Introduction to the Industry Digital Plan for Social Services (IDPSS)


I had the opportunity to attend a sharing session by National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and Deloitte-Goshen Consulting on the 20th of August, 2021. This sharing was an introduction to the Industry Digital Plan for Social Services (IDPSS) and how it can benefit organisations and associations that fall under the category of Social Services in Singapore.

  1. What is the IDPSS?
    The IDPSS was developed jointly by the NCSS, in consultation of the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSFD), the IDPSS advisory panel, and many other individuals from the private, public and social service sectors.

The objective of IDPSS is to serve as a guide to help Social Service Agencies (SSAs) to assess, accelerate and achieve their digitization goals through IDPSS’s structured and systematic guidance depending on the SSA’s digital needs and tech-readiness.

  1. IDPSS Strategic Directions and Areas of Focus
    There a total of three digital directions offered by IDPSS to SSAs. The first strategic direction is the Building of a Digital Foundation. Building a strong foundation is highly important for efficient and resilient service delivery. The second pillar of strategic direction is Empowering Service Users and Delivering User-Centric Digital Services. Through a person-centred approach, the objective here is to enhance service users’ quality of life. Last but definitely not the least, the third strategic direction is the Strenghtening of the Social Service Digital Ecosystem. SSAs can achieve systemic impact and change through increased ecosystem collaborations.

From the three strategic directions, SSAs are guided to advance their digitalisation journey through the IDPSS’s four areas of focus. They are:

2a) Navigating the digital roadmap
Providing SSAs with a tailored digital roadmap to progress in their digitisation journey

2b) Improving organisational effectiveness
Strengthening SSAs in five areas of focus to achieve organisational effectiveness using the 1) digital roadmap, 2) Foundational Solutions Guide and 3) Digital Skills Guide. The five areas of focus are:

  1. Secure, Integrated Solutions and Infrastructure
    As the first step to uplift the sector’s digital maturity, SSAs are encouraged to adopt foundational solutions that help to improve organisational productivity, thereby diverting time savings to tasks that more directly impact client outcomes.
    The benefits of implementing integrated technology solutions to enable more efficient agency operations and robust cybersecurity to protect data is that SSAs will have a) enhanced business resilience, b) improved information security and 3) increased productivity in operations.
    SSAs can explore Foundational and Integration-Ready Solutions, found in the Foundational Solutions Guide, to be implemented to help achieve Secure, Integrated Solutions and Infrastructure. There are 1) office productivity systems (document management, video conferencing and collaboration tools), 2) corporate systems (accounting and human resource management), 3) stakeholder engagement systems (donor management, volunteer management, client / case management, centre management and website management), 4) data and reporting tools (management and funder reporting) and finally, 5) cybersecurity management (identity and access management, firewalls, antivirus solutions, encryption tools and virtual private networks (VPNs))
  1. Enhanced Service User Experience
    The benefits of adopting service delivery technology that enables person-centred and integrated services, catering to service users’ expectations and needs are that services rendered will be more accessible, services will be targeted and tailored, and users will have seamless and integrated experience across multiple touchpoints.
  2. Connected Community and Partnerships
    Resources can be better optimised by tapping into collaborations, thereby enhancing the sustainability of digitalisation efforts. Better solutions could also be co-created from such partnerships.
    The benefits of engaging with the social service community such as volunteers, donors and ecosystem partners to collaborate, co-create, learn from or gather support on digital initiatives is that it firstly enhances digitalisation capabilities and resources augmentation, enhances sustainability for digitalisation efforts, and finally, increases organisation effectiveness through co-creation of initiatives and services.
  1. Data Proficiency
    SSAs should work towards being a data-driven organisation to enhance operations and service planning by having the necessary data strategy and systems in place.
    The benefits of becoming an insights-driven organisation using data and analytics to make informed decisions on future service delivery and operations planning is that the decision making process will be a better informed one, there’ll be better situation awareness through data sharing and there’ll be improved service planning and reduced information asymmetry.
  1. Digital Talent and Leadership
    To optimise the value of technology, adoption of solutions must be accompanied by the needed literacy and competency, as well as an agile and data driven culture.
    The benefits of enhancing digital skills of the socal service workforce and leadership to drive digitalisation efforts are that the organisational change results in positive changes, there’ll be strengthened governance and increased resiliency, and the workforce will be more engaged.
    SSAs can also upskill their employees in the necessary digital skill training topics based on needs to support the SSA’s digitalisation journey.

2c) Enhancing service user experience
Guiding SSAs to adopt technology solutions accoridng to the types of services rendered and their users’ needs

2d) Developing sector connectivity
Leveraging on a suite of technology platforms and enablers to support SSAs to connect and deliver services seamlessly. SSAs can tap on existing common platforms and data exchange while other initiatives are being rolled out in a phased manner. The benefits of doing so includes holistics view of service users, resource optimisation and service planning, insights-driven delivery, integrated services and convenience of one stop service access.

  1. Resources Made Available Through IDPSS:

There are some resources available to help with the digital transformation:

3a) Tech-and-Go Hub

  • Funding support for pre-scoped and customised solutions
    • Start Digital
    • Go Digital
  • Technical advisory (fully funded)
  • Consultancy Services (funded at 80% capped at 40K)
    • Digital Implementation Consultancy
    • Digital Strategy Consultancy
    • Cybersecurity Consultancy
    • Data Protection Consultancy
    • Data Management Strategy Consultancy
    • Human-Centred Design Consultancy

3b) Tech-and-Go Charities Hub

  • Start Digital (VCF-ICT) [available all year round]
  • Go Digital
    • Technology Subsidies
    • Technical advisory (fully funded)
    • Consultancy Services (funded at 80% capped at $40K each)
      – Digital Implementation Consultancy
      – Digital Strategy Planning

3c) TechUp Series

  • Tech demos for solutions
  • Webinars on IDPSS topics such as:
    • Introduction to digital transformation
    • Change management to gain buy-in for SSA’s digital transformation
    • Data management strategy to kick-start SSA’s analytics journey
    • Human-centred design for user centricity

3d) Digital Roadmap Clinics

  • 1-on-1 consultation sessions at no cost!
  • Contextualise IDPSS for your agency according to SSA’s digital roadmap assessment (DRA) results
  • Recommend resources and next steps for SSA’s digital journey


It was a highly informative session which was held in a very relaxed chit-chat manner. Many SSA representatives posted questions and they were answered live by the NCSS and Deloitte representatives.

DAS has a number of development projects on hand as we are seeking to further enhance our digital needs and experiences. It is very heartening that social service sectors are not left behind, especially those that are not for profit, in the government’s push to get organisations to adopt technology to manage cost and improve efficiency. The funding and consultancies will definitely help to shape up better goals and objectives for the end beneficiaries, for whom we are striving for.

Soofrina Mubarak
Senior Educational Therapist & EduTech Coordinator
RETA Fellow

Learn more about Soofrina!