For discussion
on 4 February 1998


Subhead 003 Recoverable salaries and allowances

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following supernumerary post in the Housing Department for two years -

1 Chief Housing Manager
(D1) ($92,650 - $98,300)


The Housing Class Grade Management Section (HCGMS) of the Administration Division in the Housing Department (the Department) is in need of support at the directorate level to cope with the increasing complexity and volume of work and to enhance the management of the Housing Manager (HM) and related grades.


2. The Director of Housing (D of H) proposes to strengthen the grade management functions of the HM and related grades by the creation of a supernumerary post of Chief Housing Manager (CHM) (D1) for two years.


3. The Housing Department has recently embarked on a comprehensive programme of management reforms, collectively known as the Management Enhancement Programme (MEP), which aims to orientate staff to a new service culture and enhance overall performance in meeting on-going commitments and new challenges, which include various housing programmes initiated by the Chief Executive as follows -

    • To provide at least 85 000 flats on average each year up to 2006-/07 (of which the public sector contribution will be 50 000 flats);.

    • tTo reduce the average waiting time for public rental housing from over six6 years at present to three3 years by 2005;. and

    • tTo increase the overall home ownership rate to 70% by 2007. The introduction of the Tenants Purchase Scheme (TPS) launched by the Department in January 1998 will be a major contribution towards this objective.

To support the organisation in meeting these challenges, one of the key initiatives under the MEP is Human Resource Management (HRM) reform which, amongst other things, emphasises better people management, competency based development, enhancing training, recognition of good performance, staff incentive and addressing under performance. The Department has developed a HRM plan and one of the key programmes is to enhance grade management.

4. The main objective of grade management is to develop the potential of members of the grades, motivate them to give of their best in their performance and identify ways and means to retain those good performers to support the department's aims and strategies. The various aspects of grade management functions are outlined in Enclosure 1.

5. The HCGMS is underpart of the Administration Division headed by the Assistant Director of Housing/Administration (AD/A) (D2) who is underpinned by two Senior Housing Managers (SHM) and supported by a team of five Housing

Managers, one Assistant Housing Manager, one Senior Executive Officer and one Executive Officer I . In practice, it will assist the Business Director/Allocation and Marketing (BD/AM) and Business Director/Management (BD/M) who are the heads of grades for the HM and related grades 1 respectively. (A breakdown of the grade members is at Enclosure 2.) Currently it is mainly involved in the postings of about 8 200 staff, liaison with staff unions, allocation of quarters to junior staff, analysis of exit questionnaires, identification of training needs for grade members and issuing advisory letters to officers with unsatisfactory performance and advising on extension of service. constraint, tThese are more day to day activities and indepth attention to strategic grade management matters is lacking. The Section has not been able to carry out in full its grade management functions. This has led to insufficient attention being given to management of staff of the HM and related grades. There is a need for the Department to take a more proactive role in career planning, performance management, training and career development of its grade members in order to assist staff to better meet the rising aspirations of its customers and to adapt to their transformation from being predominantly tenants to being owners.

6. To provide the necessary leadership and attention necessary to improve management of the HM and related grades in that direction, the Department proposes to strengthen the directorate support of the HCGMS with the creation of one CHM (D1) post. The CHM will oversee and supervise the operation of the HCGMS. In addition, with his extensive experience of the HM grade and wide exposure of departmental operation, he will provide the necessary leadership and senior professional input to the following important and complex grade management issues -

