Good corporate governance should be weaved, as a premise, through every aspect of New Hope Community Services (“NHCS”), our people, culture, and our public face. Integrity is what defines us and determines how we work. Therefore, in NHCS, good corporate governance extends far beyond the yearly ‘Code of Governance’ submission, and it is not a bonus. Having a robust ethical foundation is at the heart of what makes us successful. We are recipients of Charity Council’s Charity Transparency Award for four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019 until the award’s hiatus in 2020 and 2021. We are also honoured to be awarded the 2017 Charity Governance Award for charities in the mid-sized category. The award is the highest governance award that can be conferred to a charity and recognises its exemplary governance standards and practices.
We are committed to high standards of corporate governance. NHCS has complied with all the applicable guidelines of the Code of Governance Evaluation Checklist for Charities and Institutions of a Public Character (“IPC”).
The complete checklist can be found in this annual report and is also available at www.charities.gov.sg.
Our Constitution is available at the Registry of Societies.
We are governed by a Board of Management (the “Board”) whose members are elected according to our Constitution. Presently, the Board comprises the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and three other elected Board members. They bring with them skills and abilities in diverse areas such as legal, finance, accounting, audit, business and management, human resource, communications, fundraising and technology. The Board charts the strategic directions of NHCS and ensures that we are run well and responsibly to continue to be effective, credible, and sustainable.
Board members do not receive any remuneration for their involvement in any way. None of the Board members held staff appointments. The Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) is an ex-officio member who has the right to attend all Board and sub-committees meeting but does not participate in the Board’s decision making. The Board must meet at least four times a year and has met six times in 2020.
The Board has established eight board sub-committees, namely, the Audit & Risks Committee, the Appointment & Nomination Committee, the Programmes & Services Committee, the Human Resource & Remuneration Committee, the Finance Committee, the Fundraising Committee, the Social Enterprise Committee and the Kampung Siglap Committee.
Board Election Process, Evaluation, Renewal & Succession
According to the ‘Board Policy Manual’, Board composition is regularly reviewed and discussed whenever there are changes. In addition, all Board members are required to submit themselves for re-nomination and reappointment at the end of their two-year term according to the Constitution Article 8.2 & Article 8.3. There is no automatic renewal of term for all board members. In accordance with the Constitution, there is a maximum limit of two consecutive years for the position of Treasurer. Currently, no board member has served more than ten consecutive years.
The Board endeavours to ensure an appropriate mix of core competencies and collective expertise among its members in order to possess the necessary knowledge and objective judgment to meet its responsibilities. Board members are recruited via suitable and qualified recommendations from our community partners, key stakeholders, and corporate volunteers. In addition, we also consider potential candidates from the Centre for Non-profit Leadership Board Match programme. Board and sub-committee members are recommended based on the following considerations:
• Personal attributes like integrity, mature confidence and high standards of excellence;
• Core skills or competencies like accounting, finance, legal, human resources, business and management, strategic planning, fundraising, communications and relevant sectoral knowledge;
• Level of commitment necessary to govern the organisation effectively; and
• Qualifies as independent.
The Appointment and Nomination Committee identify, screen and review individuals to serve as members, consistent with applicable qualifications or criteria, and recommend to the Board for approving candidates for nomination, appointment, and re-election.
Board members attend relevant training to develop key competencies and keep abreast of relevant new laws and regulatory requirements. The Board proactively plans and reviews board succession, renewals and implements strategy every year, or when the Board changes. A Board self-evaluation was conducted in December 2020 to assess its performance and effectiveness.
Our strategic thrusts and priorities outlined in our strategic plan “Vision 2025” serve as guideposts in our pursuit of excellence. The Board approves and reviews our Vision, Mission and Values to ensure it stays relevant to its changing environment and needs. The Board regularly set aside time to review and update the strategic plan to remain relevant to any changing environment and needs. These are communicated to relevant stakeholders and the public through various platforms, including the annual report and corporate website.
The Board reviews and approves the strategic plans and outcomes of our programmes and services. The Senior Management Team (the “Management”) has developed an evaluation system that measures the effectiveness of its programmes by aligning them with the funder’s outcomes and monitoring them regularly. The outcomes are also clearly defined to align with our Mission and objectives. The Management regularly updates the Board on its programmes and services through board meetings or subcommittee meetings, and town halls.
The Programmes & Services Committee assess our success annually in any programme-related goals, as articulated in our Mission and strategic plan adopted by the Board. The Programmes & Services Committee reviews all new significant programme, service, and initiative before recommendation to the Board for implementation.
Financial Management & Internal Controls
The Board, Management and those charged with governance are responsible for ensuring that it has an effective system of internal controls to
safeguard stakeholders’ interests and NHCS’ assets.
The Finance and Admin department ensures that operations comply with the policies and procedures set out in the Internal Financial Controls and Processes Manual. The documented procedures for financial matters in key areas include:
• Procurement procedures and controls;
• Receipting, payment procedures and controls; and
• System for the delegation of authority and limits of approval.
Reviews are conducted regularly to ensure the effective functioning of the internal controls and processes.
The Finance Department prepares the annual budget with inputs from the different departments and is reviewed by the Finance Committee before submission to the Board for approval. The annual budget is updated where necessary at mid-year. As part of internal controls, all purchases of more than $3,000 require three quotations to be obtained before approval of purchase, and if there is any waiver, documented reasons and supporting documentation must be obtained for approval.
Quarterly financial statements, including a comparative budget of NHCS, with analysis and explanations given for discrepancies, are first reviewed by the Finance Committee to identify unusual items and transactions and deviations from the annual before presentation at the board meeting for review.
