Some ministry duties shouldn't be outsourced

SINGAPORE - I wonder why the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is turning to outsourcing for enforcement checks "to detect and deter illegal employment at workplaces" ("MOM to outsource enforcement checks"; last Sunday).

It is all right for the Government to outsource functions such as administrative duties, but it is best for it to be in sole charge of sensitive duties like enforcement.

Checking for illegal employment is not a straightforward process and requires the MOM's expertise.

Third-party contractors may not be able to provide reliable services; they may also not be as dedicated as MOM officers to the task.

There could also be a lack of focus as the vendors may be providing services to several organisations at the same time. Also, if such contractors face financial problems, they could stop their services.

It would be best for the ministry to raise its headcount to carry out enforcement activities. Accountability should never be outsourced.

This article was first published on November 30, 2014.
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