As a policy officer, Shermain reviews and formulates policies within the Rehabilitation and Protection Group to help protect and support vulnerable individuals and families.
At the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Rehabilitation and Protection Group (RPG), officers deal with the care, protection, and rehabilitation of individuals to create a safe and nurturing environment for children, young persons and families.
But while frontline officers are the more visible ones on the ground, there is a complementary group of officers working behind the scenes on the policies that help fill in gaps and needs in our society.
Shermain, a policy officer with the Rehabilitation and Protection Group, analyses data, reviews legislation, and engages stakeholders on a typical work day.
The process of coming up with a policy usually starts with identifying a gap or need. “Gaps or needs may be identified as part of a legislative or policy review. We would then seek to formulate or amend a policy to bridge this gap or address this need.” said Shermain.
She recognises that it is often difficult for her to fully understand the situation on the ground. “We work a lot with our key stakeholders in formulating policies. While we try to ensure we are as well acquainted with the operations as possible, our operations colleagues will always be more informed of the intricacies of the operations. We therefore tap a lot on their expertise to help us understand the operational needs and implications of our policies” said Shermain.
Breaking cycles of abuse, neglect, and offending is something that Shermain believes in strongly. “Working in RPG, you definitely have to be someone with a passion for people, especially for the vulnerable. If you want to be a policy officer, you should be someone with an eye for identifying gaps and needs in society, who appreciates Singapore’s societal and operating context, and sees the importance of collaboration with the different stakeholders.” said Shermain.
“Sometimes, the sheer magnitude of our policy reviews can be overwhelming,” Shermain said. “However, knowing that our work benefits people in society makes me hopeful and gives meaning to the work I do. Of course, it also helps a lot that our colleagues and bosses are super supportive, caring, and passionate.”