The Singapore Association for Mental Health and the Society for the Physically Disabled have won the inaugural Charity Governance Award, which recognises charities which adopt high governance standards.
Out of 36 other shortlisted charities, the Singapore Association for Mental Health topped the small and medium charities category while the Society for the Physically Disabled won for the large charities category.
Shortlisted charities were seen to have fully complied with the Charity Code of Governance, which guidelines range from broad principles on disclosure and transparency to basic financial controls such as double locks for cash and valuables.
Large charities, for instance, are required to disclose the pay of any of their top three executives if it exceeds S$100,000 annually
“They are moving beyond just simple financial controls,” said Charity Council Member Ray Ferguson of the two charities.
“They are looking at the longer term… effectiveness of their board, working with the management and the volunteers, (and) the donors’ funding coming today and the future,” he added.
The Society for the Physically Disabled in particular was praised by the council for its succession plan and good communication between its board and management.
Associate Professor Daniel Fung Shuen Sheng, president of the Singapore Association for Mental Health, also acknowledged the importance of an effective board saying that his association made a conscious effort in the last ten years to diversify its board.
“Previously, our board consisted mainly of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals,” said Associate Professor Fung. Today the Singapore Association for Mental Health includes on its board a sales and marketing manager, a private equity investor and an insurance advisor.
Both winners have also indicated that they hope the awards will help raise awareness of their causes and boost public confidence in their charities.
“This Governance award will hopefully give that confidence to our donors and Government fund makers who are helping SPD to grow,” said Abhimanyau Pal, executive director of Society for the Physically Disabled.
The awards were presented by Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong and comes with a S$10,000 cash prize