5 July 2012 - The Subordinate Courts of Singapore and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) received the prestigious United Nations Public Service Award while the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA), and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) received a special award in the UN e-Government Survey in New York on 25 June 2012 for their initiatives in improving the public sector.

Singapore, 5 July 2012 | For Immediate Release

The Subordinate Courts of Singapore and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) received the prestigious United Nations Public Service Award while the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA), and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) received a special award in the UN e-Government Survey in New York on 25 June 2012 for their initiatives in improving the public sector.

Subordinate Courts' HELP (Helping to Empower Litigants-in-Person) Centre

The United Nations (UN) conferred the 2012 United Nations Public Service Award (2nd place) to the Subordinate Courts in the category of "Improving the Delivery of Public Services" for their establishment of a HELP Centre to empower self-represented litigants. The HELP Centre was launched on 26 February 2010 by the Subordinate Courts to make justice accessible to all court users, particularly those who do not have or do not want lawyers.

The Subordinate Courts have seen a sizeable number of self-represented litigants in the court system.  The HELP Centre assists litigants-in-person by providing them with information on court processes, procedures and practices, as well as additional avenues through which they can seek pro bono legal advice and assistance. Being a one-stop information centre to the members of the public, the HELP Centre aims to empower them with the knowledge to navigate through the justice system and make informed decisions. The HELP Centre has handled a total of 7,804 enquiries as at May 2012 since its launch.  It is expected that the number and proportion of litigants-in-person would grow, as educational levels increase.

BCA's Contractors Registration System

The BCA won second place in the category of "Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service" for the Contractors Registration System. This is the first time a public agency from Singapore has won in this category of the UN Award. The BCA Contractors Registration System was set up in 1985 as a centralised, one-stop registration system for contractors who wish to tender for public sector construction projects in Singapore. Singapore's Contractors Registration System was lauded by the United Nations for providing a fair and transparent process for contractors tendering for public sector projects as there is a uniform set of registration criteria to meet. This includes relevant experiences and track records, professional and technical personnel, and financial capacity.

The CRS grades and places the contractors into different types of construction work and the value of contracts that they can tender for. Public agencies would then evaluate these qualifying contractors objectively through the Price-Quality Method* before awarding to the successful tenderer. There is also a system in place for performance reporting of contractors and debarment for those who have performed poorly or been found guilty of malpractices, from tendering for public sector projects. Currently, there are about 9,500 contractors registered with the CRS, and capable contractors with good track records are given the opportunity to rise through the ranks within the CRS and tender for public sector projects of higher value, thus raising the overall level of professionalism and capability in the construction industry.

The UN Public Service Award is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It is given to public institutions around the world for their outstanding achievements and contributions towards a more effective and responsive public administration. This year’s award ceremony took place in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Public Service Day and saw 44 public organisations from 29 countries awarded for excellence in public service in five categories.

UN e-Government Survey 2012 Special Award

Singapore won a special award in the UN e-Government Survey, where the island nation clinched the No. 2 spot in the global e-participation ranking (details in Annex A). The ranking recognises Singapore's efforts in creating enhanced opportunities for greater participation and social inclusiveness. Since the start of the UN e-Government Survey in 2003, the biennial comparative survey reports have been embraced as an important international benchmark to gauge the 193 member states' efforts in e-government to improve the quality of basic economic and social services to its people; and in e-participation to involve its people in public policy making.

Under the eGov2015 masterplan, Connecting for Active Participation initiative, the Singapore Government aims to widen and deepen the e-engagement efforts and experiment with new ways to tap on the wisdom and resources of netizens. The masterplan includes efforts to increase e-awareness and e-participation in public consultation exercises.  Citizens are invited and informed of public consultation topics via alerts sent out through mobile and social media applications. The Singapore Government also explores new platforms to engage citizens, such as crowdsourcing tools for ideas and initiatives, to enhance public officers' capabilities in using new media tools to engage the public.

One such platform is the REACH (Reaching Everyone for Active Citizenry@Home) portal which was launched in 2006 to engage citizens through public feedback via electronic channels.  Since 2009, REACH has been the official e-engagement platform for the Singapore government to connect with the community to encourage citizens' e-participation, and provide feedback and suggestions to shape public policies. It is positive to note that awareness amongst citizens on the availability of electronic channels to provide feedback to the Government has risen. In addition to traditional face-to-face interaction such as dialogue sessions, REACH taps on new media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter to engage the public on national issues.  A wide array of e-participation tools is available on the REACH website, such as discussion forums, web chats, and blogs. REACH constantly explores alternative platforms to further the Singapore Government's e-engagement and collaboration with citizens through e-participation.

