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     FrontPage Edition: Sun 19 November 2006

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Accreditation scheme for local dating industry in mid-2007

Source: www.mcys.gov.sg

MAXIMISING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE LOCAL DATING INDUSTRY

The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has introduced new initiatives to raise standards in the local dating industry.
These initiatives to expand the private sector's role and professionalise the industry were announced by Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon at The Partner Connection, an industry trade seminar, on 17 November 2006.
Seed Funding to Assist Companies
Seed funding will be provided through The Partner Connection Fund, a million-dollar fund set up in 2005 to create platforms to share industry best practices, promote the demand for dating services, establish an accreditation framework as well as upgrade and professionalise industry players.
Companies embarking on new services or activities that provide gender balanced social interaction opportunities to singles are eligible to apply.
The Partner Connection Fund will fund up to 80% of the costs incurred for approved projects, subject to a cap of $50,000.
Successful applicants can use the funds in areas such as marketing and promotion of dating services, training and accreditation fees.
These agencies must meet key guidelines such as screening all clients' marital status against ROM/ROMM records regularly and offering matchmaking or dating services which target local resident singles.
Interested parties can download the application form at www.mcys.gov.sg or call hotline no.: 1800-7373142 for more details.
Applications will be assessed by an evaluation panel co-chaired by Ms Claire Chiang, a well-respected businesswoman and advisor to Romancing Singapore and Mrs Tan Hwee Seh, Coordinating Director, Family Development Group of MCYS.
The panel comprises young community leaders and representatives from MCYS, SPRING and other relevant private sector businesses. Mrs Yu-Foo serves as an advisor to this panel.
Introducing Accreditation to Professionalise the Local Dating Industry
An accreditation scheme will be introduced for the local dating industry in mid-2007. The accredited agencies will carry the Social Development Unit (SDU) Trust Mark.
Dating agencies are required to meet accreditation standards in areas such as proper screening of clients against the records of the Registries of Marriages and Muslim Marriages and ensuring that members' database is kept confidential.
In addition, dating practitioners can apply for professional training and competency certification, which will be offered under the Workforce Development Agency's (WDA) Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework.
The SDU will set up two national registries, namely a Registry of Dating Practitioners and a Registry of Dating Agencies. Singles will be able to assess information on accredited dating agencies and dating practitioners readily.
Partnership with Private Sector and Community Groups
In its efforts to professionalise the local dating industry, SDU has received feedback from singles that they wanted continued assurance of credible activities and services offered by the private sector.
SDU will thus work in partnership with the industry in six key ways:
- An accreditation body

- A facilitator to create more social interaction opportunities for singles in natural social settings through the forging of partnerships with employers, community and commercial sectors

- A domain expert that shares good practices with industry players

- An enabler that ensures that the right infrastructure and support are put in place

- A promoter of quality, ethical and credible agencies and dating practitioners; and

- A public educator on singlehood issues
SDU has already started to partner and engage the private sector in creating more opportunities for singles to meet.
SDS, on the other hand, has been working at the grassroots level through its Family Life Champions to reach out to more singles at the community level.
The progress of the industry will be monitored closely while SDU and SDS gradually ease out of direct services in tandem with the growth of the industry. SDU and SDS members can be assured that the service level will not be compromised.
Over the next few months, SDU will be engaging singles, industry players and interested businesses in a series of dialogue sessions on the changes affecting the industry.
ISSUED BY
MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, YOUTH AND SPORTS
17 NOV 2006

Source: www.mcys.gov.sg Media Release 17 Nov 2006

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