More than 4,400 Individuals Submit False SkillsFuture Credit Claims in January 2017

February 27, 20178:09 am827 views

Towards the end of January 2017, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) discovered that about 4,400 individuals have submitted false claims, effectively encashing their SkillsFuture Credit without attending any courses. A vast majority, over two-thirds of them have submitted claims towards the end of January 2017. They were flagged out by the data analytics system.

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) has taken enforcement action against over 4,400 individuals who submitted false SkillsFuture Credit claims. The agency issued letters to these individuals who have dented the system to cost about $ 2.2 million. SSG is following the course of action seriously to recover monies from these individuals who have abused the system.

Taking the abuse of SkillsFuture credit very seriously, SSG initiates necessary action on these individuals who have provided false information to the SkillsFuture Singapore agency and breached Section 58 of the SkillsFuture Singapore Agency Act. Breaching the law would impose a fine on these individuals with a maximum penalty of $10,000 fine and imprisonment of up to 12 months or both.

“This is a serious incident of false claims involving SkillsFuture Credit, and we have taken immediate steps to recover the monies involved. We have also stepped up our checks and audits. All of us have a part to play in ensuring that the SkillsFuture Credit initiative works well,” said Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of SkillsFuture Singapore.

Until this incident, the number of false claims submitted by individuals has been low, with about 80 such claims detected per month in the last few months. Since this incident, SSG has stepped up its audit and enforcement efforts. These include stepping up data analytics to detect anomalies, more regular audits of training providers and individual claims.

See: SkillsFuture Plans to Reach Out to More Singaporeans This Year

Some of the immediate measures taken by SSG to tighten the enforcement system include:

  • Conduct mystery shopping audits to address unethical and misleading marketing practices. This is following a recent move to issue a set of marketing guidelines to training providers.
  • Strengthen the sensitivity of data analytics system in flagging out anomalies. Make more explicit the penalty for false claims and continue taking errant users of the system to task.

The objective of the SkillsFuture Credit is to empower Singaporeans aged 25 years and above to re-skill or upgrade their skills. Towards this spirit, the course directory and claims processes were designed to be simple, inclusive and user-friendly.

However, it is a regrettable incident that some individuals have abused the system and submitted false claims.

SSG also plans to set up a Process Review Committee comprising of SSG Board members, to conduct a review of the policies and procedures relating to the processing of all training-related claims and disbursements to training providers, employers and individuals, and identify how these can be further strengthened.

Also read: Innovative Learning 2020: Candid Q&A with Dr. Gog Soon Joo of SkillsFuture Singapore

Image credit: skillsfuture.sg

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