SPD Executive Director Calls For Recognition Of All Social Service Staff, Not Just Social Workers | SPD - Singapore

SPD Executive Director Calls For Recognition Of All Social Service Staff, Not Just Social Workers

19/07/2013

Staff across the organisation doing their part to help people with disabilties integrate into mainstream society

Staff across the organisation doing their part to help people with disabilties integrate into mainstream society

 

There have been several reports recently about giving more recognition to social workers and raising their salaries. Mr Abhimanyau Pal, executive director of SPD, shares his views on the subject with this letter that was published in TODAY’s Voices on 17 July. 


We have heard more calls in recent years to increase social workers’ salaries. And they ought to be rewarded equitably for what they do. We should not, though, overlook the other professionals in the social service sector.

At the Society for the Physically Disabled, we work to maximise the potential of people with disabilities.

Every individual is helped by the collective effort of a team — social workers, training officers, workshop supervisors, therapists, special needs teachers, and even drivers and fund-raisers — to provide people with disabilities with what they need to be independent.

Like social workers, other professionals in any charitable organisation contribute to improving the lives of those they serve. They deserve to be acknowledged for their efforts.

Voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) in Singapore depend largely on public donations for their daily operations and manpower costs typically make up a major part of their expenditure.

Therefore, public understanding of the contribution of these professionals and, consequently, recognition in terms of remuneration, is important.

Many donors today count on their contributions going directly to the disadvantaged. While wanting to help the disadvantaged, it is easy to forget those who work in the background to ensure that an individual or family rises above the circumstances to stand on their own feet.

Money is important, but without these professionals, the donation can only go so far.

People generally join the social service sector because they want to help. While not primarily driven by salary, they should be paid equitably so that the sector can attract the right talents.

If donations are not meant to pay professionals who provide essential services for the disadvantaged, VWOs would find it difficult to meet their operating expenses, regardless of how successfully they are able to raise funds.

And without the support of these professionals, the disadvantaged would be hard put to rise above their circumstances.

We hope that as the Government looks into raising salaries in the social service sector, it also works to raise the profiles of the different professions in the sector.

This would help the public to see how improving the lives of the disadvantaged is not done through handouts alone, but is also greatly dependent on the input of many staff hard at work in the sector.

This would help make it more possible to recognise and reward social service staff across the board more equitably.