Provisional Legislative Council
PLC Paper No. ESC 68
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB1/F/3/2
Minutes of the meeting
held at the Legislative Council Chamber
on Thursday, 12 February 1998, at 2:30 p.m.
Members present :
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong (Chairman)
Hon NG Leung-sing (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon Henry WU
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Members absent :
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon CHOY So-yuk
Public officers attending :
Clerk in attendance :
- Mrs Carrie LAM, JP
- Deputy Secretary for the Treasury
- Mr D W PESCOD
- Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service
- Mr CHAU Tak-hay, JP
- Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
- Mrs Jenny WALLIS
- Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
- Mr K C LAU
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Works
- Mr P L KWAN
- Deputy Director of Architectural Services
- Mr M Y CHENG
- Assistant Director of Education
- Miss CHEUNG Siu-hing
- Deputy Secretary for Trade and Industry
- Mr Bobby CHENG
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Trade and Industry
- Mr Esmond LEE
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (Lands)
- Mr MAK Ka-wai
- Assistant Secretary for Works
- Mr J S CORRIGALL, JP
- Principal Government Land Agent, Lands Department
- Mr S H MAK
- Chief Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering Department
- Mr Benjamin TANG, JP
- Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
- Mr Richard LUK
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (Urban Renewal)
- Ms Cecilia YEN
- Assistant Director of Administration
- Mr S Y CHAN, JP
- Director of Legal Aid
- Ms Lolly CHIU, JP
- Policy and Administration Coordinator, Legal Aid Department
- Ms K Y CHANG
- Deputy Secretary for Security
- Mr K P MAK, JP
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Security
- Mr TSANG Kwong-yu, JP
- Deputy Director of Fire Services
- Mr CHU Man-chun
- Chief Fire Officer (Protection), Fire Services Department
- Mr LAM Chun-man, JP
- Chief Fire Officer (New Territories), Fire Services Department
- Mrs Stella HUNG, JP
- Deputy Secretary for Works
- Mr Ian WINGFIELD, JP
- Law Officer (Civil Law)
- Mrs May TAM
- Legal Adviser, New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office
- Mr Stephen LAM, JP
- Director of Administration and Development, Department of Justice
- Mr Peter H K CHEUNG, JP
- Deputy Director (Administration), Department of Justice
- Mr Harry MACLEOD
- Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Department of Justice
- Mr Andrew R WELLS, JP
- Deputy Secretary for Housing
- Mr TIN Hon-wai
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing
- Mr Tony J A MILLER, JP
- Director of Housing
- Miss Jennifer MAK
- Director Corporate Services, Housing Department
- Mr YUEN Tze-chu
- Business Director/Development, Housing Department
- Mr E A JOHNSON
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services
- Dr H K LAM, JP
- Director of the Hong Kong Observatory
- Mr K H YEUNG
- Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory
- Mr Johnny H K CHAN
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (5)
- Mr LEUNG Kwok-sun, JP
- Director of Highways
- Mr R H LLOYD, JP
- Project Manager/Airport and Port Access, Highways Department
- Mr Davey CHUNG
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (2)
- Mr R G HARDING, JP
- Government Land Agent, Lands Department
- Mr Patrick W M CHIM
- Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury
- Mr Stephen MAK, JP
- Assistant Director (Department Services)1, Information Technology Services Department
- Mrs Rosanna MAK
- Assistant Director (Departmental Services)2, Information Technology Services Department
- Mr Herman CHO
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower
- Mr LEE Kai-fat, JP
- Deputy Commissioner for Labour
- Dr LEUNG Lai-man
- Occupational Health Consultant, Labour Department
- Ms LEUNG Siu-kum
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)2
Staff in attendance :
- Ms Pauline NG
- Assistant Secretary General 1
- Ms Anita SIT
- Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8
Proposed retention of a supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2) for a period of two years with effect from 18 March 1998 in the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau of the Government Secretariat to formulate and monitor the implementation of recreation and sports policy
The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of a supernumerary post of Chief Architect (D1) in the Architectural Services Department to cope with the scale and complexity of the additional works brought about by the School Improvement Programme
2. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of a supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2) in the Government Secretariat : Trade and Industry Bureau for a period of two years from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 2000 to provide administrative and executive support to the work of the Committee on Technology and Innovation
3. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of a supernumerary post of Chief Geotechnical Engineer (D1) for a period of two years with effect from 1 April 1998 in Lands Department to head a new Slope Maintenance Unit
4. While members generally agreed to the need for the proposed Chief Geotechnical Engineer post to lead a new Slope Maintenance Unit in the Lands Department (LD), some expressed concern about the overall co-ordination and cost-effectiveness of the present arrangement of dividing the maintenance responsibility of government man-made slopes among different departments.
