Transparency Rating Framework in the Works to Help Charities Be More Accountable

SINGAPORE: A framework that will help charities in Singapore be more accountable, transparent and effective could be introduced towards the end of the year. The Charity Council is in the early stages of planning a transparency rating framework with NUS Business School. This was announced by Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong, at the inaugural Charity Governance Conference on Wednesday. The project team is currently consulting stakeholders to seek their preliminary views. If all goes well, the framework will be introduced in phases, covering different sectors. Mr Wong noted that a study by the Centre for Non-Profit Leadership that was published last year showed that charities in Singapore can still improve on the issue of transparency. Only two-thirds of 577 charities surveyed disclosed their board members' information on their websites.
Of these, only slightly more than a third had this information in their annual reports. Even then, this was far from comprehensive. Mr Wong said charities must change their mindsets and embrace transparency and accountability as must-haves. He said the trust and support of donors are crucial for charities to succeed. Mr Wong said: "While the levels of trust in charities have remained high over the years, we have an increasingly sophisticated public that wants to see clearer reporting on the work done by charities. "They want to make informed decisions about how to spend their charity dollars, and expect to be able to access such information quickly and easily."