For discussion FCR(96-97)72on 29 November 1996
ITEM FOR FINANCE COMMITTEE
FINANCE COMMITTEE PROCEDURES
Members are invited to approve the proposed changes to the existing Finance Committee Procedures (the Procedures) for adoption with immediate effect.
The Procedures currently used by the Finance Committee (FC) were adopted in October 1994. Changes have taken place since then in the way the Legislative Council and its committees conduct their business. It is therefore necessary to amend the Procedures to ensure consistency with the Standing Orders and practices of the Legislative Council.
2. Apart from some textual amendments and re-arrangement of paragraphs to enhance clarity and presentation, the proposed changes to the Procedures also include the following:
- the abolition of ex-officio membership for FC in October 1995;
- the provision of clearer guidelines on the arrangements for the election of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of FC;
- the inclusion of more specific requirements in respect of the notice of agenda items;
- the removal of ambiguity on FCs powers to specify terms and conditions in respect of proposals in relation to the Capital Investment Fund; and
- the provision of clearer guidelines on adjournment of FC proceedings.
3. The revised Procedures, as set out in the Enclosure, will take immediate effect upon endorsement by the Committee. Subject to members endorsement of the Procedures, suitable amendments to the Procedures for the Establishment Subcommittee (ESC) and the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSC) will be proposed.
4. Following a review of the procedures of FC and its two subcommittees in summer this year, the Legislative Council Secretariat has identified a number of changes that should be made to the Procedures. The proposed changes were discussed by the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of FC, ESC and PWSC at a meeting on 25 October 1996. At the meeting, the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen agreed on the following:
- With the abolition of ex-officio membership of the Legislative Council in October 1995, the Chief Secretary and the Financial Secretary ceased to be members of the FC at the same time. Reference to the ex-officio members of FC should therefore be deleted from the Procedures.
- The procedure on the election of Chairman and Deputy Chairman should be amended to enable the election of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of FC to be held at an open meeting, pursuant to FCs decision on 3 October 1994, and to specify more clearly the timing for the election and who are entitled to vote. The arrangement should be consistent with the election procedures endorsed by the House Committee and adopted by other committees of the Council since October 1995.
- The original Rule 26 should be amended to reflect FCs powers to specify terms and conditions for approvals in relation to the Capital Investment Fund. The wording should be consistent with paragraph 5 of the Resolution of the Legislative Council passed on 14 March 1990 concerning the Capital Investment Fund.
- A new paragraph should be incorporated in the Procedures specifying that the Financial Secretary, the Secretary for the Treasury and the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury, being public officers designated by the Governor, may propose agenda items for the FC in order to reflect arrangements within the Administration made under Standing Order 4B (2).
5. On the procedure to adjourn the proceedings of FC, the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen consider that the procedure set out in Standing Order 30(4) should be adapted for application if a member should wish to move a motion to adjourn discussion on a proposal. They are aware that Standing Order 30(1) may apply to FC proceedings by virtue of Standing Order 32A, but they consider that, in the context of FC proceedings, for which members will have been given adequate opportunities to ask for additional information and at which members discuss and vote on proposals, it would not be unreasonable to put a proposal to vote after all members who wish to speak on the proposal have spoken. The moving of a motion to adjourn discussion on a proposal and to proceed to the next item without having to decide on the proposal would therefore be unfair to both members and the Administration. They propose that if members are not prepared to support a proposal due to, for instance, insufficient information provided, members could vote against the proposal. Against this background, the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen consider that if the majority of members attending find it appropriate to adjourn the discussion of a proposal, it should be taken that members have accepted the consequence that the entire proceedings would have to be adjourned and all items not dealt with would be carried over to the next meeting, or if the Chairman so directs, to a special meeting.
6. The Chairmen therefore agree that they will only permit the moving of a motion without notice to adjourn proceedings in accordance with Standing Order 30(4) at FC/ESC/PWSC meetings.
7. This proposal does not involve any financial implications.
Legislative Council Secretariat
Last Updated on 5 August 1999