An inter-agency committee will be set up to review the regulatory framework for non-government organisations (NGOs), specifically charities, and the roles of related umbrella organisations such as the National Council of Social Service.
So much for saying that regulations would impede growth of charities.
The move comes after controversies at some charities. There were 1,400 charities in 2000 and 1,700 last year. In the same period, the number of volunteers rose by more than 60 per cent. Donations were also up. Last year, Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) received almost half a billion dollars.
Controversies? Namely, the NKF saga, the SAVH incompetency, and the alleged (and quite probably untrue) AFA scandal.
What this means for charities in Singapore, is that they will have to buck up their practices. Organisations like the Singapore Red Cross Society already have existing practices of publishing a yearly expenditure report, in accordance with their principles of transparency and accountability to the donor. But that is not easy for smaller, less established NGOs, who don't have as extensive resources or skills.
On one hand, one hopes this panel will prevent the likes of the NKF scandal. But on the other hand, one cannot help wondering whether this move will only serve to stifle the civic sector. The outcome will have to be seen.