Lately I noticed a cleaner surrounding at MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Less fallen leaves and litter on the ground, withered leaves, stems and stalks on shrubs and trees, the drains are cleared of debris and the toilet washed daily.
Closed supervision of the contract workers deployed by the new service provider, by PUB staff is the key as I witnessed them during their field work.
Outsourcing has its benefit like costs saving, as in most cases and also a common practice to award the contract to the lowest bidder, as it would otherwise have to justify the selection of a higher bid.
More of than not successful contractors with thin or low margin profit would assign a thin force inadequate for the job and left them without supervision. Also, they were not equipped with proper tools and implements: balding brooms with little bristle, right size shears; and no wheel-burrow or trolley to transport heavy equipment or tools, were taxing the efficiency of workers unnecessarily.
It is understandable to see workers put in the minimum effort for the job without supervision when there is no motivation or incentive like increment in wages or promotion.
However, costs saving at the expense of poor result will only irk the tax payers.
Closed supervision by the service buyer is inevitable for framing out work to contractors.
I laud the field staff of PUB who supervised the workers closely in keeping the park clean.
I hope the other departments can take a leaf from here.
As a long time user of MacRitchine Reservoir Park for my morning exercise regime, I had endured the ghastly sight for half a decade and hope this is not a reprieve.
- Chin Kee Thou