The investment policy approved by the Board sets out the objective, approved investment assets classes and board reviews regarding any reserves invested. NHCS invest its reserves in low-risk investment such as Singapore Dollars fixed deposits held with full banks and finance companies in Singapore which are members of the Deposit Insurance Scheme (SDIC Scheme members).
The reserves are made up of unrestricted and restricted funds. We target at least two times of our operating reserves to ensure the organisation’s ability to serve its clients are not subject to the vagaries of the economy. We endeavour to utilise the restricted funds within the next two years.
We have established guidelines on fundraising based on the best practices set out by the National Council of Social Services and the Charity Council. All collections received (solicited or unsolicited) are properly accounted for and promptly deposited. We do not disclose donors’ identities or share information on donors without their prior permission. We do not engage any third-party fundraisers.
Our Board members, staff and volunteers observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As representatives of NHCS, individuals must practise honesty and integrity in fulfilling their responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations. The Board has set in place a whistle-blowing policy available on our corporate website.
Code of Conduct & Ethics
The Board has approved documented Code of Conduct & Ethics for all Board members, staff and volunteers. The Code of Conduct & Ethics is aligned to our Core Values of respect, integrity, compassion and excellence.
Conflict of Interest
We have zero risk appetite for non-disclosure and entering into conflicting transactions. All employees, key executives and Board members of NHCS shall provide disclosure of their interests in all other organisations in which they are board members or have control or have a substantial shareholding or monetary interest to the Board when they are newly employed or appointed and whenever there are updates. In the event of a potential or existing conflict of interest, the disclosure will be made in full. The party involved shall abstain from any discussion and decision on the matter.
A Conflict of Interest Policy and declaration is distributed to all board members and staff. In addition, all staff and Board members are required to declare on an annual basis that he or she does not have any personal or private business or associates that might be in a conflict to their functions or employment with NHCS. There is no known family relationship of the executive staff with any of the Board members. No known conflict of interest arose during the year.
Human Resource & Volunteer Management
Under the direction of the Human Resource & Remuneration Committee, we ensure that we have policies and procedures that continue to attract, retain and motivate social service professionals who have the abilities, experience, and traits to fulfil our Mission. We have a performance management system where staff set and assess their own annual goals, with their supervisors and Management’s guidance. The goals set by individuals are aligned to the goals that support our strategic plans. Such performance is reviewed regularly by the head of departments and documented at least twice per year. Performance-related components in the remuneration package are linked to fulfilling specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound targets in line with our strategic objectives.
The Human Resource and Remuneration Committee makes recommendations to the Board for changes in the human resource policies for staff that cover recruitment, remuneration, benefits, training and development, performance appraisal, disciplinary actions, and cessation of employment.
We have documented Volunteer Management (“VM”) policies consisting of volunteers planning, selection, onboarding, training, supporting, and recognising volunteers. In VM strategic planning, the VM team primarily seeks to understand the needs of the organisation, identify the areas requiring volunteer support, and plan the next phases of the volunteer cycles. Volunteers recruitment occurs via recommendations, National Volunteer and Philanthropy’s (“NVPC”) Giving.sg platform, approaches from the public and completed application form. Briefing and orientation are conducted to prepare our volunteers for their identified task and role. Tours are also conducted where necessary to allow the volunteers to familiarise themselves with the specific volunteering environment. The briefing also allows the volunteers to clarify any question about us, their role, expected responsibilities and risk awareness. Regular check-ins and feedback with the volunteers are made to support the volunteers in terms of resources, feedback and engagement.
The Appointment and Nomination Committee, Management, human resource team and VM team carry out appropriate background checks on Board members, staff and volunteers.
We are committed to the Board, staff, and volunteers’ learning and development needs and believes in equipping them with the necessary skills to perform their roles effectively.
Public Relations & Corporate Communications
The Board has established procedures relating to releasing information about the organisation and its activities to the media, its stakeholders and the public. The Board designates the CEO as the spokesperson for NHCS.
Personal Data Protection Policy
We have various policies and processes to comply with the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (“PDPA”). Data is used only for purposes disclosed unless otherwise permitted under the law. Reasonable security arrangements are also in place to comply with the ten obligations of PDPA. In addition, we are IMDA’s Data Protection Trustmark certified since February 2019.
The Board has established procedures and systems to identify, regularly monitor, review and manage any major risks NHCS may be exposed to.
Risk management is incorporated into all areas of our operations, including the legal and compliance, strategic and operational health and safety, quality processes, social work programs, technology and corporate governance at all levels. Risk management is the responsibility of the Board, Management, staff, volunteers and all areas of NHCS.
Managers and supervisors will ensure that staff within their areas understand their responsibilities and assist in fostering a risk-aware culture. Regular training and assistance will be provided to relevant staff to assist with risk management. All staff and volunteers have a significant role in the management of risk within their area of influence. Staff and volunteers are responsible for adhering to our Risk Management Policy, Risk Management Procedure and all other key governance documents.
Disclosure & Transparency
• No Board members receive any remuneration for their board services.
• No staff is involved in setting his or her own remuneration.
• No paid staff are close members of the family of the CEO or Board members.
• NHCS does not make any loans to any employees, management, board members, related and third party.
• NHCS does not make any nor provide any sponsorship to any charities.
Remuneration of Three Highest Paid Staff (FY2020)
• $50,000 – $100,000: 1
• $100,001 – $150,000: 1
• $150,001 – $200,000: 1