Public Consultation on the Public Sector (Governance) Bill

Prime Minister

Prime Minister's Office - Public Service Division

Consultation Period: 22 Sep 2017 - 13 Oct 2017
Status: Closed
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Detailed Description

Introduction

1. The Public Service Division (PSD), Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) would like to invite the public to provide feedback on the draft Public Sector (Governance) Bill. The purpose of the Bill is to strengthen corporate governance in the public sector.


Background

2. Statutory Boards (SBs) were created to implement Government policies and deliver public services. As agents of Government, they are held to high standards of corporate governance through their constituting Acts and internal corporate policies and rules, in areas such as human resources, finance, information and communications technologies (ICT), and data. 

3. While many constituting Acts of individual SBs contain all the key provisions for good corporate governance, there is still room to standardise the details of these provisions across all SBs. The Acts also do not make clear whether there is a legal obligation for SBs to comply with corporate policies and rules set by the Ministries, although they follow these corporate policies and rules today.


Standardising and Formalising Corporate Governance Provisions

4. The Public Sector (Governance) Bill seeks to improve the consistency of our governance framework for SBs by standardising and formalising the following provisions:

a) Provisions to authorise the Minister in charge of an SB to give directions to the SB, for whose performance the Minister is accountable to Parliament. These directions must be consistent with the provisions of the SB’s constituting Act.

b) Provisions requiring the SB to prepare an annual report and present it to Parliament in a timely manner. 

c) Provisions requiring the SB to prepare and adopt budget estimates.

d) Provisions requiring the SB to keep proper accounts, and present its audited financial statements to the Minister in charge of the SB in a timely manner.

e) Provisions requiring the accounts of the SB to be audited by the Auditor-General or such other auditor as may be appointed annually by the Minister in consultation with the Auditor-General.

f) Provisions requiring Board members of the SB to disclose conflicts of interest.

g) Provisions that require the SB to comply with key procedures relating to the appointment of their Chief Executives.

h) Provisions that require the SB to comply with selected corporate policies on the management of human resources and conduct, finance, ICT and data, and records and archives, as directed by the Minister in charge of these policies.


Governance of Data Across Government

5. The draft Bill would, among other things, allow Government to more effectively share data to enhance the quality of public services, while introducing a new set of safeguards for data usage. This is in line with the Smart Nation drive to leverage technology and data to better deliver digital government services. Data has become increasingly important for policy analysis and the design of public services. For example, inter-agency data sharing has improved our urban planning and the design of social assistance schemes. With the increased usage of data, there is also a need to protect the public against any potential data misuse. 


Invitation to give feedback

6. Members of the public are invited to give feedback on the draft Public Sector (Governance) Bill.

7. Respondents are requested to observe these guidelines:

• Indicate your name as well as contact details (email address and/or telephone number) to enable us to follow up and seek clarification, if necessary.

• State and explain your feedback clearly and concisely, with reference to the relevant section(s) of the draft Bill.

• Submit your feedback via email to enquiry@psd.gov.sg with the subject “Feedback on Public Sector (Governance) Bill”. Please use Microsoft Word or PDF format if you are submitting any relevant documents.

8. The public consultation will be opened from 22 September to 13 October and any feedback received by 13 October will be considered. 


Publication of Feedback

9. PSD, MCI, MOF and SNDGO reserve the right to publish any feedback received from the respondents and to disclose the identity of the source. Respondents may request confidential treatment for any part of the feedback that the respondent believes to be sensitive.