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Higher Stakes: Challenges and Transformation

A pioneering Home Team officer who has been with CRA since its earliest days reflects on a transformational journey.
PHOTO: Jermaine Ting

It’s not every day that a new statutory board is formed. So, when Cheryl Foo had the chance to help establish the Gambling Regulatory Authority (CRA) in 2008, she was elated.

In addition to establishing a new organisation from scratch, she was faced with a steep learning curve as there was no precedence of casino regulation in Singapore. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in the starting-up of a new statutory board,” she recalled, “so it was natural for me to accept the challenge and try a lot of new things.”

Today, Cheryl is involved in the licensing of casino operators and employees, as well as the approval of other CRA-regulated entities such as gaming machine manufacturers and test laboratories. She is also one of the recipients of CRA’s 10-Year Commitment Recognition Award.

A Young and Vibrant Office Culture
The commitment of CRA's pioneering officers helped it to become a trusted casino regulator. Over the years, Cheryl has managed different portfolios in communications, policy and planning. She’s now a Senior Assistant Director with the Financial Analysis & Monitoring Branch, Licensing Division, of CRA.

What challenges Cheryl on a daily basis?

“My team, for one thing, who always questions me,” Cheryl shared with a laugh. “CRA’s culture is very vibrant. Many of our officers are young, and if they are not, they are young at heart. Everyone knows one another.”

People and the vibrancy of CRA’s culture are reasons that excite Cheryl for work. PHOTOS: Fatris Bin Jasmin and Jermaine Ting

To build team spirit and to encourage officers to interact with others outside of their divisions, CRA has a “house” system in place where activities, including themed events, are organised throughout the year.

“We visited museums, art galleries and horticulture parks,” shared Cheryl, who was also Chairperson of the CRA’s cohesion committee in 2018/19.

The end result?

“We work together better, and processes get expedited,” she explained. “If you need something, just call or send an Instant Message. You’re sure to know someone in any Division.”

CRA’s Journey of Transformation
Having helped CRA grow and reach new milestones over the past 11 years, Cheryl continues to be involved in several exciting new projects. Among them is the Automated Licensing and Investigation of Special Employees (ALISE), a project that will streamline a range of licensing and investigative processes for CRA, reducing the time taken by up to 50%.

Cheryl (third from right) with other 10-Year Commitment Recognition Award recipients. The officers were recognised for their contributions at CRA’s Workplan Seminar in May 2019. PHOTO: CRA

Cheryl was one of the three officers who conceptualised the system, a process that took about five months. “Having completed the first phase, we’ve handed it over to another team,” she shared. “I’m really looking forward to it being implemented. ALISE will allow us to focus our resources on high-risk matters while automating low-risk processes. It will definitely transform the way we do things.”

Written by

Ashley Tuen


6 June 2019

Gambling and Casino Regulation
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