actively engage our donors and supporters, and ensure that they are kept informed of our programmes and activities. A large proportion of our donors are also active volunteers, a manifestation of the sense of ownership and commitment that they possess. As a result, our donors generally have a good sense of the performance of our centres, and the respective contributions which they make in the community.
In reality, our volunteers represent our key stakeholders and have a symbiotic working relationship with our centres, and indeed our entire organisation and its ministries. They participate actively in the leadership of our centres in the delivery of services and provide constant and direct feedback in the process.
BOARD SUCCESSION PLANNING AND RENEWAL
To ensure effective Board renewal, term limits are in place, and diligently observed. The Nominations Committee meets regularly to identify persons with the knowledge, experience and commitment required for the current and future needs of the organisation. These persons are often drawn from our wide pool of volunteers who have demonstrated faithful service in one or more of our centres. This also ensures that our Board members are generally cognisant of the situation “on the ground”, and have a true heart to serve the less fortunate in our society.
The Board, through National Council of Social Service, also accepts nominations of interested administrative officers from the Public Service Division to join the board.
CONSTANT MONITORING AND CALIBRATION OF SERVICE DELIVERY
MWS runs multiple centres for beneficiaries ranging from children and youth to families and elderly. We are subject to stringent evaluation and monitoring by different ministries and funding agencies such as MSF, NCSS and MOH. Data from this monitoring and regulatory process helps us to evaluate the standing of our Centres’ performances compared to other VWOS.
Our Family Service Centres monitor output and outcomes through the Enhanced Programme Evaluation System. MWS management regularly reviews the effectiveness of the programmes and this is presented to our Centre Governance Committees. A Board of Visitors appointed by MSF visits Christalite Methodist Home every month to ensure our residents’ medical, recreational and welfare needs are met. Our hostel for delinquent girls is also subjected to visits by a Board of Visitors. In regular meetings with MSF, we are able to benchmark our services with other service providers. Our child care centre licence is subject to renewal every two years under the Child Care Centre Act. Licence is given only if we comply with standards set for the childcare sector.
The Finance Committee has established a clear set of financial policies and procedures. The implementation of these policies and procedures is closely monitored to ensure that adequate internal controls are in place. Annual budgets are scrutinised by the governance committees of each centre, and by the Finance Committee, and approved by the Board.
We have an Audit Committee that works with both our statutory auditors and our internal auditors to ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulatory requirements.
Our Annual Report, incorporating the audited financial statements, is made available to members, volunteers, donors and stakeholders. The audited financial statements are also posted on our website and provide full disclosure for the benefit of all stakeholders.
To find the right staff and retain good staff is a key priority for MWS. We invest significantly in the training and development of our staff, so that their career development matches their talent, skills, experience and aspirations to the organizations’ needs. This is intended to give our staff a better sense of their career path and development in MWS.
Staff development plans are identified based on the core competencies needed, and the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes to successfully carry out assigned duties and be prepared for changes in the social service sector. For e.g. We take a proactive approach in ensuring that staff satisfy the Code of Professional Practice for staff in family service centres and ensuring that staff in our nursing home meet the Enhanced Nursing Home standards. This is done by consciously mapping the current staff competencies and against the required and future needs. A training roadmap is then developed and implemented.
To develop our leaders, MWS has launched a Coaching Programme in collaboration with the CNPL (Centre for Non-Profit Leadership) and the International Federation of Coaches. Each Head of Centre is matched to a personal coach for individual coaching. High potential staff are also sent for leadership development courses, such as the Non-Profit Management Programme for the 21st Century run by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
Study expenses is just one of the worries that students from low-income families have to contend with. Making major decisions in studies and career are often confusing and fraught with anxiety for many young people. This is why they need mentors.
She is a social worker who was almost on a financial assistance scheme. Now, she has a plan to tackle chronic poverty.
How a MWS bursary recipient tries to make ends meet
Lives of girls are rebuilt within the humble walls of Residence @ St. George's. The delinquents, either mandated by court or voluntarily admitted, come face to face with their destructive lifestyles and are guided back on track. And when they do, it's a most beautiful moment. Here, one such girl write back to her family.
The newly opened Charis ACE (ACE stands for Activity Centre for Elders) is all about active ageing and providing opportunities for seniors to help seniors.
Practical tips to prevent falls for the elderly