5. On the division of responsibilities on slope safety within the Administration, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (Lands) (PAS/PEL(L)) advised that the Works Bureau was responsible for the policies on slope safety while the Civil Engineering Department (CED) was responsible for registering all major man-made slopes and establishing the general standards and practices for slope maintenance. According to CED's survey, there were about 60 000 man-made slopes requiring regular maintenance in the territory, of which the Government was responsible for some 40 000 while the others were located on private land. The maintenance responsibility for Government slopes was allocated to various departments in line with the "owner-maintains" and the "beneficiary-maintains" principles. CED was responsible for the upgrading but not maintenance of geotechnically difficult slopes, while all Government slopes would have to be taken up for maintenance by the maintenance departments according to the above principles. Those which were identified as not clearly falling within the responsibility of a particular department would have to be taken up by LD. Based on an estimated total of 60 000 man-made slopes in the territory, LD would be required to maintain a total of about 8 000 slopes.
6. In response to the Administration's reply, Mr Henry WU questioned if it was the most cost-effectiveness arrangement as various departments were engaging their own consultants and contractors for the slope maintenance works. This might result in duplication of efforts. PAS/PEL(L) responded that given the large number of Government slopes, it was not feasible to assign the maintenance responsibility for all these slopes to any single department. Instead, allocating slopes to various departments with their respective expertise would facilitate better management of the slope maintenance works and avoid overburdening any particular departments. Dr Raymond HO agreed with the Administration's approach, and remarked that it was appropriate for the geotechnical experts in CED to concentrate on the complicated slopes while the less complicated ones could be handled by the works professionals in other departments or by engaging outside consultants. Besides, as those slopes allocated to a department were usually related to certain works or facilities under its area of responsibilities, the department could, where feasible, incorporate the slope maintenance works into the works projects pertinent to its facilities.
7. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed retention of a supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2) up to 31 December 1999 in the Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau of the Government Secretariat to cope with the heavy workload associated with the new initiatives for urban renewal and to assist the Land Development Corporation in expediting its urban renewal projects
8. .The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of a permanent post of Deputy Principal Legal Aid Counsel (DL2) in the Legal Aid Department to handle the increasing volume and complexity in legal aid cases
9. Mr Henry WU expressed reservation on the proposal, commenting that there were grossly insufficient justifications for the Deputy Principal Legal Aid Counsel (DPLAC) post in terms of workload. He pointed out that although the respective numbers of legal aid applications and certificates granted had increased over the five-year period from 1992 to 1996, the caseload in fact fluctuated year from year. In addition, the workload in respect of personal injury litigation, family litigation and insolvency, costing and enforcement litigation from 1992 to 1995 did not reveal an apparent increase trend over the years. As such, there was no reason to believe that the workload would increase or remain at a high level in future.
10. The Director of Legal Aid (DLA) responded that apart from the increase in the number of legal aid cases, there was also growing complexity of these cases due to the social and political development in Hong Kong. It was the department's policy to assign cases involving medical negligence and cases approved under the Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme, which were usually the more complicated ones, to in-house counsel. The numbers of legal aid certificates granted for these two types of cases were as follows-
Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme
|11. DLA further advised that with the growing complexity of the cases handled, there required a high level of expertise and often the personal attention of senior directorate counsel. Despite the increase in the number of junior counsel in past years, there had been no increase in directorate posts in the Legal Aid Department since 1989. The Department therefore needed an additional DPLAC to handle the increasing volume and complexity in legal aid cases. At members request, DLA agreed to provide additional information on the above quoted categories of litigation cases and the increase in legal staff after the meeting.
12. In reply to a member's enquiry, DLA advised that in deciding whether a case should be assigned in-house or briefed out, consideration would be given to the preference of the legal aid applicant, availability of in-house resources, whether public interest was involved, and whether judicial review was requested by the applicant. Cases involving public interest would usually be assigned in-house subject to the workload and capacity of the Department, while cases involving judicial review would usually be briefed out to avoid a conflict of interests.