  1. Manpower Planning and Strategic Planning

    It is important to realign manpower requirements and staff capability to meet the Department's key strategic objectives and commitments. On this, the proposed CHM will assist the BD/AM and BD/MDirector/Allocation & Marketing (BD/AM) and Business Director/Management (BD/M)D/AM and BD/M, who are the Heads of Grade for the H [ Housing Class comprises the Housing Manager, Estate Assistant, Foreman, Welfare Worker grades etc.] M and related grades [ Related grades comprises Estate Surveyor, Customer Service Assistant, Ganger, Workman grades etc.] respectively,to draw up manpower plans and formulate strategic plans and policies for the grades tochanges. Currently, to meet the Government's pledge on housing issues announced in the Chief Department will increase average flat production from 35 000 to 50 000 flats a year by 1999 and introduce the Tenant's Purchase Scheme (TPS) [ Under the Tenant's Purchase Scheme, the Housing Authority will be offering for sale at least 250 000 existing rental flats to sitting tenants over the next ten years.] meet the housing pledge and to introduce the TPS as one of the measures to achieve the target home ownership rate of 70% by 2007. These new initiatives require intensive policy input and firm direction from the CHM on manpower planning and strategic planning. Moreover, the above commitments especially the introduction of the TPS will have significant impact on the morale of members of the HM and related grades as they may perceive the TPS as a threat to the security of their jobs in the Department, and the TPS will trigger off changes in their existing role and responsibilities. As a grade manager, the CHM should be well aware of the staff sentiment and advise BD/AM and BD/M to map out strategic plans to upkeep the staff morale through appropriate briefings and counsellings, and prepare the staff for the expected changes and challenges ahead through redeployment, retraining programme etc.

  2. Grade management of the Senior Housing Managers

    Under the existing arrangement and in the absence of a CHM for the HCGMS, grade management matters for 61 SHMs (MPS 45-49) have been taken up by BD/AM with the assistance of AD/A. However, this arrangement is unsatisfactory - the heavy workload and the wide span of control under BD/AM and AD/A have rendered them unable to discharge their roles as grade managers fully and thus deprived the staff of the full attention of a career manager. With the creation of an additional post of CHM, who is more familiar with the work and aspiration of individual SHMs, to head the HCGMS, all grade management matters of the SHMs could be handled personally by him thereby allowing sufficient attention to the career development of individual SHMs.

  3. Grade Management of the Junior Staff

    The CHM will act on behalf of BD/M as head of grade of about 4 500 junior staff comprising members in the Estate Assistant, Foreman, Welfare Worker, Artisan, Workman, and Customer Service Assistant grades, Property Attendant and Ganger grades. As a head of grade, he is responsible for ensuring the grade structure, strength and experience remain healthy and capable of carrying out the tasks demanded. He will also be responsible for all discipline matters, which have always been an issue of concern for the grade management, and terms and conditions of services for individual grades. He should also draw up manpower planning for the junior grades in the light of the Department's strategic objectives. For example, the recent introduction of the TPS may affect the strength and grade structures of these junior grades. The proposed CHM, with his rich experience and wide exposure in estate management duties, will provide high level input in liaising with the staff associations, and strong leadership and guidance in mapping out manpower planning, redeployment and retraining programmes for these staff to cope with changes ahead. The high level steer is particularly essential in achieving the Ddepartment's strategic HRM aim and leading the housing related grades towards a more mission-driven, customer-focused, and performance-oriented organisation.

  4. Career Development and Planning System for Housing Manager Grade

    In the light of the Housing Authority's huge housing stock, its expanding public housing programmes and the magnitude for sale of Home Ownership flats and rented flats, the mode of housing management had undergone significant changes in recent years arising from the decentralisation of the management of housing estates to local level 2 and growing aspirations among tenants for higher standard of service and direct participation in the management of their estates. To match with these changes, there is a clear need for a well-structured career development system for the HM and related grades to identify and develop the potential of staff, to build up their skill levels and to prepare them to take on greater responsibilities during their careers. The existing career development arrangement of transferring staff from estate management type of duties to non-estate management type of duties 3 every three years, particularly for the Housing Officer rank which comprises 68% of the grade (about 2 468 officers), is inadequate to meet the Department's strategic objectives and the rising expectation of the public. The proposed CHM will have adequate professional expertise and experience in assessing job requirements, drawing up career development plans for the grade members particularly that for the SHMs and, collaborating with the Chief Manager/Human Resources Development in the Department to develop and implement staff development and training strategies and programmes for career planning and development purposes.

