Municipal services unit to launch app, establish protocol

A new one-stop office, to handle municipal matters that involve multiple government agencies, will open its doors on Oct 1, with plans for two major initiatives.

One is the establishment of a standard procedure for public agencies to receive, handle and track feedback on such matters, to ensure complaints are handled within a stipulated time.

Second, it will introduce a smartphone app for people to report these problems.

Both moves by the soon-to- open Municipal Services Office (MSO) were announced yesterday by Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, who will head it.

But their launch dates have not been finalised yet, she added.

The office, the setting up of which was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally last month, is to ensure that public agencies better coordinate to provide services that involve more than one of them.

It will come under the Ministry of National Development (MND).

Initially, the office will work with eight agencies: the Agri- Food and Veterinary Authority, national water agency PUB, National Parks Board, Housing Board, Land Transport Authority (LTA), Singapore Police Force, People's Association and National Environment Agency.

Yesterday, Ms Fu visited LTA's headquarters in Hampshire Road, off Kampong Java Road, to find out how the various agencies handle feedback on municipal issues.

She told reporters: "(We want to) identify the areas where we can make the most improvement within the shortest time... and bring the most benefit to the most people."

Previously, she had been to the police headquarters in New Phoenix Park in the Novena area, and in the pipeline are visits to the other public agencies the MSO will be working with.

Ms Fu said her topmost priority at the moment is to produce a "standard protocol" so that no matter which agency a person approaches, the feedback will be sent to the right party and tracked.

"Tracking is very important... (so that) the member of the public will have an answer by a stipulated time," she said.

The impending app will let people report municipal problems directly to the MSO, without having to deal with an extra layer of bureaucracy, said the MND in a statement yesterday.

To illustrate this, Ms Fu said a person who wants to report that some road infrastructure has not been maintained can simply take a picture and send it via the app to the MSO.

He would not have to worry about whether the road is under the LTA or HDB, she added.

This article was first published on September 23, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.