13. As regards the legal fees for briefed-out cases, DLA advised that for criminal cases, the DPLAC of the Criminal Section would decide on the charging rate according to the schedule of fees stipulated in the Legal Aid in Criminal Cases Rules. As for legal fees for civil cases, the market rate would be applied but in the event of dispute, the fees would be determined by the taxing master.
14. On the need to strengthen supervision to junior counsel, DLA explained that the average number of years of professional experience in the Legal Aid Counsel rank had dropped from seven years in 1994 to four years in 1997. Although the senior directorate had responsibility for providing guidance and training to less experienced counsel, at present, the Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel, ranked at DL1, of individual sections were themselves fully engaged in a number of complicated litigation cases and thus could not spare time to provide training and supervision. On the other hand, the existing DPLAC of the Litigation Division had to spend about 92% of her time on handling criminal cases. An additional DPLAC was therefore required to ensure proper supervision and training to less experienced staff. He also advised that it was usually the Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel of the section concerned who would make a professional judgement on the level of legal expertise required for a case. Occasionally, for staff development purposes, complicated cases would be assigned to junior counsel with close supervision by the senior directorate in the course of litigation.
15. On the level of professional experience required for the proposed DPLAC post, DLA advised that the future incumbent should at least possess 12 years of professional experience. He confirmed that the future incumbent for the post had not been identified, and the present intention was to fill the post by internal promotion.
16. The item was voted on and endorsed. Mr Henry WU expressed reservation on the proposal on account of the lack of proof for the future workload of the department.
Proposed creation of two supernumerary posts of one Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (PPS 57) and one Senior Principal Executive Officer (D2) in the Security Bureau of the Government Secretariat up to 31 March 2001 to facilitate the secondment of suitable officers to the Aviation Security Company Limited
17. On the availability of expertise in airport security in the Police Force, Deputy Secretary for Security (DS/S) advised that at present, access control duties and law enforcement at the Kai Tak Airport apron and passenger terminal was taken charge of by Government disciplinary forces. The private company jointly engaged by the airlines was only responsible for the x-ray screening of passengers and baggage. Having regard to the lack of relevant expertise in the market, the Administration acceded to the Airport Authority's request for secondment of senior officers experienced in airport security management and enforcement to the Aviation Security Company Limited (AVSECO).
18. As to the duration of the secondment, DS/S advised that the situation would be reviewed after two years to determine if AVSECO had accumulated sufficient experience and thus the posts of General Manager and Deputy Manager could be filled by internal promotion or open recruitment.
19. As regards the monitoring of the company's performance, DS/S advised that AVSECO, being a registered company, needed to abide by the Companies Ordinance. In addition, AVSECO was required to meet the standards and follow the guidelines stipulated under the Aviation Security Ordinance and the Hong Kong Aviation Security Programme in the provision of security services at the new airport. As regards financial monitoring, AVSECO needed to meet the financial reporting requirements under the Companies Ordinance as well as its parent company, the Airport Authority. Furthermore, the Administration would appoint senior Government officials responsible for aviation security and civil aviation to sit on the AVSECO's board of directors.
20. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of two permanent posts of Deputy Chief Fire Officer (GDS(C)1) in the Fire Services Department with effect from 1 April 1998 to implement the major policy initiative on fire safety improvement and to cope with the rapid development in south-western part of the New Territories and the Lantau areas
21. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of three permanent posts of one Principal Government Counsel (DL3) and two Deputy Principal Government Counsel (DL2) in the Works Bureau of the Government Secretariat offset by the deletion of a permanent post of Deputy Principal Government Counsel (DL2) in the Department of Justice to head a Legal Adviser's Division
22. Mr Henry WU expressed disagreement to the proposal, commenting that the existing arrangement in establishing legal support in Works Bureau (WB) for dispute resolution for Airport Core Programme (ACP) projects might not be readily applicable to non-ACP public works projects. The ACP projects were unique in that they involved huge project sums and were subject to a very tight and strict schedule. These characteristics were not common in other public works projects. Besides, the experience gained in ACP projects should lead to improvements in contract terms and thus reduction in contract disputes in future non-ACP projects. The reasons given by the Administration that there would be an increase in the number of construction disputes therefore could not justify the proposal. He was also concerned that the proposal would set a precedent for other bureaux and departments to seek setting up a similar legal advisory unit of their own.
