The winners of the inaugural Charity Governance Awards were revealed at the Charity Governance Awards Ceremony held on 6 November 2012 at School of the Arts (SOTA).
An initiative of the Charity Council organised in partnership with the National University of Singapore's Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (ACSEP), the Charity Governance Awards honour charities that have adopted the highest standards of governance.
The event, which brought together more than 200 guests from 91 organisations, was graced by Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Lawrence Wong.
The winners were each presented with a plaque and a cash prize of S$10,000 sponsored by the Lee Foundation.
CGA 2012 Winners
Winner of Small and Medium charities/IPCs: Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH)
As a non-profit voluntary welfare organisation that depends on the goodwill and donations of individuals, corporations and the public at large, Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH), knows the importance of good governance for its continued support and faith from the public. SAMH goes to great lengths to ensure good practices in all Board and operational areas, and strives to achieve transparency, efficient allocation of resources, and full compliance with the Charity Council's Code of Governance requirements.
In seeking a committed and effective Board to develop the organisation and fulfil its vision to be a leading provider of community mental health services, candidates possessing the required professional/medical/management experience, ability and passion are selected to serve on the Board. To ensure comprehensive understanding of their roles and responsibilities, all new Board members are given a Board kit that includes information regarding their duties, annual reports, strategic plans, and information on all of the organisation's programmes and services. New Board members are also encouraged to attend courses that cover Board roles and responsibilities, and the Code of Governance. An Online Board Assessment is also conducted every three to four years to evaluate the Board's performance in key areas. To ensure effective stewardship, the Board meets monthly to evaluate the organisation's performance and address areas requiring attention.
A Personnel Sub-Committee helps to monitor the recruitment, management and development of human resources for the organisation. Excellence in customer service delivery emphasises that every staff member is responsible for giving hope to persons with mental illness. Selection and recruitment of the right people for the right job, competitive compensation, and learning and development efforts, are several areas that are critical to the organisation's success and future. Approximately 1.5% of employee payroll is invested in the training and development of staff competencies, career development and success planning. Annual staff reviews focusing on performance and reward management and developmental considerations are important exercises to identify and retain good staff. Other Sub-Committees monitoring areas of importance include the Strategic Review Committee, the Audit Committee, the Fundraising Committee and the Research Committee.
SAMH places great emphasis on properly engaging the public, caregiver and families of its clients, the media, funders, corporates and all other stakeholders. As public confidence is extremely important to support and sustain its work, due attention is also given to corporate communications, public events, conferences, and collaboration with other mental health organisations to work towards the common goal of helping people with mental illness.
Winner of Large Charities/IPCs: Society for the Physically Disabled
For an organisation with limited resources and relying mostly on donations and public support, good governance is crucial in ensuring that these resources are used in the best possible way.
As organisation showing excellent governance practices, Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) has several key procedures in place. SPD prides itself on being proper, transparent, efficient and effective. In meeting good governance, the organisation works to achieve this on different levels.
At the Board level, several key committees such as the Audit Committee, Budget and Programme Committee, Human Resource and Remuneration Committee have been established to help provide oversight of the organisation. Both the Board and staff are expected to familiarise themselves with best practices and adhere strictly to mandatory regulations. In addition, handbooks, briefings, orientations and standard operation procedures are in place for both Board members and staff to guide decisions on daily operations, conflicts of interest and ethical matters.
All Board members are required to sign a declaration annually of their understanding of SPD's Conflict of Interest Policy and must abstain from discussions where a conflict of interest arises. Staff are also expected to declare their understanding of the policy.
To maintain the standards of service, standard operating procedures for daily operations are constantly updated and revised. SPD also invests in on-going training to develop staff so that they can continue to deliver professional services. Senior staff who have been identified for leadership positions are required to undergo leadership training and are given exposure as part of succession planning.
In its dedication to continue growing and improve its services, SPD puts in the time and effort to obtain feedback from both its internal and external stakeholders through reports, meetings and surveys.
For continued success in providing dedicated services for people with disabilities, SPD is constantly striving to achieve the right balance between control and empowerment at all levels of the organisations. This means putting in higher control measures in high-risk areas and giving proper empowerment and delegation to the staff where appropriate.
SPD's efforts in meeting the right balance have contributed to its optimum deployment of scarce resources in a proper, transparent, effective and efficient way.
To learn more about the winners, watch the television programme
We would like to congratulate the SAMH and SPD once again for their outstanding achievement and look forward to seeing more charities coming forward to vie for this honour in 2013.