Basic Info

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Nominee Information

Institutional Information

Member State Singapore
Institution Name Ministry of Manpower
Institution Type Ministry
Ministry Type Ministry of Labor and Employment
Administrative Level National
Name of initiative Tech Initiatives to combat COVID among Migrant Workers – MOM CovidTech
Projects Operational Years 1
Website of Institution

Question 1: About the Initiative

Is this a public sector initiative? Yes

Question 2: Categories

Is the initiative relevant to one of the UNPSA categories? Special Category: Institutional Resilience and Innovative Response to Covid-19 Pandemic

Question 3: Sustainable Development Goals

Is the initiative relevant to any of the 17 SDG(s)? Yes
If you answered yes above, please specify which SDG is the most relevant to the initiative. (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
Goal 3: Good Health
Which target(s) within the SDGs specified above is the initiative relevant to? (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
3.d Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks

Question 4: Implementation Date

Has the initiative been implemented for two or more years Yes
Please provide date of implemenation (dd/MM/yyyy) 30 May 2020

Question 5: Partners

Has the United Nations or any UN agencies been involved in this initiative? No
Which UN agency was involved? (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
Please provide details

Question 6: Previous Participation

1. Has the initiative submitted an application for consideration in the past 3 years (2017-2019)? No

Question 7: UNPSA Awards

Has the initiative already won a UNPS Award? No

Question 8: Other Awards

Has the initiative won other Public Service Awards? Yes
If yes, please specify name, organisation and year. Dare to Do, Public Service Transformation Awards, Public Service Division, 2022

Question 9: How did you learn about UNPSA?

How did you learn about UNPSA? INTERNET

Question 10: Validation Consent

I give consent to contact relevant persons and entities to inquire about the initiative for validation purpose. Yes

Nomination form


Question 1

Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
Within Singapore, we have more than 1.4m Migrant Workers (MWs) employed by about 600,000 businesses in Singapore. In early 2020, COVID-19 virus spread quickly amongst the MW communities in dormitories and affected others outside the dormitories. To stop the spread, the Singapore Government introduced a Circuit Breaker period. No one was able to go out to work except for essential workers. In May 2020, Singapore moved towards gradual easing of COVID measures, and prepared to clear the worker dormitories. A robust digital solution was required within 2 weeks before the end of the Circuit Breaker period to determine whether a worker was allowed to go to work based on 3 key parameters: 1. Work Code – Can a particular migrant worker go to their worksite. 2. Health Code – Did the migrant worker complete their swab tests, and results are clear of COVID. 3. Residency Code – Has the migrant worker’s residence taken the necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For the work code, there was a need to collate the list of workers who can work based on their sectors. Tight coordination with Singapore’s economic sector leads was essential to gradually allow more companies and sectors to go to work. It was a challenge to locate the MWs and assign him/her with the correct residency code. MWs who were infected with COVID-19 virus had to be moved to large-scale quarantine facilities, hospitals or temporary decant sites. Many public officers had to be mobilised to accurately pinpoint the residence of the worker, and to ensure the dormitories have taken the necessary measures. For the health code, coordination with health authorities was essential to obtain timely information about the workers’ COVID status, scheduling of routine swab and monitoring compliance.

Question 2

Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
MOM’s CovidTech directly supports the goal of reaching SDG and it’s targets by providing means to apply policy-tech to effect nation-wide changes. Through the application of technology, public institutions were able to reach out to vast numbers (> 2 million) of stakeholders to achieve SDG goals.

Question 3

a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing (3D.) CovidTech provides means for government agencies to safely reopen the economy while protecting the health of our migrant workers as well as the larger community. The various digital solutions directly reduce the health risk our migrant workers faced, by providing timely information of their swab test results as well as effectively managing their routines like PCR testing regime so that they and their employers could take actions to protect themselves as well as the larger community. The resulting subsequent reduction in dormitory infections as Singapore underwent safe reopening of the economy towards late 2020 and early half of 2021 validated the digital solution’s contribution to health and well-being of these migrant workers as well as the larger community.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
MOM’s CovidTech provides the means to safe reopening of the economy. Hence, even though the pandemic is still with us, lives and livelihoods far outweigh the cost of maintaining these digital solutions. Therefore, it is funded as a public good.

Question 4

a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
The initiatives address gaps in how public agencies can reach out to over 2 million stakeholders simultaneously. Solely depending on existing systems and ground personnel is insufficient to cope with the operational demands of actively monitoring, treating, vaccinating and conveyancing of > 1m migrant workers. Without such digital solutions, the government will also not be able to make large scale automated risk management of a million workers which would severely impeded the safe reopening of the economy.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
The target group was up to 1.4 million migrant workers, 600,000 businesses and over 1,000 dormitory operators. The initiative has improved their lives and livelihoods by allowing the safe reopening of the economy without compromising on public health. MOM’s CovidTech provided individualised risk indicators and ability for government to achieve the safe reopening of the economy. Collectively, we have  480,000 Migrant Workers who view their swab results and keep their covid medical discharge memo on their mobile devices  Uploading of 50,000 MW Antigen Rapid Test records on a daily basis on their mobile devices.  Onboarding 264,000 Migrant Workers onto contact tracing ecosystems.  QR code check-in, check-out for 211,830 MWs on a daily basis using their mobile devices in order to update their location to facilitate covid ops in contact tracing and isolation of migrant workers  Verified 480,000 MW mobile numbers. This allows MOM to effectively reach out to MWs.  Push 556 million notifications to Migrant workers on health and covid related information to keep Migrant Worker engaged and updated since launch  Generate > 1m risk indicators multiple times a day. As such, it benefited the target groups by allowing them to work, and conduct business. Furthermore, it reduces the number of infections to a minimum, keeping the pandemic among migrant workers to a minimum. This in turn, saves lives and livelihood.

