For discussion FCR(96-97)62
on 25 October 1996
ITEM FOR FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 177 - SUBVENTIONS : NON-DEPARTMENTAL PUBLIC BODIES
New Recurrent Account Subhead "Legal Aid Services Council"
HEAD 46 - GENERAL EXPENSES OF THE CIVIL SERVICE
New Recurrent Account Subhead "Recoverable salaries and allowances (Legal Aid Services Council)"
Members are invited to approve the creation of -
- a new recurrent account subhead "Legal Aid Services Council" under Head 177 Subventions: Non-departmental Public Bodies; and
- a new recurrent account subhead "Recoverable salaries and allowances (Legal Aid Services Council)" under Head 46 General Expenses of the Civil Service.
We need to make arrangements for funding the Legal Aid Services Council (LASC).
2. The Director of Administration (D of Adm) is of the view that the LASC should receive full and direct subvention from the Government. For this purpose, we propose to create a new recurrent account subhead under Head 177 Subventions : Non-departmental Public Bodies for subventing the LASC. D of Adm will be the Controlling Officer of this proposed subhead.
3. Pending the recruitment of its own staff, the LASC Secretariat will be staffed by civil servants on secondment. The LASC will reimburse Government for the full staff costs, including on-costs. For this purpose, we propose to create a new recurrent account subhead "Recoverable salaries and allowances (Legal Aid Services Council)" under Head 46 General Expenses of the Civil Service. D of Adm will also be the Controlling Officer of this proposed subhead.
4.The Legal Aid Services Council Ordinance, enacted in May 1996, provides for the establishment of an independent LASC. The main functions of the LASC are to oversee the provision of legal aid services by the Legal Aid Department and to advise the Governor on legal aid policy. A list of its main functions as set out in the Ordinance is at the Enclosure. The LASC was formally established in September, following the appointment of a Chairman and eight other members. The Director of Legal Aid is an ex-officio member of the LASC.
5. Since the LASC relies on the Government for funding support, we need to create a subvention subhead for providing funds to the LASC to cover the Councils general expenses including office rental, salaries and allowances.
6. D of Adm estimates that the LASC will initially require a seven-strong Secretariat, comprising a Chief Executive Officer, an Executive Officer I, two Clerical Officers, two secretarial staff and one Office Assistant. proposed staffing structure of the Secretariat is at Enclosure II.
7. Pending the recruitment of its own staff, civil servants will be seconded to the Secretariat. In line with established practice, the LASC will reimburse Government for the full staff costs of the seconded staff. We therefore need to create a subhead to provide for the creation of posts for the secondment and for the reimbursement to the Government.
8. D of Adm estimates that the annual expenditure of the LASC (including its Secretariat) will be around $4.38 million and hence proposes that this should be the amount of annual Government subvention to the LASC. The estimated expenditure comprises the following -
Salaries and allowances
General expenses (including office rental)
9. D of Adm estimates that for the remainder of 1996-97, the LASC will require $1.82 million. We have included sufficient provision for this in the 1996-97 Estimates under Additional Commitments. Subject to Members approval of the creation of the subvention subhead for the LASC under Head 177 Subventions: Non-departmental Public Bodies, we shall provide the necessary supplementary provision in 1996-97 under delegated authority and include sufficient provision in the 1997-98 draft Estimates.
10. In addition, the LASC will require setting up costs of $2.56 million for fitting out its office premises and procurement of office furniture and equipment. If Members approve the creation of the new recurrent account subventions subhead for the LASC, we will create, under delegated authority, a new capital account commitment of $2.56 million for this purpose.
Chief Secretarys Office
Enclosure to FCR(96-97)62
Responsibilities of the Legal Aid Services Council (LASC)
The main functions of the LASC are as follows -
- to oversee the administration of legal aid services provided by the Legal Aid Department (LAD). In discharging this responsibility, the Council may -
- formulate policies governing the provision of services by the LAD and give advice on its policy direction;
- review the work of the LAD and make arrangements for the efficient and economical discharge of its functions and its provision of legal aid services;
- keep under review the services provided by the LAD and the Departments plans for development; and
- consider and advise on the estimates of expenditure of the LAD;
- to advise the Government on policies concerning publicly funded legal aid services provided by LAD; and in fulfilling this role, the LASC shall advise on -
- the eligibility criteria, scope of services, mode of service delivery, future plans for improvements, funding requirements and future development of legal aid policy;
- the feasibility and desirability of the establishment of an independent legal aid authority; and
- any other aspect of legal aid which the Governor may refer to the LASC.
2. The LASC shall not have the power to direct LAD on staff matters and the handling of individual cases.
Last Updated on 5 August 1999