23. In response, the Administration advised that the purpose of the present proposal was to improve the organisational structure, rather than to increase posts as such. The staff concerned were already undertaking the same responsibilities, except that they were currently placed under the establishment of different units in the Department of Justice (DJ) and the New Airport Coordination office (NAPCO). The Deputy Secretary for Works further explained that a review of the NAPCO experience confirmed the arrangement in ACP projects cost-effective and that it should be applied to non-ACP projects. The arrangement under the present proposal could enable the counsel to get involved in the earliest possible stage of the projects and to work closely with the works professionals. The advantages would be the improvement in contract drafting thereby reducing the opportunities for disputes to arise, and the improvement in the dispute resolution procedures would in the long run reduce the cost involved in the resolution process. The placement of dedicated legal staff in WB would contribute to the development of a local pool of expertise both in construction and legal aspects. In anticipating the public infrastructure projects planned to commence in the coming four to five years which cost more than $135 billion, the Administration should develop its own expertise by improving the coordination between the legal support and the works professionals.
24. In response to the above advice, Mr Henry WU pointed out the development of local expertise did not require the counsel dealing with works contracts to be placed under the establishment of WB. He maintained that the future dispute resolution work might not be consistently heavy as expected and there would not be any flexibility in the deployment of resources to cope with fluctuating workload. If the counsels remained in DJ, they could take up other areas of work during low periods. While appreciating the benefits of the proposed restructuring, Mr IP Kwok-him shared the view that legal input in the early stage of negotiating contract terms should result in fewer disputes and thus reduced the workload on dispute resolution. He noted that a separate paper to be considered by the Subcommittee at this meeting proposed the creation of a permanent Deputy Principal Government Counsel post. While there might be justification to support the creation of the this DL2 post, members would be led to think that the restructuring exercise was another means to create new posts in DJ. He also reminded the Administration not to propose staff increases on the assumption that there would be enormous claims in non-ACP-projects.
25. In response, the Law Officer (Civil Law) (LO(CL)) advised that the counsel of the proposed Legal Advisor's Division (LAD) in WB would be providing overall legal services to the whole of WB and the Works Group of Departments. Apart from litigation and dispute resolution work, they would also be involved in the drafting of contracts for particular projects, and this area of work would continue irrespective of whether there were disputes or not. Although the involvement of counsel in the negotiation of contract terms and in claims settlement at the earliest possible stage could help reduce disputes, some types of disputes were unavoidable even if timely and adequate legal advice had been given during the drafting of the contracts. The present proposal was to enable the counsel to get involved at the earliest possible stage to avoid the development of disputes into entrenched and costly litigation process.
26. As to whether the proposed restructuring would set a precedent for other bureaux and departments for setting up a similar legal advisory unit of their own, LO(CL) advised that the precedent was already set with the creation of NAPCO's Legal Advisor's Division in 1991. The proposed LAD in WB was considered appropriate and viable because the scale of Government's committed works programme was substantial enough to justify a unit of this size and would require the same level of expertise and services as NAPCO in the past years. So far, there were no other bureaux and departments which had a similar level of requirement for legal services. He also advised that although the government counsel posts were subsumed under WB's establishment, the counsel would remain in the Government Counsel grade and be responsible to the Secretary for Justice through LO(CL).
27. Dr Raymond HO expressed his support for the proposal, commenting that the proposed dedicated unit in WB could contribute to improvements in time, cost and quality of project works. This was also welcomed by the construction industry. He considered that NAPCO had efficiently handled the eight government ACP projects by giving adequate legal input in laying down contract terms and by resolving disputes at the early stage by way of mediation, thus avoiding timely and costly arbitration and litigation process. He remarked that resolving disputes at an early stage was important for maintaining good working relationship between Government and contractors and in turn could ensure high quality of project works. He pointed out that one underlying principle of the proposed restructuring was to enable professionals of different disciplines to come under the same roof to achieve the same objectives. Arrangements based on the same principle were also adopted by other departments, such as the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department in its out-posting of staff to client departments on a project basis, and the setting up of multi-disciplinary teams by Lands Department for new town development projects. In reply to his enquiry, LO(CL) advised that the Administration had been examining the restructuring for two years and considered that given the proven experience in NAPCO and the various major public works projects in the pipeline, it was now opportune to put up the proposal.
