The 4STPF Empowerment


Because everyone’s voices and choices should be respected and included.

In a world where social issues grow increasingly complex, it's more important than ever for social service agencies (SSAs) to empower their service users.

By tapping into the rich experiences and assets of service users, we create more effective and sustainable solutions which grant service users greater choice in how they live and receive services. By embracing empowerment, we can help service users attain a better quality of life and enable them to actively contribute to the well-being of both themselves and their communities.

To champion empowerment in the sector, NCSS launched the Empowerment Movement. As part of this movement, NCSS collaborated on learning journeys with experienced empowerment practitioners and initiated public education campaigns like "Beyond the Label" and "See the True Me". In addition, NCSS has created valuable resources and toolkits to guide empowerment practice.

What is Empowerment?

Empowerment in social service delivery means supporting individuals to have a voice and choice in how they live their lives or receive social services.

Empowerment boosts personal influence: Empowerment enhances a person's ability to shape matters that impact their life.

Elevating lives through empowerment: Empowering service users leads to better quality of life, strength, choice, and dignity.

Empowerment thrives on collaboration: We empower by working with, not just for, service users.

Watch how the Tsao Foundation's EMPOWER program empowers seniors as they collectively tackle issues like high medical costs, social isolation, dementia, and caregiving in their community. Seniors are trained to become Community Advocates, working alongside staff to facilitate sessions, advocate for issues, and co-produce solutions.


An example of empowering service delivery is Tsao Foundation’s EMPOWER programme, where seniors came together to collectively solve issues such as high medical costs, social isolation, dementia and caregiving in their community. Seniors were trained to become Community Advocates, who work alongside staff to facilitate sessions, advocate for issues and co-produce solutions.


Three Key Questions to Enhance Empowerment Today:

3 Questions - Empowerment

Common Challenges to Empowerment

Empowerment Common Challenges

Empowerment Co-Production Ladder
Use the ladder of participation to gauge the extent to which service users in your agency have participated in designing and delivering services. For further details, refer to the Empowerment Deconstructed! Guide by NCSS.

Start Empowering Today!

Ready to get started? Here are some essential tools and resources to get you started.

Empowerment Deconstructed! Guide

The Empowerment Deconstructed! Guide demystifies the concept of empowerment with a practical 4-step process. It provides valuable tools, frameworks and real-world examples of empowerment within the social sector. Dive deeper into the world of empowerment.

Empowering Seniors Toolkit

In 2019, NCSS introduced the Empowering Seniors Resource Kit, a comprehensive resource designed to assist agencies in empowering seniors. It utilises the Ladder of User Participation to help seniors discover their strength, create purpose and foster a sense of belonging within their community. Explore real-world empowerment examples within the sector.

4ST Empowerment Playbook

The 4ST Playbook on Empowerment and Inclusion is your guide to practical steps for cultivating person-centred practices and solutions. It promotes informed decision-making, asset leveraging, and encourages inclusion and participation of communities in need within society.

Apply for the NCSS 4ST Partnership Fund.

Ready to embark on your empowerment journey? Take the first step by applying for the NCSS 4ST Partnership Fund. This fund is dedicated to mobilising the sector to create solutions that foster innovation, collaboration, and empowerment. It supports projects that address upstream support for lower-income families, support for persons with mental health conditions, and emerging needs and gaps.

If you have a project in mind, don't hesitate.
4ST Partnership Fund applications are open each year, in April and October.


Example of a programme that demonstrates innovation, collaboration, and empowerment

Dayspring SPIN by HCSA Community Services

Dayspring SPIN is dedicated to empowering single parents to become resilient and self-reliant. We achieve this by enhancing their caregiving and parenting skills, improving their social support networks, and providing access to practical resources that enhance psychological well-being. Our program offers single parents a support system through a network of dedicated volunteers and an interactive website.

Demonstration of Innovation, Collaboration, and Empowerment approaches:

  • Innovation Our SPIN online portal is meticulously designed to cater to users' needs, with a focus on accessibility, usability, and content relevance.

  • Collaboration We work closely with a network of partners, including NannyPro, Daughters of Tomorrow, and SMU Pro Bono Centre, to bolster practical support for single parents. This includes assistance in childminding, employment, and legal support.

  • Empowerment We empower single parents by fostering a supportive community of peers. We enable them to make informed decisions through our self-help online portal, the network of volunteers, and various workshops and activities.

Find out more about empowerment:

Learn more about other strategic approaches to service delivery, such as collaboration and innovation.