ON 27 JANUARY 1997
Secondment of a Civil Servant to
the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers (SARDA)


The purpose of this note is to brief Members of the reasons for the long term secondment of a civil servant to fill the post of Executive Director in SARDA.


2. SARDA has been unable to find a suitable candidate to fill its post of Executive Director from past recruitment exercises. Consequently and at the request of SARDA, a civil servant at the rank of Principal Executive Officer (PEO) has been seconded to fill this post on a supernumerary basis. At the Establishment Sub-Committee Meeting (ESC) held on 6 November 1996, Members supported the continuation of the secondment arrangement with an understanding that it should cease if SARDA is able to recruit an Executive Director in the forthcoming recruitment exercise.

Recruitment difficulties faced by SARDA in filling the post of Executive Director

3. The Executive Director is responsible to the Chairman and Executive Committee of SARDA for advice on policy formulation, general administration, staff management, financial control, co-ordination of operation and implementation of policy decisions. In view of the importance of this post, SARDA has been careful in choosing the right candidate to fill the post. The said candidate should possess extensive senior administrative experience, strong leadership abilities, and a pro-active and inquiring approach towards effective achievement of service targets.

4. SARDA had tried to recruit its own Executive Director on three occasions -

1982 - 15 applicants responded to the advertisement. Four were shortlisted for interview but none was found suitable.

1993 - 40 applicants responded and five were shortlisted for selection interview. However, two turned up for interview but neither candidate was considered suitable.

1994 - 33 applicants responded and five were shortlisted for selection interview. One candidate was recommended for appointment but he subsequently declined the offer of appointment.

5. SARDA did not launch any recruitment exercises in 1995 and 1996 because it wanted to retain the secondee to provide the necessary continuity and leadership for overseeing various proposals which are in their crucial stage of implementation and development.

6. It is difficult to pinpoint specific reasons for the lack of suitable candidates in previous recruitment exercises. Factors such as the limited promotion prospect and the nature of drug rehabilitation work could have contributed. The stated preference in the advertisement for candidates with experience in the drug treatment and rehabilitation field might also have limited the number of prospective candidates, having regard to the fact there are relatively few drug treatment and rehabilitation agencies in Hong Kong. In view of this, SARDA has been asked to delete this preference requirement for the coming recruitment exercise.

7. The above-mentioned factors were explained to the ESC at its meeting held on 6 November 1996. Members of the ESC supported the proposal to delete the requirement concerning experience in drug treatment and rehabilitation, as the post required the incumbent to possess strong administrative/leadership skills more than experience in the drug field.

Future Direction

8. There is as yet no suitable officer from within SARDA who is ready to fill the post. It is SARDA's aim to recruit its own Executive Director. The post was advertised in the press in December 1996. By the close of the application period on 3 January 1997, 40 applications were received. Shortlisting of applications is being carried out by SARDA. The Department of Health and the Narcotics Division of Security Branch are monitoring the situation closely.


9. Mr S.S. Dillon, Principal Assistant Secretary (Civil Service)4 is responsible for the subject matter. He may be contacted on telephone number 2810 3567.

Civil Service Branch
Division 4
January 1997

Last Updated on 21 August 1998