28. The item was voted on and endorsed. Mr Henry WU objected to the proposal.
Proposed creation of a permanent post of Deputy Principal Government Counsel (DL2) from 1 April 1998 and a supernumerary post of Deputy Principal Government Counsel (DL2) up to 31 March 2000 in the Department of Justice to meet increasing demands for translation of legal documents and to cope with increasing workload in the Civil Litigation Unit of the Civil Division
29. In reply to a member on the work of Debt Collection Sub-Unit (DCU) under the Civil Litigation Unit (CLU), LO(CL) advised that the debts to be collected by the DCU were statutory debts. Rates and stamp duty were the categories constituting the greatest portions. As regards claims, they were mostly financial debts. Such claims did not include indemnity sought by the Government against contractors.
30. On the level of experience of counsel in the CLU, LO(CL) advised that out of the 30 counsel in the unit, 11 had less than six months service in the department.
31. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed retention of a Consultant (DL2) position for the period from 1 July 1998 to 17 August 1999 in the Prosecutions Division of the Department of Justice
32. In reply to members, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Department of Justice, advised that in principle, the Government could apply to the court for recovery of legal costs if the accused was convinced of an offence. Whether the Government would be awarded with costs depended on the discretion of the court.
33. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of a permanent post of Chief Engineer (D1) in the Housing Bureau of the Government Secretariat to strengthen the capability to monitor the provision of housing sites and flat production and to deal with associated problems
|34. Addressing a member's concern about the fast expansion of the Housing Bureau (HB) over the past few years, the Deputy Secretary for Housing (DS/H) advised that given only a limited number of staff in the initial set-up in 1994, HB needed to strengthen its capacity in these few years to cope with the continual increase in responsibilities and volume of work arising from the Government's long-term housing programme. The eight posts created in 1997-98 were for the setting up of the Housing Strategy Unit, while six new non-directorate posts had been proposed for creation in 1998-99. He undertook to provide members in writing with information on the number of posts increased for meeting the target of producing 85 000 flats per annum.
35. On the monitoring of public and private housing projects, DS/H advised that at present, there were about 940 approved housing sites on the control list. HB, in conjunction with three other departments would monitor the housing projects in an eight-year flat production programme. Although the total number of housing projects on the control list fluctuated from year to year, the overall trend was on the increase. Responding to a member's enquiry, he advised that the withholding of some housing projects by private developers had not significantly affected the total housing production as over half of this was generated by public housing projects and the medium term production estimates for private sector housing were also unaffected.
36. The item was voted on and endorsed.
(a) re-organisation of the Housing Department;
(b) creation of a supernumerary post of Assistant Director of Housing (D2) for a period of two years; and
(c) creation of a permanent post of Chief Architect (D1) and two supernumerary posts of Chief Architect (D1) for a period of three years
to meet the changes and challenges in the light of the rapid and continued expansion of the public housing sector
37. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed retention of a supernumerary post of Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory (D2) for a period of one year with effect from 1 April 1998 to ensure the smooth operation of meteorological facilities and provision of efficient services for the new Hong Kong International Airport
38. In reply to a member's enquiry about the duties of the Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, the Director of the Hong Kong Observatory (D/HKO) advised that at the policy level, the Assistant Director needed to co-ordinate with the Airport Authority and the bureaux and departments concerned on the timely provision of meteorological facilities and services. At the operational level, the incumbent needed to have a very good understanding of the technical issues and would take the lead in solving the technical problems that arose when the new airport came into operation. D/HKO further advised that the proposed one year extension should be adequate for establishing the systems and procedures for the smooth operation of the meteorological facilities for the new airport, but the situation would be reviewed nearer the time to see if further extension was required.
39. Regarding the coordination with the meteorological services in the Mainland, D/HKO advised that unlike Hong Kong, general meteorological services and aviation meteorological services in the Mainland were taken charge of by two different authorities. The Hong Kong Observatory needed to maintain contacts with both authorities, and presently the existing two Assistant Directors was responsible for the liaison with the respective Mainland authorities. He confirmed that coordination with the aviation meteorological division of the Civil Aviation Administration of China started a few years ago when new international airports commissioned around the Zhu Jiang estuary. The liaison with these offices in the Mainland was increasing and required input at the directorate level.
