The Ministry of National Development (MND) released the FY2013 Town Council Management Report (TCMR) on 4th November 2014.
The TCMR is used to assess the performance of the Town Councils (TCs) under five headings, using three colour bands. MND states that the assessment was based on measurable objective criteria, submitted by the TCs and their auditors.
MND indicated that most TCs have performed well in all areas but noted that some TCs could do better in the areas of “estate maintenance”, “service and conservancy charge (S&CC) arrears management” and “corporate governance”.
The government agency particularly pointed out Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council’s (AHPETC’s) persistent poor performance in “S&CC arrears management” and “corporate governance” to be of grave public concern.
A total of 11 TCs scored “Amber” under the estate maintenance category.
In particular, MND noted the obstruction of common areas to be most common, accounting for 32% of total estate maintenance observations.
MND stressed that such obstructions are potential fire hazards and can hamper evacuation efforts during emergencies.
MND state in its observations that Potong Pasir Town Council (PPTC) had scored “Amber” for S&CC arrears management which is the same rating the town council had scored last year even though the TC’s arrears rate has improved from 4.2% last year to 3.7% this year.
It added that Ang Mo Kio Town Council (AMKTC) and Chua Chu Kang Town Council (CCKTC) have been banded “Amber” for corporate governance due to technical breaches.
AMKTC was late in transferring funds to its sinking fund bank account on two occasions by 6 and 8 days respectively, because the authorised signatories were overseas when the transfers were due. CCKTC did not transfer the correct amount to the sinking fund for the quarter ended September 2013 due to errors in calculation.
Both TCs have since rectified the breaches.
AHPETC red flagged for both S&CC Arrears Management and Corporate Governance
MND notes that this is the second successive TCMR that the TC has been banded “Red” for corporate governance, and the third successive TCMR that the TC has been banded “Red” for S&CC arrears management.
The government agency emphasised that under corporate governance, its independent Auditors for FY11 and FY12 have reported various legal and regulatory contraventions and that the TC has not shown that it has rectified them. It further pointed out that the TC has not submitted its FY13 financial statements and its self-declared corporate governance checklist.
MND pointed out that under S&CC arrears management, the sharp decline in the AHPETC’s S&CC arrears situation is of grave public concern:
- Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. These rates were significantly above the national norm of about 3%.
- In December 2012, the TC committed to improve the TC’s arrears situation. However, its S&CC arrears rate had further increased to 29.4% as at end Apr 2013.
- From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.
AHPETC said it expects to release a statement about the MND's report on Wednesday.
Summary of Results