For discussion EC(97-98)3
on 30 April 1997
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEE OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
Subhead 001 Salaries
|HEAD 149-|| GOVERNMENT SECRETARIAT : HEALTH AND WELFARE BRANCH|
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Health and Welfare Branch of the Government Secretariat -
1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade C
(D2) ($102,900 - $109,250)
The current directorate establishment of the Welfare Division of the Health and Welfare Branch (HWB) is inadequate to handle various manpower and service-wide welfare and youth policy issues.
2. The Secretary for Health and Welfare (SHW) proposes to create a permanent post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (AOSGC) (D2) to oversee and assist in the formulation of welfare policies on youth services, manpower issues, subvention systems for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), pension benefits for war veterans and victims and the administration of various charitable funds.
3. The Welfare Division in HWB is headed by an Administrative Officer Staff Grade B (AOSGB) (D3) designated as Deputy Secretary (Health and Welfare)2, who reports to SHW. He is underpinned by three AOSGC officers and one AOSGC officer on loan from the Civil Service Branch (CSB) since 1994. The three AOSGC officers deal with social security policies and family and child welfare policies, services for elderly people, and policy on rehabilitation for people with a disability, while the AOSGC on-loan from CSB deals with policy matters relating to welfare services for children and youth at risk, manpower supply of allied health personnel and social workers, subvention policy for NGOs, legislation for the registration of social workers, control of fund-raising activities, and the use of various charitable funds and benefits to war veterans/victims. The complexity and the full schedule of work required of him call for the creation of a permanent AOSGC post, to be designated Principal Assistant Secretary (Health and Welfare) Welfare 2 (PAS(HW)W2). The justifications are set out in the following paragraphs.
Welfare services for Children and Youth at Risk
4. Youth problems are multi-facet and have to be tackled through interdisciplinary co-ordination (education, law and order and social welfare). We need a directorate officer at AOSGC level to take charge of policy issues, effective liaison and co-ordination with other policy branches and departments for proper policy direction, and refocusing of our services targets, programme objectives and work priorities. As part of his responsibility for overseeing policy matters, the proposed PAS(HW)W2 has taken up the following specific tasks -
(a) Children and youth centre (CYC) services and integrated teams
An independent evaluation is being conducted on the refocusing of CYC programmes and Integrated Teams (ITs). The PAS(HW)W2 will have to assess the evaluation taking into account the desired policy objectives; and, in this light, determine how the service should be delivered and the level of resources that should be provided.
(b) Screening tool for early detection of students at risk
The Administration is trying to develop a tool to help teachers and social workers identify students potentially at risk so that early intervention can be provided. The PAS(HW)W2 will need to work with the Social Welfare Department (SWD) to assess the effectiveness of the tool, feasibility of its full implementation, and the policy and resources implications, particularly on how it might affect various support services.
(c) Review of School Social Work Service
The PAS(HW)W2 will provide policy input for review of school social work service, having regard to the nature of student problems, other school-based and non-school-based services. The review would take about a year, and implementation of the recommendations will probably take longer time.
(d) Runaway youth and juvenile gangs
The PAS(HW)W2 will examine the findings of a study on youth gang and runaway youth, consider recommendations and monitor service provision in the long term.
(e) Co-ordinating Committee for the Welfare of Children and Youth at Risk (CC) and Working Group on Services for Youth at Risk (WG)
To ensure better co-ordination of policies and services for helping young people at risk, SHW and DSW are chairing the CC and the WG on Services for Youth at Risk, respectively. PAS(HW)W2 is providing secretariat support for the CC, and advising SHW on relevant policy matters. He has to ensure that problems identified and corresponding recommendations are brought to the CC for deliberations, and that decisions are properly followed up.
Policy on subvention for non-governmental welfare organisations
5. Subvention to social welfare agency is a substantial, on-going policy subject. We are allocating over $4 billion in subvention per year to over 173 NGOs involving over 20 000 employees. PAS(HW)W2 has the policy responsibility to ensure that the system is run in a cost effective manner.
6. The Administration is working with the subvented sector on a review of the subvention system. PAS(HW) W2 works closely with SWD to ensure that the review progresses as planned, and that any changes will ultimately bring improvement to the quality of services enjoyed by the public. He will also be responsible for preparing submissions to the Executive Council, Legislative Council Panel on Welfare Services and concerned advisory bodies.
Manpower planning of allied health personnel and social workers
7. There is a serious shortfall in the supply of trained social workers at the diploma level and allied health personnel, particularly physiotherapist (PT), clinical psychologist (CP) and occupational therapist (OT). For the former, PAS(HW)W2 works closely with SWD to update the projection, monitor the manpower situation, and liaise with the University Grants Committee and tertiary institutions concerned to enlist their assistance in increasing the supply of trained social workers, and when necessary, to seek resources and process relevant submissions for this purpose. A Working Group on Allied Health Personnel was set up to project the manpower requirement of CPs, PTs and OTs and to formulate immediate and long term strategies. PAS(HW)W2 has to oversee the implementation of various recommendations of the Working Group and to provide secretariat support and policy input to a standing committee to be set up to monitor the long term manpower supply and demand.