40. The item was voted on and endorsed.
(a) creation of six permanent posts of one Principal Government Engineer (D3), one Government Engineer (D2), and four Chief Engineer (D1) in the Highways Department for project management duties for major highways projects; and
(b) retention of a supernumerary post of Chief Engineer (D1) up to 31 March 1999 to oversee and manage the Route 3 Country Park Section project until its completion
41. A member enquired if the purpose of creating the proposed new posts was to accommodate those staff presently occupying supernumerary posts for the ACP highway projects which were due to lapse soon. The Director of Highways (DHy) advised that the purpose of the proposed posts were not to accommodate these staff as such; they were required for the preliminary investigation and study works for the new highway projects announced by the Chief Executive in his Policy Address. He explained that Highways Department (HyD) had a dedicated team responsible for the airport access highways projects but the team had started running down since last year. The officers now remaining were handling the post-contract matters including resolution of claims in respect of these projects, and most of the work could probably finish by March 1998. On another front, the new major highway projects, which together amounted to $65 billion at 1996 prices, needed to be taken forward in the coming few years. The department found it most appropriate to retain the expertise of the ACP projects and deploy the concerned staff for the feasibility studies and preliminary investigation for the new projects. He assured that the workload would be more than adequate to justify the new posts and in fact more posts would need to be created in the coming years as the projects progressed.
42. Noting that the concerned projects had already been discussed at the Transport Panel, a member expressed his support to the proposed posts for the announced major highway projects. He enquired if the mode of operation for these projects would follow that of the Lantau Link and whether the Major Works Project Management Office (MWPMO), which was expected to expand in future with 300 staff at the peak level, would become a government department in future. DHy advised that there was no intention to set up a new department specifically for the new highway projects. The existing two offices in HyD for the ACP projects, which together had nearly 200 Government officers, were now gradually disbanded and the staff concerned would be deployed to the restructured MWPMO with some to other offices. He also confirmed that the Sham Tseng Link would form part of the Route 10 project, and due to the anticipated complexity of the project, which included another long span suspension bridge, an additional D3 post would be proposed in future to manage this project.
43. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of a supernumerary post of Chief Estate Surveyor (D1) for a period of four years and three months with effect from 1 April 1998 in Lands Department to handle the increasing workload in the Railway Development Section
44. With regard to the 202 objections to the gazetted full alignment of Phase I of the West Rail, the Government Land Agent, Lands Department advised that the Secretary for Transport would appoint an independent panel to hold public hearings to consider all unwithdrawn objections. Eventually, the scheme would be put to the Executive Council for a decision by September 1998.
45. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of two supernumerary posts of one Chief System Manager (D1) for a period of two years and one Chief System Manager (D1) for a period of three years in Information Technology Services Department to co-ordinate the overall planning and management of the computerisation projects
46. The item was voted on and endorsed.
Proposed creation of a permanent post of Consultant (D2-D4) with effect from 1 April 1998 in the Labour Department to meet the increasing demand for occupational health services
47. In reply to a member's enquiry about the work priorities of the Labour Department (LD) on occupational safety and health, the Deputy Commissioner for Labour (DC/L) advised that the Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Council would work together to develop specific guidance materials for various industries. Priority would be accorded to those industries where employees were subject to a higher risk of chemical and physical hazards. On drawing up the guidelines and codes of practice, reference would be made to overseas experience. At the same time, medical professionals and relevant trades and industries would be widely consulted. On the publicity side, the Department would enlist the support of corporations and trade associations to launch a "Good health is good business" campaign.
48. Responding to a member's question on the secondment of staff from the Department of Health to the Labour Department for occupational health services, DC/L advised that the secondment arrangement started in 1979, and at present, there were 27 such seconded staff in LD, comprising one Consultant and 26 non-directorate officers. Proposals would be made to transfer these 27 posts to the establishment of LD.
49. Regarding the pay scale and promotion ratio in respect of the Consultant post, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury advised that within the Consultant rank, officers could progress from D2 to D4 based on seniority and performance, provided that the ratio of Consultants on D2 to those on D3 and D4 was maintained at 6:3:2. The arrangement aimed at providing reasonable promotion prospects for Consultants given the lack of senior management posts for further promotion of Consultants.
50. The item was voted on and endorsed.
51. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 4:40 pm.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
17 March 1998