Establishment Subcommittee

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

Members Present :

    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, OBE, JP
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    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
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Dr Hon Edward LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP

Public Officers Attending :

Mr W H HO Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare
Mr Ian STRACHAN, JP Director of Social Welfare
Mrs Louise WONG, JP Deputy Director of Social Welfare
Mrs Annette TANG Departmental Secretary, Social Welfare Department

In Attendance :

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

EC(96-97)34 Proposed creation of three permanent posts of one Deputy Director of Social Welfare (D3), one Assistant Director of Social Welfare (D2) and one Assistant Director of Accounting Services (D2) partly offset by the deletion of a permanent post of Chief Treasury Accountant (D1) in the Social Welfare Department to meet the increasing workload and responsibilities

The Chairman advised that this was a re-submission item. The proposal had been discussed at the last meeting on 9 July 1996 but withdrawn by the Administration in view of members’ request to have the proposal discussed at the LegCo Panel on Welfare Services before consideration by the Subcommittee. Members noted that the Administration had briefed the Panel on 12 July 1996, and additional information had been provided to members in the Supplementary Note attached to EC(96-97)34. Members also noted that paragraph 3 of the Supplementary Note had replaced paragraphs 10 to 13 of EC(96-97)34.

  1. On the proposed delineation of responsibilities between the two Deputy Directors (DD), the Director of Social Welfare (DSW) advised that each DD would supervise four branches of the department; one DD would take charge of the professional services and the other be responsible for the services which were more administrative in nature such as the administration of subventions and the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme (CSSA). In reply to a member, DSW clarified that the Social Security Branch was at present staffed by non-professionals, as the administration of CSSA was largely based on pre-determined eligibility criteria and calculation formulae.
  2. On the arrangement in filling the DD/Administration post, DSW advised that the post was a departmental post which should in the normal course be filled by a departmental officer. Only when no suitable departmental candidate could be identified would an officer from outside the department be considered.
  3. Responding to a member’s request for additional information on the actual growth in the responsibilities and establishment of the department between 1990/91 and 1996/97, DSW advised that there was a steady growth rate over the years. He undertook to provide further information in this respect before the item was considered by the Finance Committee on 19 July 1996.
  4. On the consultancy review of the social welfare subvention system, members urged the Administration to enhance its communication with the subvented sector which should be fully consulted in the deliberation of the consultancy findings. In response, DSW advised that the department had always kept abreast of the views and comments of the non-government organisations on two parts of the consultancy, i.e. on performance standards and on a new subvention system. In this respect, the subvented sector and the Government shared the common objective of improving the performance and quality standards in the sector. The provision of two DDs would assist the Director to maintain close dialogue with the consultants and the subvented sector, and with the LegCo Panel on the provision of welfare services He assured members that his department had an open mind about the outcome of the consultations and the way forward which he would recommend to the Secretary for Health and Welfare.
  5. As regards the Information Systems Strategy Study(ISSS) for the department, DSW advised that the department had just started to implement an ISSS which would be carried out under the direction of the proposed DD. This overall review of the computerisation requirements in the department was necessary to cope with the new and expanded services provided through CSSA and other professional units.
  6. Members noted that part of the reasons for the creation of the additional DD post was to provide more assistance to DSW in the representational aspects, such as attending meetings with LegCo Members. Members therefore asked the DSW to attend the Panel meetings personally more often as such meetings were useful forum for the exchange of ideas over issues of common concern. In concluding the discussion, the Chairman advised the Government to be more aware of the need for the department to maintain close communication with the subvented sector and with the Legislative Council on an on-going basis.
  7. The item was voted on and endorsed.
  8. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 11:20 a.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
19 July 1996

Last Updated on 27 November 1998