The top three services with the highest cost savings in the first half of FY2013 are financial audit services ($169,000), information technology hardware purchases ($113,000), and governance and internal audit services ($84,000).
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Here is the statement from the National Council of Social Service:
Member voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) reported cost savings of more than $487,000 in the first half of Financial Year (FY) 2013 from using the NCSS Common Services. The figure is on track to exceed the total cost savings of $815,000 in FY2012 and $650,000 in FY2011.
Started in 2006, the Common Services is a platform initiated by NCSS to enable member VWOs to achieve better organisational efficiency and cost savings. Currently, 25 service providers offer preferential rates and pro bono assistance to more than 400 member VWOs through 17 Common Services.
Most Popular Common Services
The top three Common Services with the highest cost savings in the first half of FY2013 are financial audit services ($169,000), information technology hardware purchases ($113,000), and governance and internal audit services ($84,000).
The top two services with the highest usage among member VWOs are insurance, which was utilised by 126 members, and audit services that 62 members have tapped on. 48 member VWOs also benefited from discounted groceries and fuel, which were tied at third place.
Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore) or LBSA, 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 cost as their audit fees were more affordable than that of our previous auditor," said Mr Goh Boo Han, its Executive Director.
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 are attuned to the requirements. 251 VWOs have used at least one Common Service since FY2011.
Call for More Vendors to Join the Scheme
With growing demand from VWOs, a larger pool of vendors and services is needed to support the needs of VWOs in the social service sector. On mobilising resources for member VWOs, Ms Quek Boon Kien, Director of Fund Allocation and VWO Benefits, 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."
One popular vendor in the scheme which has been offering their services at a discounted rate to the sector since 2007 is Fiducia LLP, an audit firm that is currently serving some 50 member VWOs. Mr Wayne Soo, Managing Partner of Fiducia LLP, said: "We have seen a steady increase in the number of VWOs engaging us since 2007. We found that VWOs are looking for an audit with competitive fees and advice when there are new developments in the sector, such as the full implementation of the Charities Accounting Standards in 2015. Generally, we have seen a rise in the quality of governance in the VWOs. This augurs well for the sector and is reflected by the increase in the annual donations made to the sector."