AVA Wins 2 Awards as First Responder for Animal-related Feedback
responder protocol ensures action is taken in a timely manner
and improves inter-agency collaboration.
AVA, in its role as the First Responder for animal-related feedback, has received two awards for the progress made in handling such feedback. The Best Practice Award (Inter-agency Collaboration) 2014, presented by the Minister in-charge of the Civil Service, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, recognises the inter-agency collaboration and improvements in service provided to the public for animal related issues. In addition, AVA received the Minister’s Award (Team) 2014 from the Minister for National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan.
AVA as First Responder
In our densely populated city state, animal-related issues are often complex and multi-faceted. Many of these issues do not fall clearly under the purview of any one agency, or might involve a coordinated response by multiple agencies. The Public Service Division (PSD) introduced the ‘No Wrong Door’ policy in 2004, so that if an agency receives a public query that is not under its charge, it must nonetheless assist to identify the right agency to look into the issue and coordinate a response.
From left: Dr Wong Hon Mun (Group Director for Agri Establishment
Regulation, AVA) receives the Best Practice Award from Mr Teo Chee
Hean (Deputy Prime Minister).
However, some animal-related issues fall through the public service gaps and are not under any agencies’ purview at all. These cases often ended up being pushed from one agency to another. Members of the public had to navigate through various agencies when reporting animal-related issues, leading to their frustration and contributing to a negative perception of the Public Service.
- Diagnose the problem.
- Identify potential agencies.
- Draw the required expertise across the agencies to coordinate an effective response.
- Close the loop with the feedback provider.
To support this role, an inter-agency working group was formed with representatives from AVA, National Parks Board, National Environment Agency (NEA), Singapore Police Force, Singapore Land Authority, Housing and Development Board, and PSD. The working group’s primary function is to facilitate effective communication, collaboration, as well as iron out operational and policy issues among relevant agencies.
Since taking on the role as the first responder on animal-related issues, AVA has established a 24-hour hotline for the public to report any animal-related feedback. The number of related calls and emails we receive over the years has increased significantly from about 8,000 in 2011 to close to 19,000 in 2014. Upon receiving these queries and comments, AVA acts as the lead in coordinating swift and effective actions to be taken by respective agencies. We also coordinate joint replies to feedback providers.
First Responder Protocol (FRP): Examples of Successful Resolution
In January 2010, Mrs Singh, a resident in Bukit Panjang, encountered a monkey in her flat. She contacted her Town Council, which referred her to the National Parks Board (NParks). NParks transferred her feedback back to the Town Council. Mrs Singh eventually called the police. She said, “By this point, we were upset and told them it's like they are passing the buck. Who can help?”
An AVA officer (right) reaches out to residents on ways to
avoid nuisances caused by monkeys in the area.
NOW WITH FRP:
AVA has regularly received feedback from residents living in private apartments within the direct vicinity of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. They have been complaining about the nuisances caused by monkeys from the area.
Apart from trapping and removing the monkeys that stray into the residential areas, AVA also worked with NEA to replace the litterbins in the area with monkey-proof ones.
As a result, the food source of monkeys within the residential areas was removed, and thus the appearance of monkeys became less frequent. The joint efforts of AVA and NEA significantly reduced the number of such feedback received from the residents of the area.
In August 2013, AVA received a feedback from a resident in a landed property at Dalvey Estate. Her family had been affected by the noise caused by unknown animals during the night.
AVA inspected the location and found out that the noises were caused Banded Bullfrogs, which were found in the drains both behind the resident’s property and in a neighbour’s property.
Following our investigation, we worked with the Public Utilities Board and NEA to clean up the drains and surrounding vicinity. AVA also advised the neighbour to clean up their drain. These measures reduced the presence of frogs and successfully resolved the issue.