Establishment Subcommittee

Minutes of the proceedings of the Meeting held on
1 July 1996 at 10:45 a.m. in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members Present :

    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, OBE, JP
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon Margaret NG

Members Absent :

    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Allen LEE Peng-fei, CBE, JP
    Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, OBE, LLD, JP
    Dr Hon Edward LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP

Public Officers Attending :

Mr Augustine CHENG Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
Mrs CHAN YUEN Tak-fai, JP Deputy Commissioner for Transport
Mr LAI Fuk-kan Assistant Commissioner for Transport
Mr LOO Khim-chung Senior Engineer of Transport Department
Mr Alan SIU Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury
Mr B J C WOODROFFE, ISO, JP Commissioner of Rating and Valuation
Mr C S WONG, JP Deputy Commissioner of Rating and Valuation
Mr TSAO Tak-kiang Assistant Director of Highways
Mr Parrish NG Principal Assistant Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
Miss Sarah WU Deputy Judiciary Administrator
Mr Paul TANG, JP Deputy Director of Administration
Mr P T CHEUNG, JP Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing
Mr Gary YEUNG Assistant Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing

In Attendance :

Mr Kevin HO, JP Deputy Secretary for the Treasury
Mr Mike STONE, JP Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service
Miss Pauline NG Assistant Secretary General
Mrs Constance LI Clerk to the Establishment Subcommittee
Mr Andy LAU Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)


Proposed creation of a supernumerary post of Chief Engineer (D1) for the period up to 31 December 1999 to head a dedicated team in Transport Department to manage and steer the feasibility study on electronic road pricing

Members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong expressed reservations about the staffing proposal on the grounds that the feasibility study on electronic road pricing could not provide a long-term solution to the traffic congestion problems in Hong Kong.

2. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Proposed creation of a supernumerary post in a new rank of Rating Adviser (D3) for three years with effect from 1 August 1996 offset by the temporary deletion of the rank and post of Rating Adviser (D2) in the Rating and Valuation Department to cope with new work commitments over the next three years

3. Some members expressed doubts as to whether the proposed upgrading of the Rating Adviser post from D2 to D3 on a supernumerary basis for three years was merely to pave the way for converting the post to permanent establishment. In response, the Commissioner for Rating and Valuation (CRV) explained that the proposed post was a short-term requirement mainly to steer the implementation of the assessment and collection of the Annex III Rent and to examine the feasibility of the proposed annual revaluation exercise. As the department was also implementing the Information System Strategy which comprised 12 systems, special expertise would be required to supervise the work and the development of further computerisation programmes in the department after the implementation of the Strategy. The proposed D3 post was to reflect the increased complexity and workload of the Rating Adviser post as a result of these additional commitments. CRV assured members that, on full implementation of these projects in late 1999, the special expertise required of the D3 post should no longer be necessary. He also confirmed that there was no intention to convert the proposed supernumerary D3 post to a permanent post after three years. Should there be additional responsibilities given to the department during these three years requiring substantial computer development work, the department might seek an extension of the supernumerary post.

4. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Proposed creation of a permanent post of Chief Engineer (D1) to cope with the growing workload and span of control of the post in the District and Maintenance Division of the New Territories Regional Office of the Highways Department

5. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Proposed creation of a permanent post of Magistrate ($71,265 - $85,400) in the Obscene Articles Tribunal to cope with the increasing workload

6. Noting that the increased workload of the Obscene Articles Tribunal (OAT) was largely caused by the implementation of the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles (Amendment) Ordinance enacted in July 1995, members asked why the Administration did not put up the staffing request at that time. In response, the Deputy Judiciary Administrator (DJA) advised that the Administration was aware of staffing implications of the legislation but needed to assess the actual staffing requirements on the basis of workload statistics.

7. On the tremendous increase in the number of cases filed for classification or review in 1991-92 and 1993-94, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Broadcasting and Culture and Sport advised that this was mainly a result of the increased enforcement actions against new products which had been gaining popularity on the market. He undertook to provide more information in this respect.


8. In reply to a member, DJA confirmed that, for all determination cases, it was the existing practice for OAT to determine why an article was indecent or obscene. Additional work was envisaged, however, in extending the requirement to all interim and full hearings on classifications, as required under the legislation enacted in 1995.

9. Responding to a member’s question, DJA advised that about 100 adjudicators were being recruited, to be paid at a rate of $400 per session (half-day), to cope with the increased classification work. The recruitment was expected to complete in about July this year. DJA undertook to provide further information on the composition of the adjudicators and their actual caseload.


10. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Proposed creation of a permanent post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2) in the Administration Wing of the Chief Secretary’s Office to improve the co-ordination of Legislative Council business within the Administration and to improve liaison between the Administration and Legislative Council

11. Members pointed out that while they supported in principle the need to enhance communication between the Administration and the Legislative Council (LegCo), they questioned the effectiveness of the proposed Administrative Officer Staff Grade C post in helping to achieve this objective. A member commented that it would be more important for the Government to demonstrate its determination in promoting an open government which was accountable to the community and the elected legislature for its policies and programmes. In this respect, it appeared that the problem and the solution lay with the policy branches rather than the Administration Branch.

12. In response, the Deputy Director of Administration (DD/Adm) advised that the present proposal was intended to improve the liaison between the Administration and the LegCo, and an officer of sufficient seniority and competence would be required to examine requests from LegCo members and to coordinate responses from the Administration in a prompt and effective manner. In this respect, the officer could assist the Policy Secretaries in observing new procedures promulgated by the LegCo, and in coordinating the timely and orderly introduction of public bills into the LegCo. Replying to a member, DD/Adm advised that any dissenting views among the policy branches or between the Administration and the LegCo would be reported promptly to the Chief Secretary’s Office for a decision.

13. Responding to a member’s question, DD/Adm reported the achievements of the existing supernumerary post in improving liaison between the Administration and the LegCo in the past nine months. These included putting proposals to the Commission on Remuneration of LegCo Members, assisting in the acquisition of additional accommodation for the LegCo and facilitating the implementation of new procedures adopted by the LegCo within the Administration. The Administration had reviewed the effectiveness of the post and considered that it should be retained on a permanent basis.

14. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Proposed conversion of the Entertainment Standards Control officer grade from the permanent but non-pensionable establishment to the permanent and pensionable establishment in the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority

15. Responding to a member’s question, the Commissioner for Television and Entertainment Licensing (CTEL) advised that the existing arrangement for the Entertainment Standards Control Officers to be appointed on permanent but non-pensionable terms was no longer appropriate. Given the expanded scope of the duties of the grade, it had become necessary to preserve knowledge and experience in dealing with the complex broadcasting industry. Moreover, the existing arrangement would create tension among staff if an agreement officer in a promotion rank had to compete with his subordinates for the post on expiry of his contract. The Administration therefore considered that the whole grade should be converted to the permanent and pensionable establishment. CTEL also confirmed that there was no recruitment problem so far.

16. On the conversion arrangements, CTEL advised that the details were yet to be finalised, but the conversion could either take place at an agreed time for all existing officers in the grade, or on expiry of the existing contract of individual officers.

17. The item was voted on and endorsed.

18. The Chairman advised that the next meeting originally scheduled for 3 July 1996 would be held on 9 July 1996.

19. The Committee was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
18 July 1996

Last Updated on 27 November 1998