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All 17 Town Councils had unqualified financial statements for FY2020

All 17 town councils had unqualified financial statements for the financial year of 2020, said the Ministry of National Development (MND).

This means that auditors have concluded that the financial affairs of each of the town councils here had been presented fairly in all material aspects. FY2020 was from April 2020 to March last year.

However, six town councils flagged areas of non-compliance to a corporate governance checklist, such as not informing the National Development Minister within 30 days of key appointment holders and officers being appointed or changed, and a delay to the allocation of grants to the correct town council funds.

They are: Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, Ang Mo Kio Town Council, Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council, Jurong-Clementi Town Council, Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council and Sengkang Town Council.

MND said in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 22) that it has presented the audited financial statements of the 17 town councils for FY2020 to Parliament, and the town councils will be publishing them on their websites.

There will be no Town Council Management Report (TCMR) for FY2020, as announced last year, in view of the electoral boundary changes that followed the general election in 2020 and disruptions due to the circuit breaker period, the ministry added.

The annual report grades town councils according to five areas: estate cleanliness, estate maintenance, lift performance, service and conservancy charges arrears management and corporate governance. It is meant to provide residents with objective information about these key areas of estate management.

"The suspension also allows for clear accountability of the results when the TCMR assessment resumes from FY2021," it added.

Instead, the next TCMR, for FY2021, will be published in two separate reports later this year. This will be for the period of April 2021 to March 2022.

In May or June, MND will put out a report on town councils' performance for the operational indicators of estate cleanliness, estate maintenance, lift performance and service and conservancy charges arrears management.

In November or December, there will be a report reflecting the 17 town councils' performance in regulatory compliance and financial reporting, it added.

While there was no TCMR assessment for FY2020, town councils were still required to submit their declaration of compliance with regulatory requirements using a revised checklist, said MND.

The scope of the checklist had been enhanced to include new requirements from amendments to the Town Council Act in 2017, such as the need to notify the ministry and the public of changes in town councils' key appointment holders and officers within 30 days of the effective date.

From FY2021, town councils' corporate governance will also come under closer scrutiny, as their performance will be assessed by the severity of non-compliances, rather than the number of observations.

"Observations will be assigned points based on severity levels, and the town councils' banding will be based on the total number of points they accumulate," said MND.

Town CouncilsMinistry of National Development