GovTech must ‘offer value’ to win partner agencies - Jacqueline Poh

Singapore’s dedicated tech agency officially launched today.

Singapore’s GovTech Agency must offer valuable tech expertise to other government agencies to win their support, CEO Jacqueline Poh said at the agency’s launch today. “It's a matter of having the capabilities, having something to offer that is of value, in terms of technical capabilities,” she told GovInsider at a press briefing. She was asked how GovTech can ensure support from agencies to work with its in-house team on some projects, rather than outsource them. The agency has been setup to build a core of engineering excellence in government, Minister-of-State for Communications and Information, Dr Janil Puthucheary earlier said. “GovTech directly runs technology functions inside at least 60 agencies already out of the 99 [in total]. And we actually serve all the 99 agencies in one way or another,” Poh said. The agency was officially launched today after a restructuring of the Infocomm Development Authority. It will oversee all aspects of government use of technology and digital public services. It will also look beyond digital capabilities to technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and data science. “The Singapore government needs to be proactive - not reactive - in placing strategic bets on the transformative potential of of technology to secure our future”, Poh said in a speech at the launch. The agency is building a platform to deliver predictive services from across government. It will “anticipate when citizens will require government services, based on the events and stages of their lives”, Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim, said at the launch. Newly revealed projects include a partnership with the DesignSingapore Council to develop digital services using principles of design-thinking and behavioural science. The agency will collaborate with the Energy Market Authority to allow citizens to track and manage their utility consumption on their smartphones. It is also working with the Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore to extend the MyInfo platform to banking services. This will remove the need for citizens to repeatedly provide personal documents for verification. GovTech is partnering with the Ministry of Education on a digital service for parents to transact with schools online - including to make payments, give consent for school trips, and receive information on school events.