LegCo Paper No. FC 25/96-97
(These minutes have been seen by the administration)
Ref : CB1/F/1/2

Legislative Council Finance Committee

Minutes of the proceedings of the meeting
held on Friday, 1 November 1996
at 2:30 p.m. in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members present :

    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum (Chairman)
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Members absent :

    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing

Public officers attending :

Secretary for the Treasury
Mr Kevin HO, JP
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury
Ms Lorna WONG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare
Mrs Leslie HUNG
Assistant Director of Social Welfare
Assistant Director of Health
Dr Shirley IP
Senior Manager (Service Planning) of the Hospital Authority
Mrs Eliza LEE
Chief Systems Manager of Information Technology Services Department
Mr WONG Shun
Senior Social Work Officer of Social Welfare Department
Mr Roger PARRY
Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services
Mr TSANG Man-ching
Assistant Director of Marine
Mr Matthew K C CHEUNG, JP
Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower
Mr Herman CHO
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower
Secretary-General of the University Grants Committee
Mr Gilbert CHU
Assistant Secretary-General of the University Grants Committee

Clerk in attendance :

Miss Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Staff in attendance :

Mrs Constance LI
Chief Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)
Mr Andy LAU
Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)

The Chairman advised that as agreed at the last Finance Committee (FC) meeting held on 25 October 1996, the Clerk had relayed to the President of the Legislative Council members’ views on the use of Chinese terms for "Ayes" and "Nos" at FC meetings. While the President would like FC to adopt the Chinese terms of and at Committee meetings, the President also advised that in accordance with the Standing Orders, FC could determine its practice and procedures and that of its Subcommittees. As FC members were unanimously of the view that and should be used instead of and , the Chairman advised that starting from this meeting when putting a proposal to vote, he would ask members to say to indicate agreement and to indicate disagreement.

Item No. 1 - FCR(96-97)66
Health and Welfare Branch
New Subhead "Residential Care Services Delivery System for the Elderly"
Subhead 001 Salaries

2. On the benefits to be brought about by the proposed computer system, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (PAS/HW) advised that the system aimed to provide an integrated computerised waitlisting system to bring together applicant information in respect of different types of elderly residential care services. With a single queuing system for applicants, the system would eliminate duplication of applications for the different facilities managed by the Social Welfare Department, the Hospital Authority and the Department of Health. The system would also enable exchange of information among these departments, thus facilitating placement and transfer arrangements. As regards the cost avoidance of $1 million mentioned in the discussion paper, PAS/HW explained that the proposed system would obviate the need to provide additional resources to Department of Health to run its waitlist system for the new nursing homes scheduled to be open next year.

3. In response to members’ concern about the plan to extend the proposed computer network to link up all residential institutions for the elderly, PAS/HW advised that in view of the complexity and high estimated costs of the computer linkage with all residential care institutions, the Government would need to further examine the cost-effectiveness and the feasibility of the proposed extension after the proposed system was put into operation at the end of 1997.


4. Some members queried that the estimated costs of the proposed system appeared to be on the high side. In response, the Chief Systems Manager of Information Technology Services Department (CSM/ITSD) explained that the estimated non-recurrent costs of $7.6 million for implementation were based on known market prices such as the current Government bulk contracts and the Assignment Services Arrangement contract. She assured members that the estimated costs for the project were reasonable having regard to the scale and complexity of the system. On ITSD’s manpower requirements for system implementation, CSM/ITSD clarified that while the vendor would be responsible for system design and development, ITSD staff would provide overall coordination and management of the project including programme development, system testing, and various quality assurance measures. It was estimated that the implementation would entail over 300 computer programmes, processing of 180 different transaction types and generation of some 50 management reports. ITSD staff would continue to provide the necessary technical support including help-desk services to the user departments after the system was put into operation. At the request of the Chairman, CSM/ITSD agreed to provide members with details of the implementation services after the meeting.


5. In response to a member, CSM/ITSD advised that the Intranet system was not capable of meeting the requirements of the proposed system. The design of the proposed system has, nevertheless, taken into account any future requirements for expansion or upgrading. At the request of the member, ITSD would provide further information regarding the feasibility of introducing Intranet facilities in government departments.

6. The proposal was approved by the Committee.

Item No. 2 - FCR(96-97)67
Marine Department
New Subhead "Mirs Bay Vessel Traffic Centre - Equipment"

7. In reply to a member, the Assistant Director of Marine clarified that the existing radar system already covered Hong Kong waters in the New Territories West region, and the proposed equipment was only to extend the existing vessel traffic service to cover also Mirs Bay and the Tolo Harbour.

8. Miss Emily LAU was of the view that the Government should also address the environmental impact arising from the anticipated increase in vessel movements in the region, but the present proposal did not make any reference to the issue. In response, the Administration advised that the environmental impact assessment of the construction of a remote radar station on Peng Chau in Mirs Bay was given in a related paper submitted to FC on 19 July 1996. Concerns over the long-term environmental impact of the increase in vessel traffic would be addressed separately in the forthcoming study on sustainable development for which FC had approved funding on 19 July 1996. Miss LAU remarked that she would not support the present proposal as the Administration had not accorded due priority to tackle the environmental problem given rise by the increased vessel traffic.

9. The proposal was approved by the Committee. Miss Emily LAU was against the proposal.

Item No. 3 - FCR(96-97)65
Capital Subventions
New Subhead "Basic teaching equipment for the Hong Kong Institute of Education"

10. In response to a member’s questions, the Deputy Secretary for Education and Manpower advised that the proposed computing environment for the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) was of advanced technology and was capable of further expansion and upgrading. On the slightly lower ratio of the number of computer terminals to students (1:7) in HKIEd as compared to 1:5 for other existing tertiary education institutions, the Secretary-General of the University Grants Committee (SG/UGC) clarified that generally speaking, science-based institutions would require more computer facilities than those institutions majoring in liberal arts and social sciences subjects. In reply to a member, SG/UGC advised that it was normal practice to provide a setting up grant for new institutions to purchase basic equipment and facilities, and the institutions’ subsequent on-going requirements for equipment and facilities would be considered in the context of recurrent grants. He also confirmed that apart from HKIEd, there was no other request in the pipeline from new UGC-funded institutions for a non-recurrent capital grant for equipment during the period up to 1998.

11. Some members considered that the equipment acquired for the old premises of HKIEd should be re-used as far as possible. In response, SG/UGC advised that all re-usable and serviceable items at its existing campus would be transferred to the new campus. While only about 5% of those old furniture and equipment inherited from the former Colleges of Education would still be serviceable when HKIEd moved to the new campus in Tai Po, almost all of the facilities and equipment purchased since 1994 when HKIEd was established could be transferred to the new campus.

12. The Committee approved the proposal.

13. The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
19 November 1996

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