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AIMS in Singapore: Call for greater transparency, efficiency and accountability in the disbursal of public funds

As the size and value of grants towards research and development continue to increase, the Grant Management industry has called for greater transparency, efficiency and accountability in the disbursal of public and charitable funds. The need for a better grant management process was especially apparent during the ‘Grant Management: Efficiency and Effectiveness through Shared Services’ roundtable held by Quest Computing Ltd. in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland last week.

During the event, key industry leaders pointed to the fact that between the years 2011-2015, the Singapore government is expected to have disbursed over $16 billion in research, innovation and enterprise funding. A 20 percent increase from the previous period, this growth shows that there is a critical need to establish a shared services system addressing the industry’s challenges of lowering operational costs, monitoring the funding process and measuring outcomes more accurately. The concept of Shared services in public organisations offers a chance for real cost saving and greater efficiency. Particularly if the sharing of services is truly adopted so that grant Management processes are pooled across different organisations, supported by a common IT platform.

Grant Management: Efficiency andEffectiveness
through Shared Services

“The provision of shared services in grant making can reduce overall costs by up to 50 percent” expressed Mr Don Kingston, CEO of Quest’s ASEAN operation. “Quest firmly believes that a properly implemented shared service system can make a substantial difference to a nations grant making, and we are passionate in our goal to enrich the grant management processes”.

Quest has expanded rapidly into the ASEAN market this year, leading the way in innovation in the Grant Management industry with their deep-seated knowledge and experience.

At the event, the Irish Ambassador to Singapore, Mr. Geoffrey Keating commented on Quest’s resilience and ability to adapt to meet the varying needs of these changing markets. In less than a year of its establishment in the ASEAN region, Quest has recognised significant opportunities and developments in the social and government sectors.

Mr. Mark Hoult-Allen of Comic Relief, a major fundraising charity based in the UK that has raised funds of over £950 million, has been using the system developed by Quest for some time and commented, “We at Comic Relief are very proud of our AIMS grants management system. The feedback that we have received from our staff, external assessors, applicants and grant-holders has been excellent. As a grant-maker of many years, I have not found a better ‘off the shelf solution’ for grant-making and would have no hesitation in recommending Quest or AIMS to others.”

Other speakers at the event included Mr. Ionut Peres, IT Manager of Fonds National de la Recherche, Luxembourg, who emphasised the importance of measuring the success and quality of grant programmes and each grant application, and Mr. Steve Buckley, who outlined his experience in implementing shared services in two of the largest grant making organisations in Europe.

Mr. Buckley commented, “A holistic approach serviced by effective systems is required to embed principles of good grant management and deliver real efficiency.”

Mr. Ionut Peres, Mr. Don Kingston &
Mr. Steve Buckley all spoke at the AIMS event

Ireland's Ambassador to Singapore,
Mr. Geoffrey Keating