For discussion EC(95-96)68
17 January 1996


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post -

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 Architectural Services Department (Arch SD) is no longer commensurate with the responsibilities and experience required for the post.


2. The Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S) 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 to the proposal.


3. The DS heads the Administration Division and works to the Deputy Director of Architectural Services(D3). He acts as the principal adviser to the senior directorate on human resources policy and strategy, personnel management involving recruitment and promotion, staff relations, general departmental administration and management of the general and common grades staff. Since the creation of the DS post at CEO level in April 1986, Arch SD has grown in size, functions and responsibilities. The total permanent establishment of the Department increased from 1 848 posts in April 1986 to 2 081 in November 1995. The increased complexity of the works, structure and staff management of the Department have greatly increased the workload, complexity and level of responsibility of the DS. These are elaborated below.

Scope of Works and Staff Management

4. Arch SD is a multi-disciplinary department with a complex structure comprising 121 ranks in a total of 47 grades. D Arch S is the head of five professional grades, namely, Architect, Maintenance Surveyor, Structural Engineer, Quantity Surveyor and Landscape Architect, having a total establishment of 417 posts working in 14 departments/branches. The DS plays an active role in assisting D Arch S in the management of these grades, performing such functions as recruitment, appointment, posting, establishment control, and staff planning including directorate succession.

5. D Arch S is also the head of five technical grades, namely, Technical Officer (Architectural), Technical Officer (Structural), Survey Officer (Quantity), Clerk of Works and Works Supervisor (Building), having a total establishment of 963 posts. Because of their heavy workload in professional duties, the directorate in Arch SD rely heavily on the DS in handling all staff management issues relating to these grades.

6. Following the take-over of the new works element of the building services function from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department in April 1990 and the landscape architectural function from the Territory Development Department in April 1994, and the formation of the Project Management Branch in May 1995, Arch SD currently provides its services through joint efforts of seven functional streams, namely, architecture, maintenance surveying, quantity surveying, structural engineering, buildings services engineering, landscape architecture and project management. The expanded functions of the Department has added complexity to the job of the DS in terms of manpower planning, resources management and strategic policy formulation at the top management level. The DS has to examine options, recommend action plans and constantly review the re-deployment of financial and staff resources for optimum productivity. Many professional posts in Arch SD, particularly those in the Project Management Branch, are multi-disciplinary and are open to competition across different streams. The DS has to initiate a more comprehensive selection process to identify the best candidates for filling these posts.

7. Arch SD has a considerable number of expatriate officers. Localisation and fair treatment of serving/leaving expatriate officers are very sensitive and complicated subjects. The DS has to devise departmental strategies and succession plans, closely monitor staff views and advise D Arch S on prospective problems. The introduction of open competition to fill 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 D Arch S in processing all such cases and gives advice to promotion/selection boards.

8. Because of the complexity and sensitivity of many of these issues, the DS also has a key role to play in closely liaising with the staff unions and staff associations. He assists D Arch S in communicating with staff and in formulating long-term management strategies on staff relations and welfare. Given the Department's complex grade and staff structure and the divergent interests among various disciplines, his ability to effectively discharge his staff relations responsibilities is very important in the smooth running of both the Department and the relevant grades.

9. Following the delegation of more human resources management authority from the Civil Service Branch to heads of departments, the D Arch S has further delegated some authority to the DS. As the representative of the Director of General Grades, the DS has to oversee the management of over 440 (representing 21% of Arch SD's establishment) Executive, Secretarial, Clerical and other general and common grades staff in the Department. He needs to develop longer-term strategies to train, motivate and develop them.

New Management Initiatives

10. The DS assists D Arch S, through the Deputy Director of Architectural Services, in steering and directing departmental efforts towards the "Serving the Community Scheme." In its continuing effort to improve quality of service, Arch SD achieved ISO 9001 accreditation in April 1995. The Department is committed to maintaining the certification and one vital factor in the process is proper documentation which requires intensive support from the executive, clerical and secretarial grades. The DS, being the Departmental Records Manager, is playing an important role in this aspect. He is responsible for the smooth operation of a complaints hot-line set up recently and for refining the quality of support provided by the general grades staff. He is also heavily involved in implementing the Code on Access to Information in the Department from March 1995.

11. In the light of the growing importance and the increased responsibilities of the DS, the magnitude and complexity of the above tasks and their implications on departmental management, D Arch S considers that the DS post should be upgraded to PEO. A job description of the post is at Enclosure 1. An organisation chart showing the senior management structure of the Department is at Enclosure 2.


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


14. 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
January 1996

Enclosure 1 to EC(95-96)68

Job Description for Departmental Secretary Architectural Services Department

Rank : Principal Executive Officer (D1)

Duties and Responsibilities

As head of the Departmental Administration Division, responsible to the Deputy Director of Architectural Services for the effective control and operation of the Division under his charge. Duties include -

  1. serving as principal adviser to the senior directorate on human resources policy and strategy, conditions of service, recruitment, promotion, succession, retention and motivation, grade structure, departmental administration; a member of the departmental core management team and a member/secretary to the Senior Staff Forum;
  2. advising the senior directorate on all establishment and organizational matters and management reviews including the operation of the Departmental Establishment Committee and serving as the secretary to the Committee;
  3. formulating staff relations and staff consultative strategies and action plans, and serving as a management member of the Departmental Consultative Committee;
  4. overseeing the provision of administrative support to the Department, including office organization and procedures, building management, office equipment, transport, translation service, clerical and secretariat services; and
  5. managing all general and common grades staff in the Department.

Last Updated on 3 December 1998