We thank Forum writer Chen Wencong for his letter, “Has Singapore become a smart nation or smart device nation?” (Aug 13).
We agree that in becoming a Smart Nation we must continue to be inclusive and ensure all citizens and residents are able to access government services. The Government has invested in digitalising services to make them more accessible, convenient and safe. This has brought benefits to many seniors, including those who are less mobile.
Concurrently, we have also placed great emphasis on digital inclusivity. To support Singaporeans in going digital, the Seniors Go Digital programme was set up in June 2020 and has since helped more than 150,000 seniors learn how to communicate, transact and access government and other services digitally.
Smart Nation’s platform also runs frequent courses for seniors on navigating common mobile applications and learning about new technologies. Government agencies, including CPF Board, continue to help those who are unable to transact digitally through service centres and phone services.
To support segments of people, including seniors, who are unable or may need more time to transit to digital services, the Government has also set up integrated public service centres, called ServiceSG Centres, at various heartland locations. These centres offer assistance to access frequently used government services and schemes across 20 agencies. There are currently three centres located in community clubs at Nee Soon Central, Heartbeat@Bedok and The Frontier in Jurong, which provide help with over 200 government services, as well as a centre at Our Tampines Hub, which provides help with over 400 government services.
Staff at the centres listen to the challenges members of public face and guide them by integrating services across agencies. This may include arranging for video conferencing with public officers from agencies. One example of what ServiceSG has done is to assist private hire drivers and hawkers with their tax filing earlier this year.
The Government is committed to creating a digitally inclusive society. As we support Singaporeans, including seniors, to go digital to unlock the advantages of digitalisation, we will also continue to support those who are unable or may need more time to make this transition to access government services through non-digital means.
We thank Mr Chen once again for his letter and welcome him to contact ServiceSG to provide more feedback to help us improve.
Lee Mui Ling
Senior Director, Service Policy & Leadership
ServiceSG, Public Service Division, Prime Minister’s Office
Director, Adoption and Engagement
Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, Prime Minister’s Office