Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. ESC 74
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/F/3/2

Minutes of the meeting
held at the Legislative Council Chamber
on Wednesday, 25 March 1998, at 10:45 am

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
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon TSANG Yok-sing
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun, JP
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon CHOY So-yuk

Member attending :

Hon MOK Ying-fan

Members absent :

Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, JP
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon HUI Yin-fat, JP
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam

Public officers attending :

Mrs Carrie LAM, JP
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury

Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service

Mr Rafael HUI, JP
Secretary for Financial Services

Mrs Pamela TAN, JP
Director, Mandatory Provident Fund Office

Mr Stephen PANG
Principal Executive Officer/Administration & Planning, Mandatory Provident Fund Office

Secretary for the Treasury

Secretary for Economic Services

Mr Paul TANG, JP
Deputy Director of Administration

Mrs Jenny WALLIS
Deputy Secretary for Broadcasting, Culture and Sport

Mr Peter LO, JP
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs

Principal Executive Officer (Administration), Administration Wing

Mr Raymond WONG, JP
Deputy Secretary for Security

Mr TSANG Yam-pui
Deputy Commissioner of Police

Secretary for Justice

Deputy Director (Administration), Department of Justice

Ms Esther LEUNG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower

Deputy Commissioner for Labour

Clerk in attendance :

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

EC(97-98)85 Proposed retention of four supernumerary posts of one Administrative Officer Staff Grade B1 (D4), one Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2), one Assistant Commissioner of Insurance (D2), and one Principal Executive Officer (D1) in the Financial Services Bureau of the Government Secretariat from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 1999 to prepare for the launching of the Mandatory Provident Fund System

The item was voted on and endorsed.

EC(97-98)84 Proposed changes in establishment under Heads 53, 55, 145, and 147 to facilitate the re-organisation of the Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau into the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau in April 1998

2. A member questioned why no provision had been included in the 1998-99 draft Estimates to meet the cost of the proposal given that the policy intention had already been announced by the Chief Executive in his 1997 Policy Address. The Deputy Secretary for the Treasury advised that no provision was included under the relevant heads and subheads in the 1998-99 draft Estimates to reflect the resource requirements arising from the proposed re-organisation, which had yet to be examined by this Subcommittee and the Finance Committee when the Administration prepared the draft Estimates. However, those requirements and, indeed, all resource requirements needed in 1998-99 to implement the initiatives announced by the Chief Executive in his 1997 Policy Address were taken into account in the provision for additional commitments included in the draft Estimates.

3. The item was voted on and endorsed.

EC(97-98)86Proposed -

(a)modification of the pay scale of the Junior Police Officer grade with effect from 1 April 1998; and

(b)consequential increase in the 1998-99 establishment ceiling of the Hong Kong Police Force from $8,859,120,000 by $119,345,640 to $8,978,465,640

to reflect adequately the changes in responsibility and complexity of work undertaken by the grade

4. In reply to a member, the Deputy Commissioner of Police advised that it was concluded in the consultancy study on the review of the pay scale of the Junior Police Officer (JPO) grade that revision of JPO's pay scale should not be justified on grounds of a comparison with the pay scale of the Hawker Control Force. This principle was subsequently agreed to by the Junior Police Officers Association. The modifications of the pay scale of the JPO grade presently proposed were justified on grounds of the changes in responsibility and complexity of work undertaken by the JPOs since 1992.

5. The item was voted on and endorsed.

EC(97-98)87 Proposed retention of a Consultant (DL3) position in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice from 28 September 1998 to 27 September 1999 to provide continued legal support to deal with Vietnamese Migrant related legal proceedings

6. Mr Henry WU questioned if it was the appropriate time for this Subcommittee to consider the proposed extension as the consultancy position was due to lapse only in late September 1998. The Secretary for Justice (SJ) explained that the hearing date of the case involving the Ex-China Vietnamese illegal immigrants had been recently re-fixed for the later half of July 1998. The current consultancy contract was inclusive of the accumulated leave of the Consultant which was due to start from 15 July 1998 if the consultancy was not extended. It was thus necessary to request members?consideration of this proposal at this meeting, which was the last meeting of this Subcommittee before the end of the legislative term.

7. Mr WU still considered it more appropriate for the newly elected legislature to consider the need for extension of the consultancy in the few months before the lapse of the post based on the then outstanding workload. He suggested that the Consultant be asked to take some of his leave in the coming months so that he could be available in late July. SJ replied that although the Consultant was willing to co-operate in this regard, and in fact had cancelled his original leave plan to tie in with the hearing schedule, it was not feasible for him to take any part of his accumulated leave in the coming few months as a lot of preparatory work was required for the hearing of the abovementioned case and for the other outstanding proceedings involving Vietnamese migrants.

8. The item was voted on and endorsed. Mr Henry WU objected to the proposal.

EC(97-98)88 Proposed retention of a supernumerary post of Assistant Commissioner for Labour (D2) in the Labour Department up to 31 December 1998 for continued secondment to the Employees Retraining Board

9. In reply to a member's enquiry about the situation of the latest recruitment exercise for the Executive Director (ED) post, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (PAS/EM) advised that although a number of applications had been received, very few candidates worth considering had been identified. Taking into account the important role and responsibilities of the position, the Employee Retraining Board (ERB) decided that the supernumerary post of Assistant Commissioner for Labour (AC for L) should be retained up to end of this year to allow more time for identifying probable candidates through various means.

10. Noting the pioneering and strategic role to be taken up by the ED position, some members commented that the selected candidate should possess sound background and ability to develop and implement the Employees Retraining Scheme so as to tackle the problem of mismatch between demand and supply in the labour market. They expressed concern that the terms and conditions presently offered for the post might not be attractive enough to appeal to quality candidates. In reply to their enquiries, PAS/EM advised that presently, the terms offered for the post were comparable to those of a D3 post in the civil service. The post was open to candidates from both the private and the public sectors. If a serving civil servant was selected for the post, he/she could take up the post by resigning/retiring from the civil service. Upon identification of a suitable candidate, the ERB would discuss with the candidate the details of the terms of appointment. She confirmed that the incumbent ED had applied for the post but had subsequently withdrawn his application.

11. A member suggested that the Administration should review the terms and conditions for the position if after a reasonable period, the ERB still could not identify a suitable candidate. PAS/EM responded that it was in consideration of the important public interests involved that the ERB found it necessary to make a prudent decision on the appointment to the position. The Administration and the ERB envisaged that a suitable candidate could be identified in the coming months and the proposed retention period of AC for L could allow for a smooth handover period between the two Executive Directors.

12. A member referred to the organization chart of the Office of the ERB and questioned the need and cost-effectiveness of the one-on-one reporting structure of the three levels from the ED to the Deputy Executive Director. PAS/EM explained that while the Office was a small set up, it had a wide range of responsibilities, including the provision of secretariat support to the ERB, the liaison with employer associations to ascertain their manpower requirements for the purpose of designing retraining courses as well as the supervision and monitoring of the performance of over 50 training bodies on the provision of various employees retraining courses. Under the Office's permanent establishment, the ED was underpinned by a Deputy Executive Director. The Senior Deputy Executive Director post was only created on a temporary basis in mid-1996 to meet the additional workload arising from the review of the Employees Retraining Scheme. This post would lapse in March 1999 and the incumbent would be deployed back to the civil service then.

13. The item was voted on and endorsed.

14. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 11:15 am.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
2 April 1998