The ranking reinforces the Singapore Government's eGov2015 Masterplan's vision of developing a collaborative government that co-creates and connects with its people to be better prepared to meet the challenges ahead and bring Singapore to the next e-government frontier.

The success of this and previous e-Government masterplans are also evident in other international benchmarking studies such as the World Economic Forum's Global IT Report and the Waseda University e-Government Ranking.

The Subordinate Courts of Singapore and BCA were represented by Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye and Dr John Keung, CEO respectively, while RADM(NS) Sim Gim Guan, Deputy Secretary (Information and Corporate Management) MICA led a team comprising officers from MICA, REACH and IDA, to receive the award from Mr Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.

View photos of award recipients representatives.


About the UN e-Government Survey 2012 Special Award

Singapore is ranked 2nd in the global e-participation ranking in the recent UN e-government survey, where 193 member states are assessed on the ability of their governments to leverage infocomm technologies (ICT) to deliver online services and engage citizens. The e-participation index measures "e-information sharing" (the use of the Internet to disseminate relevant information by governments to citizens), "e-consultation" (interaction with stakeholders), and "e-decision making" (engaging stakeholders in the decision-making process). A country's e-participation index value reflects how useful these features are, and how well they have been deployed by the governments. The index offers insight into how countries are using online tools to promote interaction between citizen and government, as well as among citizens, for the benefit of all.

The UN e-government survey 2012 report also highlighted that Singapore is among the leaders in the use of private cloud computing for leveraging ICT infrastructure and services. In 2009, Singapore became the first government in Asia to equip all its teachers with Web 2.0 communication and collaboration tools under an open standard cloud platform. Singapore's citizen's portal provides an extensive range of online payment services that lists by agency as well as bill type. Payments range from taxes, fees, fines and licenses that can be made through multi channels such as credit card, direct debit as well as internet banking and even by phone.

For the complete UN e-government survey 2012 report, please visit: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/un/unpan048065.pdf


About the Building and Construction Authority (BCA)

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore champions the development of an excellent built environment for Singapore. At BCA, our mission is to shape a safe, high quality, sustainable and friendly built environment, as these are four key elements where BCA has a significant influence. In doing so, we aim to differentiate Singapore's built environment from those of other cities and contribute to a better quality of life for everyone in Singapore. Hence, our vision is to have "the best built environment for Singapore, our distinctive global city". BCA works closely with its education hub, the BCA Academy of the Built Environment, and industry partners to develop skills and expertise that help shape the best built environment for Singapore. For more information, visit www.bca.gov.sg.

About the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts

The Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts' mission is to develop Singapore as a Global City for information, communications and the arts, so as to build a creative economy and a connected society with a Singaporean identity rooted in our multicultural heritage. It seeks to propel the creative economy through the development and promotion of the creative industries in the arts, design, media and infocomm technology sectors to create new economic value and jobs. It also aims to forge a strong sense of community, national identity, rootedness and inclusion among Singaporeans, and to foster better understanding between the Government and its various stakeholders through effective public communications. MICA's vision is to nurture and develop a Creative People, Gracious Community and Connected Singapore.

About the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global Infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more news and information, visit www.ida.gov.sg.

About the Subordinate Courts of Singapore

The Subordinate Courts are a critical component of the judiciary, with the mission of providing an effective and accessible system of justice, inspiring public trust and confidence. More than 95% of all judicial matters in Singapore are dealt with in the Subordinate Courts, which hear civil, criminal, juvenile cases, and family matters. Under the law, the Subordinate Courts comprise District Courts, Magistrate's Courts, Coroner's Court, Juvenile Court and the Small Claims Tribunals. The District Courts and Magistrate's Courts exercise original criminal and civil jurisdiction. Some of the District Courts and Magistrate's Courts are also designated as specialist courts - these include the Family Court, Criminal Mentions Courts, Community Court, Traffic Court, Bail Court and Night Courts. For more information, visit www.statecourts.gov.sg.

For media clarification, please contact:

Building and Construction Authority Kong Yuqi (Ms)
Executive Communications Manager
Corporate Communications Unit
DID: +65 6325 7743
Email: kong_yuqi@bca.gov.sg

Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Malini Nathan (Ms)
Corporate & Marketing Communication
DID : +65 6211 0660
Email: malini_nathan@imda.gov.sg 

The Subordinate Courts of Singapore
Michelle Chiang (Ms)
Senior Executive
Corporate Communications
DID : +65 6435 5179