Friday, June 11, 2010

Hitting below the belt

Town councils fare generally well in first management report

10 June 2010 1157 hrs (SST)

Town councils have received their first-ever report card from the Ministry of National Development.

They were assessed in four areas in the inaugural Town Council Management Report (TCMR): estate cleanliness, estate maintenance, lift performance and management of service and conservancy charges arrears.

Most of them fared well in the assessment which took place from last October to this March.

All 16 town councils scored at least a level 2 for cleanliness on a scale of 1 to 5 with one being the best and 5 being the worst.

Four town councils - Tanjong Pagar, Marine Parade, Bishan-Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio-Yio Chu Kang - secured the highest level of 1.

The best performer was Tanjong Pagar Town Council. It achieved top ratings for all except estate maintenance.

Indranee Rajah, vice-chairman of Tanjong Pagar Town Council, said: "(First), the staff worked really, really hard and two, input from residents. Our Residents' Committees as well as the residents have been quite diligent in bringing things to the attention of the town council which allows for fairly quick response. "

What the Tanjong Pagar Town Council did was, their officers, especially the property officers, general manager and the staff, they put in a lot of effort on the ground, in terms of identifying the things that needed to be improved, and taking concrete measures to try and implement them.

In the other areas of assessment, most town councils also achieved at least a level 3.

However, town councils in opposition-held estates didn't fare as well.

Potong Pasir for instance scored a level 5 in several areas of assessment including maintenance and arrears management.

Hougang estate also scored 5 for arrears management.

No other estate scored a five in any area of assessment. But residents in Potong Pasir appear to take the poor assessment in their stride.

"It's okay because at least they clean it every day. And I see the person cleaning the lift and sweeping the corridors," said one resident.

"I see a big improvement from previous years, such as the roadside, the gardens, the walkways," said another.

Putting things in context, however, the National Development Ministry says the TCMR should not be used as a basis for comparison between towns. That's because each town differs in terms of its residents' profile and property profile. Hence, it says a more appropriate use of the result is for monitoring the performance of town councils over time.

Ms Indranee Rajah said: "What the assessment process does is that it makes the town councils think about their KPIs (key performance indicators) - these are the things we have to achieve. It also helps the residents to focus on what they want and it helps the town councils to know that these are the things the residents want.

So I guess it's helpful, because it gives you something to shoot for, and you can works towards improving it. Besides the town councils, the job of looking after an estate must be shared.

"Residents must also play their part in keeping the estate clean, because it's good for us," said a resident.

When letter start to appear in the Straights Times Forum this week regarding Potong Pasir cleaniness I knew something fishy is about to happen.

And true enough, yesterday PAP...... opps no the Ministry of National Development reported the performance of all the town councils.

And as expected if you read this article there is the mention of Tanjong Pagar, Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Ang Mo Kio (Hmmm .... seem to remind me of some inportant people) did exceptionally well and Potong Pasir and Hougang are lousy.

This is a hit below the belt in boxing term.

Come on, we know the election is coming and I can believe the ruling party resort to such childish tactic.

Note: I thing one of the criteria of scoring will is “Least outstanding conservancy fee , Most conservancy fee being collected” Er… wait a minute doesn’t that meant it is bad for us if the town council collect hell lots of money from us?