On November 2, the town councillors from Jurong-Clementi Town Council (JRTC) attended a local corporate retreat programme to participate in team-building exercise and discuss topics on how to serve and engage with fellow residents better.
In his welcome address, JRTC Chairman and Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC (Jurong Central), Mr Ang Wei Neng spoke on the Town Council’s digital journey to engage with residents via digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and monthly e-newsletter as well as the establishment of a digital telephone system for the town council’s call system. He also shared statistics on the monthly conservancy cases and estate inspections handled by the town councillor.
The retreat was also attended by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Member of Parliament for Yuhua SMC; Dr Tan Wu Meng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Industry, and Member of Parliament, Jurong GRC (Clementi); Madam Rahayu Mahzam, Member of Parliament, Jurong GRC (Bukit Batok East); and Mr Murali Pillai, Grassroots Advisor and Member of Parliament for Bukit Batok SMC.
During the retreat, Sanchit Mendiratta, chief growth officer of digital agency Happy Marketer Interactions, touched upon the power of the digital medium and emphasised the importance for organisations to adopt a human approach and use empathy when they are connecting with their customers.
Sharing case studies of various companies who have used digital strategies to engage their audience and respond to crises, Mr Mendiratta said residents’ interactions with their town councils are increasingly becoming relationship-driven instead of transaction-based. “They want website and apps that are not brochures, but outcome-oriented. The town council should engage residents on issues such as health, SkillsFuture, benefits for the Merdeka Generation and other things that can make our lives better,” he shared.
As part of its drive to expand its digital communication channels, JRTC has completed the installation of more than 2,300 units of digital notice boards in lift lobbies, lift cars, community centres and markets to update residents of happenings in their neighbourhood.
The town councillors also held group discussions on the digitalisation of estate management services, a synergistic approach to improving estate cleanliness and maintenance, a coordinated approach in pest control management and various programmes to improve lift maintenance and performance.
Going forward, residents can use their smartphones to locate empty slots to park their bicycles as well as to lock and unlock their bikes through the establishment of smart bicycle racks. The town council also made recommendations to install smart home features such as elderly monitoring system, home energy management and home water management system. To get residents involved in estate cleanliness, a Whatsapp group under the residents’ committee will be created to encourage them to provide feedback on cleanliness.
Mr Murali said town councillors can do their jobs better by harnessing technology, partnering stakeholders and creating the right balance between education and enforcement. He also shared an example in Bukit Batok where they connect all the cat lovers and get them to teach people the right way to feed cats so that there will be no leftovers to attract rodents. This can help us to keep the environment clean. we connect all the cat lovers in Bukit Batok and get them to teach people the right way to feed cats so that there will be no leftovers to attract rodents. This help to keep the environment clean.
Dr Tan also stressed the importance of striking a fine balance between the use of technology and actual enforcement by the Town Council. “When you are serving and connecting with the residents, it’s very much about seeing things in the eyes of the residents. It’s important to listen to the stories of our residents instead of just looking at the available data. When you are able to do that, residents will have confidence that you are able to serve them well,” he said.
The Town Council committees play an important role in the management of their town. To appreciate their contribution, the elected town councillors were presented the certificate of appointment for the new term and the outgoing councillors were also presented with a token of appreciation for their service.
In his closing address, Mr Ang urged town councillors to embrace digital transformation and familiarise themselves with these new technologies to engage with the residents.