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Speech By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister Of State For Finance And Transport, At The Launch Of Centre For Shared Services - Vital.Org, 5 July 2006, 3.15 pm At MND Auditorium

05 Jul 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure today to launch the Centre for Shared Services - as a new department under the Ministry of Finance. The formation of this Centre for Shared Services or CSS is a significant move to bring about integration within the public sector, by pooling people together to achieve greater productivity and service excellence.

2. I would like to applaud the efforts of the 18 agencies for working across boundaries to make CSS a reality and also welcome over 300 HR and Finance officers who have crossed over from these agencies to CSS.

3. CSS has set its vision to be the vital partner of high-performing organisations. This vision clearly spells out its goal to work with the agencies to build a high-performing public sector. It has chosen to brand itself as a constant reminder of the big vision. I applaud all the stakeholders for that aspiration and commitment. CSS must live up to it! If does not perform up to standards and agencies no longer find it vital to them, then the agencies could opt for another provider or decide to perform the functions themselves.

Key Directions for CSS -

4. In this regard, the challenge is for CSS to re-engineer and streamline processes to bring about efficiency and effectiveness. If these could be done within prevailing rules and regulations, they would have been done by now. Re-engineering of current processes will require current rules and regulations to be changed to bring about significant improvement in processing. If the Public Service Instructions Manuals or IMs have to be changed to bring about process improvements, the custodians of the IMs should be prepared to make these changes.

5. CSS should Do BETTER and Do MORE for the agencies than what the agencies could have done for themselves.


6. First, Do BETTER. CSS must deliver faster, more convenient and more customer-oriented services. How do we achieve this? CSS should:

a) "Promote Self-Service"; and

b) "Innovate and Transform our Work"

"Promote Self-Service"

7. In today's fast-moving environment, to do better also means to provide information and services at the customers' fingertips, so that they can access services anytime, anywhere. In this area, CSS should take a leaf from the Accountant-General's Department's recent initiative in moving the payroll and claims system on to the internet. This allows all civil servants to access their pay and claims information where `you want it, when you want it'.

8. Technology-savvy customers today will demand more services to be delivered online through self-service, where they can have better control over their transactions. Therefore, CSS must be prepared to put more of its current and future services, such as leave applications and travel arrangements, on to online self-service platforms.

"Innovate and Transform our work"

9. To serve the public sector better, CSS must also innovate and transform its work. CSS is expected to select the best practices and consistently apply these best practices for all agencies. However, CSS should not stop there. It has to study and research these best practices and transform them to set even higher standards for the future.

10. Today, many public agencies use sampling checks on transactions. This is a good practice as it ensures control without over-investing in checking each and every transaction. CSS should take a structured risk management approach in innovating and improving on such best practices to add value to its client agencies.

11. Innovation and transformation of our work, however, demands a fundamental mindset shift in how our people view their work. CSS should not simply be just a factory where the people are only focused on processing. CSS officers must build up the capacity to be process experts who will constantly look at how to improve the design of the work and lead the transformation of our work to deliver better outcomes for the public agencies.

12. In the private sector, designers or engineers would design processes according to the desired outputs they want. They then make machines do the large part of the work for them. Similarly, as process designers and process experts, CSS officers should use technology to perform the routine work for them. CSS officers can then focus on improving and transforming the work processes to bring about service excellence and drive continuous improvement.


13. Let me now touch on how CSS can DO MORE.

14. Today, CSS only provides selected HR and Finance transactional services to the agencies. There is definitely scope for CSS to take on more corporate functions so as to enable the public agencies to focus their attention on their key priorities.

15. CSS should also move up the value chain and provide value-added services, such as conducting analysis and providing reports to support decision-making by the client agencies. Only by constantly adding value and providing a holistic and comprehensive set of services can CSS remain relevant and truly vital to the public agencies.


16. In closing, I urge all public agencies to work closely with CSS to achieve its vision, to serve you better and to do more for you. Do this in the true spirit of partnership. And when CSS succeeds in doing so, you can focus on your key priorities to meet the needs of Singapore and better serve Singaporeans. As CSS works to become the vital partner of public sector agencies, and lives up to its vision, the public sector will be able to move to even greater heights. My best wishes to CSS as you work towards your vision.

17. Thank You.