Parliamentary reply by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on inter-agency coordination for new policy initiatives
FOURTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
MONDAY, 1 FEBRUARY 2021
Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Prime Minister what procedures are in place to obtain feedback from all Ministries regarding potential impact on their work and related legislation from any new initiative and to ensure better coordination among Government departments and agencies.
Mr Lee Hsien Loong: The Government has established coordinating processes and structures at various levels to bring together Ministries and agencies for Whole-of-Government (WOG) decision-making and information-sharing. These include meeting platforms chaired by the Minister or Permanent Secretary, that organise Ministries to deliberate on strategic issues and trade-offs within a sector, committees or workgroups focusing on specific projects that require alignment across several agencies, and work processes to ensure all relevant agencies are consulted before major initiatives are approved by the Cabinet.
Agencies working on new policy initiatives are expected to take into account the implications of existing legislation on their policy proposals. Should their initiatives require legislation to be introduced or amended, they will work closely with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and all relevant stakeholders. Proposals for major policies and new legislation, incorporating feedback from the relevant Ministries including on their fiscal impact and public communications requirements, are also tabled to Cabinet for approval. COVID-19 has been a stress test of inter-agency collaboration, both in developing new policies in a prompt manner, as well as in operationalising them. On the whole, our public agencies have adapted quickly and acquitted themselves well. But there will always be room for improvement and lessons to be learnt. We therefore continually review our processes and outcomes, to identify and remedy any shortcomings, and to strengthen inter-agency alignment and communication across the whole of Government.