For discussion EC(95-96)62
on 13 December 1995


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Civil Engineering Department -

1 Principal Executive Officer
(D1) ($80,450 - $85,400)

to be offset by the deletion of the following permanent post -

1 Chief Executive Officer
(MPS 45 - 49) ($62,665 - $72,195)


The present ranking of the Departmental Secretary (DS) post in the Civil Engineering Department (CED) is no longer commensurate with the responsibilities and experience required for the post.


2. The Director of Civil Engineering (DCE) proposes to upgrade the DS post from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) (MPS 45 - 49) to Principal Executive Officer (PEO) (D1). The Director of General Grades, who is Head of the Executive Grade, has given ranking support.


3. The DS heads the Administration Division. Because of his wide range of duties, he works to several senior officers on different issues, but mainly to the DCE (D5), the Principal Government Geotechnical Engineer (PGGE)(D3), and the Assistant Director of Civil Engineering of the Administration and Technical Services Branch (ADCE)(D2). Since the creation of the post at CEO level in 1986, the total establishment of the department has increased from 1 350 to 1 609. The devolution of authority in human resources management to heads of departments/heads of grades has greatly increased the workload, complexity and level of responsibility of the DS. These are elaborated below.

Human Resources Management

4. CED is a multi-disciplinary department and the DS is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of 1 609 staff belonging to 47 different grades. Of these posts, 345 are professional staff, including 32 at the directorate ranks. The DS plays a vital role in human resources policy and strategy planning in the Department's senior management team. He has to examine, and recommend to the directorate, priority areas for determining longer term policy on human resources management and optimum use of staff resources for internal redeployment. The DS is a member of DCE’s weekly meeting with senior directorate staff. He is also a member of the Senior Staff Conference held monthly and attended by all the directorate staff. From time to time, he is required to provide expert advice to the directorate on all administrative matters.

5. DCE is the head of the Engineer grade, which is the largest professional grade in the Civil Service, having an establishment of 947 posts and constituting the bulk of professional staff in CED, Highways Department, Drainage Services Department, Territory Development Department, Transport Department and Works Branch. Its members are also found in eight other departments. In view of the complexity and sensitivity in managing such a large professional grade, DCE convenes regular Engineering Grade Management Meetings (EGMM), attended by the Deputy Directors (D3) of the five major user departments, to discuss policy matters such as staff planning, manpower redeployment etc. As Secretary to EGMM, the DS plays an active policy formulation role in this high level inter-departmental body. Apart from performing grade management functions such as appointment, recruitment and establishment control, the DS also works directly to DCE in relation to promotion and the review of acting appointments in the Engineer grade up to the Principal Government Engineer (D3) level. He also assists ADCE in the posting and staff planning for the whole of the Engineer grade.

6. DCE is also the head of the Geotechnical Engineer grade and three technical officer grades, namely, Technical Officer (Geotechnical), Technical Officer (Laboratory) and Survey Officer (Engineering) grades. The Geotechnical Engineer grade has an establishment of 188 posts, mostly found in CED. Because of their heavy workload in professional duties, the directorate in CED rely heavily on the DS in handling all staff management issues relating to these grades.

7. The introduction of revised terms of employment for overseas agreement officers who wish to transfer to agreement terms modelled on local conditions of service has affected many officers in the Engineer/Geotechnical Engineer grades and has generated a heavy and complex workload for the DS in respect of this area. Furthermore, the introduction of open competition for filling all posts in promotion ranks held by agreement officers involves the formation of additional selection boards and consequential changes to the appointment terms of the affected officers. Processing of applications for renewal of agreement/transfer to Permanent and Pensionable terms has also become more complex due to the introduction of new conditions and the need for fuller justification. The DS works directly to DCE in processing all such cases, gives expert advice and acts as secretary to inter-departmental promotion/selection boards.

8. Because of the complexities and sensitivities of many of these issues, the DS has to liaise closely with the staff unions and staff associations. His ability to do so effectively is very important in the smooth running of both the Department and the relevant grades.

9. As the representative of the Director of General Grades, the DS plays an important role in the management of some 200 Executive, Clerical and Secretarial Grades staff in the Department. Following the Public Sector Reform, the role of DS in managing the General Grades staff has become more prominent. Apart from routine personnel functions, he needs to develop longer term strategies to train, motivate and manage staff for maximising their contribution to the Department and for their career development.

New Management Initiatives

10. The DS assists DCE, through ADCE, in steering and directing departmental efforts towards the "Serving the Community Scheme." He helps to define and monitor performance standards in order to meet the pledges. He supervises the public complaint system and assists in formulating annual plans. The DS is the Departmental Records Manager and will be heavily involved when the Code on Access to Information applies to the Department later. We also propose that the DS should take over the duties of Green Manager of the Department and be responsible for co-ordinating, reviewing and strengthening initiatives related to environmental performance.

11. DCE considers that the magnitude and complexity of the above tasks, in particular the management of the professional and technical grades for which DCE is the central authority, and their implications on departmental management justify the upgrading of the DS post to PEO level. A job description of the post is at Enclosure 1.


12. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at MID-POINT is -

$ No. of Post

New permanent post




Permanent post deleted



Additional cost



We have included sufficient provision in the 1995-96 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal which has no other staffing implications.


13. CED comprises the Civil Engineering Office, the Geotechnical Engineering Office, and the Administration and Technical Services Branch. The Civil Engineering Office, headed by PGCE, mainly handles civil engineering projects in the Public Works Programme, whereas the Geotechnical Engineering Office, headed by PGGE, covers a wide range of geotechnical engineering activities related to the safety and economic utilisation and development of land. ADCE oversees the work of the Administration and Technical Services Branch comprising the Survey Division, the Technical Support Group, the Accounts and Supplies Division and the Administration Division which is headed by the DS. An organisation chart showing the senior management structure of the Department is at Enclosure 2.


14. The Civil Service Branch considers the upgrading of the post appropriate, having regard to the increased responsibilities and complexities of the post.


15. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.

Works Branch
December 1995

Enclosure 1 to EC(95-96)62

Job Description Departmental Secretary of the Civil Engineering Department

Rank : Principal Executive Officer (D1)

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. The Departmental Secretary(DS) advises the senior directorate on all aspects of human resources management policy and strategy.
  2. As a personal assistant, the DS assists the Director of Civil Engineering (DCE) in discharging his head of grade functions in respect of two professional grades, namely Engineer and Geotechnical Engineer, and three technical grades, namely Technical Officer (Geotechnical), Technical Officer (Laboratory) and Survey Officer (Engineering). Specific management responsibilities include recruitment, promotion, performance appraisal, career development and renewal of agreement terms. The DS assists the Assistant Director of Civil Engineering (ADCE) with postings of Engineers, training and staff planning in the Engineer grade. He deals directly with the Principal Government Geotechnical Engineer in respect of these functions in the Geotechnical Engineer grade.
  3. As head of the Administration Division, the Departmental Secretary is responsible to DCE, through the ADCE, for the effective control and operation of the Division under his charge. Duties include -


    Human Resources Management

    planning and managing all personnel, establishment, training, staff welfare and staff relations matters; and acting as the grade manager for the executive, clerical and secretarial grades staff in the Department;


    Office Administration

    overseeing the provision of administrative support to the Department including office accommodation, environmental performance, building management, record-keeping, office equipment, translation and library services, clerical and secretarial services; and


    Serving the Community Scheme

    steering and directing departmental efforts towards the Scheme; monitoring the conduct of performance pledges; and supervising the public complaint system.

Last Updated on 3 December 1998