Question 5

a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
Within 2 weeks before the end of Singapore’s Circuit Breaker period, information from 8 agencies had to be collected timely to generate worker’s Access Code. The first focus was to determine which worker could return to work. List of workers in each company was provided to sector leads, who in turn provided the information of who could go to their worksite based on their sector. Subsequently, more sectors could return to work. The next focus was to clear the dormitories that were locked down by checking on their safe living measures, and whether all the workers had registered themselves in FWMOMCare and TraceTogether mobile applications. Accurately locating the worker was the next area of focus. FWMOMCare mobile application was introduced to accurately locate workers down to specific rooms in the dormitory. Workers are required to scan the QR code just outside their room. Workers in temporary addresses, quarantine facilities or hospitals were accurately determined. Address registered by employer and dormitory operators were also used to accurately pinpoint the worker’s residence. A digital solution using Insights@MOM was used to automatically locate the worker and their latest contact detail and compute the Workcode and Residency Code. Websites for employers (Safe@Work) and dormitory operators (Safe@Dorm) were also enhanced to share information about their workers and provide clear instructions what they needed to do. SGWorkPass mobile application was also enhanced to enable authorities and worksites to check whether the worker could enter the worksite. Once all dormitories were cleared and most sectors could start work, initiatives to ensure sustained safe living measures were enforced. Routine swab and antigen tests were administered, test results, vaccination status and non-compliances were used to determine Health Code. Exit Pass was also introduced to enable workers to leave the dormitory for personal purpose in a controlled manner.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
Obstacles such as unclear policy requirements, and changing epidemic evidence makes solutioning very difficult as the speed to change was happening very quickly, the digital solutioning had to be done in an agile way and tech implemented had to be configurable to allow quick changes to take place. Therefore, inhouse agile development team was key and cloud technology would be our enabling platform. Team build systems with pre-baked flexibility and ahead of time in order to pre-empt changes. As time goes by, we accumulate use-cases and were able to activate these changes while the nation goes through “hammer and dance”.

Question 6

a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
Within Singapore and the nearby regions, there were no other attempt to provide individualised risk management digitally and centrally for millions of workers. The ambition to provide surgical analysis and automation and scale makes it one of the most innovative application of public service engineering and technology for public health purposes.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
In the earlier phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, China implemented Health Code, developed by Alipay and WeChat to identify people potentially exposed to COVID-19. The color based code can determine people’s exposure risks and freedom of movement based on factors such as travel history, duration of time spent in risky areas, relationships to potential carriers.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
MOM’s CovidTech leveraged heavily on Government’s adoption of commercial cloud. This allows us to use products and features that are class leading and highly scalable to achieve quick effective results at scale. To accelerate delivery, use of digital government tech investments such as Government Tech Stack reduces the time and effort required to launch products. We reduced the amount of time and effort to re-engineer from scratch. Using white-labelled applications and existing e-services, we were able to deliver modern architecture and frontier technologies that supported our efforts to protect migrant workers and allow their safe return to work.

Question 7

a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
Lessons learnt from the implementation of MOM’s CovidTech and engineering for public institutions are useful. This is especially so, if the country, region is preparing for a future medical crisis.

Question 8

a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
A combination of manpower (20-30 analyst, engineers and managers), money (> $10m) and partnership were used to implement the initiatives. Policy and technical managers and analysts were provided by MOM. Project funding was also provided by both MOM and Tech agencies. Finally, using a co-sourcing model, application development spread across MOM in house development teams and strategic partners and vendors.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
The initiative addresses a critical need in the safe reopening of the economy. The benefit of saving lives and livelihoods outweighs the cost of the systems. Hence, as the pandemic continues, it is a public good to continue to provide for such a system.

Question 9

a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
All MOM CovidTech components are evaluated on its effectiveness to meet business needs, efficient use of resources and policy needs. These parameters are used to determine if these projects will receive continued funding. Projects are evaluated every 6 to 12 months.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
Technical indicators such as performance and utilisation are evaluated. Project completion survey at each milestone is used to determine if deployed features are on-time, on-budget and deliver intended results.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
Main findings observed: • Funding pressures faced by the various project teams. To accomplish a wide set of goals with little resources and time. This sharpens the feature prioritisation process. • Though monitoring our respond time to policy changes, we continue to improve our organisation and agility to quickly react to requirements iteratively. Thus transforming waterfall delivery to agile-delivery models.

Question 10

Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
MOM CovidTech directly supports the operations of various government agencies and industry partners. Government agencies include Ministry of Trade and Industry / Economic Development Board, Building and Construction Authority and Ministry of Health. It is key to enable safe reopening, and various government agencies have been using it to apply their safe management policies. This includes whitelisting certain worksites, companies to allow them to work. Other agencies use it to schedule and manage vaccination and test protocols.

Question 11

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
MOM’s CovidTech encompasses a widespread number of stakeholders. They include but are not limited to. 1. Government agencies (Manpower, Economy, Sectorial leads) 2. Company and business owners 3. Dormitory operators 4. Migrant Workers 5. Business federations and associations All stakeholders were involved in the design and evaluation of the initiative. There was continuous improvement to the applications to better serve their needs.

Question 12

Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
Key lessons learnt are: 1. Tech investment pays off. Public Service Engineering should continue to invest in common tools, standards, and reusable modules to be able to achieve more with less. 2. Agility and user-centricity are key elements in a fast-changing context where we need to adhere closer to agile delivery and ground demands to bring forward key business values. Furthermore, multiple check-ins with both users and policy groups help to iterate to better solutions. Team will continue and improve this process to be more user-centric and to be more ops-tech integrated.

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