8. The Administration introduced a Social Workers Registration Bill to the Legislative Council in June 1996. PAS(HW)W2 needs to liaise closely with the SWD and concerned parties over any transitional arrangements until the registration system is fully operational. Thereafter, he will still be responsible to oversee the implementation of the Bill and the working of the registration system to ensure that public interest is duly protected.
Charitable Funds, and Jockey Club Shopping List
9. HWB co-ordinates applications to the Sir Robert Ho Tung Charitable Fund and the Governors "Shopping List" for the Jockey Club. PAS(HW)W2 is required to screen competing applications for grants from these two funds for various worthwhile community projects; co-ordinate with relevant policy branches to ensure that funds are used in areas that best meet prevailing policy objective, and subsequently monitor progress of projects.
War Memorial Pensions and other pension benefits for war veterans
10. PAS(HW)W2 is responsible for keeping in view the policy on benefits for war veterans and war victims. He represents the SHW on the Hong Kong War Memorial Pensions Advisory Committee, which assesses applications for pension under the Hong Kong War Memorial Pensions Ordinance, Cap. 386. In the course of appeal, he represents SHW to explain Governments position before the Hong Kong War Memorial Pensions Appeal Board. He also oversees the policy of pension awards under the Volunteer and Naval Volunteer Pensions Ordinance, Cap. 202, and implementation of the Free Medical Treatment Scheme for War Victims.
Volunteer and Naval Volunteer Pensions (Amendment) Bill
11. The Volunteer and Naval Volunteer Pensions Ordinance, Cap. 202 provides for, among other things, the award of pension and allowances to veterans of the volunteer and naval volunteer forces who fought in defence of Hong Kong during the Second World War. The criteria and payments are made by reference to a UK law. The Administration has introduced a Bill to remove the reference, and put in place a local scheme. PAS(HW)W2 is responsible for steering this exercise through the administration and the legislative process.
Redistribution of duties among other PASs
12. It would not be feasible to distribute the duties currently carried out by PAS(HW)W2 to the other three AOSGCs (designated as PAS(HW)Elderly Services, the Commissioner of Rehabilitation (C for R) and PAS(HW)1 respectively) in the Welfare division. PAS(HW) Elderly Services is fully tied up with policy issues on the elderly, implementation of all recommendations of the Working Group on Care for the Elderly and a consultancy review on the overall needs of social services for the elderly. C for R has a full schedule in planning, co-ordinating, and monitoring the implementation of a wide range of policy decisions in the White Paper on Rehabilitation to ensure that the needs of people with a disability are adequately met. PAS(HW)W1 is responsible for policy issues on social security, family and child welfare services. The workload for these policy issues has grown significantly in terms of both volume and complexity, due to recent reviews of various social security arrangements, and calls for improvements in family and child welfare services.
13. Having regard to the heavy schedule of each existing directorate officer on the welfare side of HWB and the complexity and long-term policy implications of the work of PAS(HW)W2, it is clear that there is a genuine need to create a permanent AOSGC post to head Welfare Division 2. The duties and responsibilities of the proposed PAS(HW)W2 are set out at Enclosure 1. The existing and proposed organisation chart of HWB is at Enclosure 2.
14. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at mid-point is -
No. of Post
New permanent post
The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salary and staff on-cost, is $2,315,352. We have included sufficient provision in the 1997-98 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.
CIVIL SERVICE BRANCH COMMENTS
15. The grading and ranking of the proposed post are considered appropriate having regard to the complexity and scope of work.
ADVICE OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON DIRECTORATE SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
16. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C would be appropriate if the post were to be created.
Health and Welfare Branch
Enclosure 1 to EC(97-98)3
Proposed duties and responsibilities of Principal Assistant Secretary (Health and Welfare)2 (Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2))
Responsible to Deputy Secretary (Health and Welfare)2 for -
- overseeing policy matters relating to welfare services for youth, particularly for the youth at risk;
- monitoring manpower supply and demand for social workers and allied health personnel in welfare services, and formulating policies to address shortfalls and associated problems;
- overseeing the policy on subvention for non-governmental organisations, particularly with regard to implementation of the consultants recommendations on the introduction of an improved funding mechanism, and handling other related policy issues arising from the consultancy study;
- administering and overseeing various charitable funds and pensions, including the Lotteries Fund, Hong Kong War Memorial Pensions Scheme, Jockey Club Shopping List, Sir Robert Ho Tung Charitable Fund;
- overseeing policy issues relating to pension awards and other benefits for war veterans and victims under the Hong Kong War Memorial Pensions Ordinance, Cap. 386, the Volunteer and Naval Volunteer Pensions Ordinance, Cap. 202 and the Free Medical Treatment Scheme for War Victims; and
- co-ordinating with other welfare divisions of the Branch on compilation of welfare policy documents and submissions.
Last Updated on 12 August 1999