  5. Performance Management and Development System

    Performance management is central to organizational effectiveness by maximising individual's performance and potential and addressing under-performance. It consists of the key components of performance planning, performance review and feedback, guidance and supervision through career counselling, addressing under performance, incentives and planning for further improvement and development. Noting the importance of performance management, the Department plans to develop a performance management and development system (PMDS) for the HM Grade. The PMDS, which will incorporate the practice of objective-setting, mid-year review, regular monitoring of performance and open assessment, will help foster a culture of continuous improvement of performance throughcounselling, setting performance targets, reviewing and coaching performance and assessing output against the targets set. This initiative necessitates a dedicated directorate officer at CHM level, with rich professional experience of housing management, to advise on the design of the system, to work out implementation details, to monitor the implementation of the system and to identify deficiencies for further enhancement. He will oversee the administration of the system after implementation and will be personally involved in the PMDS for the SHMs.

  6. Competency-based Assessment

    In addition to appraising performance of staff against the work objectives agreed, the proposed system helps to identify their potential, promotability and skill enhancement needs by adopting a competency-based assessment. Appraising officers will assess how far the appraisees have demonstrated competencies (knowledge, skills and abilities) required of the current and the next higher rank. Staff will be briefed that promotion is not only determined by performance at the current rank, but also on the basis of competencies required for the next higher rank. The proposed CHM, with his rich experience and wide exposure in housing management duties, will provide professional advice in drawing up tailor-made competency profiles for the HManagerM grade and other housing related grades. In addition to functional competencies, performance measures and work standards for other housing related grades will also be drawn up. continuous professional input in updating and improving the system, having regard to the Department's housing policies.Given the complexity and importance of this new initiative, the Department requires strong leadership and steer at the directorate level to provide both management and professional input in improving the system, keeping up the momentum on management enhancement, and interfacing the implementation programmes having regard to the Department's HRM policies.

7. Having regard to the complexity and increasing volume of the work, and the need for professional inputs at directorate level for grade management functions of the HM and related grades, the D of H proposes to create one post of CHM to head the HCGMS. However, given the likely impact that the TPS may have on the establishment and structure of these grades, he further proposes that the CHM post be created on a supernumerary basis initially for two years. The continual need for the post will be subject to review by the end of the period. The existing and proposed organization structure of the HCGMS is at Enclosure 3. The proposed job description of the CHM post is at Enclosure 4.


8. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at mid-point is $1,144,200. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $1,877,928.

9. In addition, this proposal will necessitate the creation of an additional non-directorate post (Personal Secretary II post) at a notional annual mid-point salary cost of $171,960 and a full annual average staff cost of $283,620.

10. We shall recover the full staff cost of this proposal from the Housing Authority.


11. The ranking and grading of the proposed post are appropriate having regard to its duties and responsibilities.


12. As the post is proposed on a supernumerary basis, the Department will report the creation, if approved, to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.

Housing Department
January 1998

1.Related grades comprises Estate Assistant, Foreman, Welfare Worker, Customer Service Assistant, Ganger, Workman grades etc.

2. Since 1995, the Housing Managers have been given a designated fund of an average $760,000 (size of the fund depends on the number of flats under their charge) for implementing estate management projects in consultation with the District Board members and estate representatives from Mutual Aid Committees, and Resident Associations. Also, starting from 1997-98, they are required to prepare annual business plans for their estates and hence have assumed a heavier role in budgetary control. 2 Since 1995, the Housing Managers have been given a designated fund of an average $760,000 (size of the fund depends on the number of flats under their charge) for implementing estate management projects in consultation with the District Board Members and estate representatives from Mutual Aid Committees, and Resident Associations. Also, starting from 1997-98, they are required to prepare annual business plans for their estates and hence assume have assumed heavier role in budgetary control.

3. Non-estate management duties include processing of applications for public housing and home ownership flats, management of shopping complexes, processing of home purchase loan cases, squatter control and clearance, redevelopment etc.

Enclosure 1to EC(97-98)59

Grade management functions include -

  1. development of grade structure;

  2. review of conditions of service;

  3. advice on ranking for the creation of new posts;

  4. manpower planning;

  5. career development and training;

  6. performance management and staff counselling;

  7. posting and transfer of staff;

  8. recruitment, promotion and acting appointment;

  9. advice on discipline and staff management matters;

  10. liaison with staff unions on grade management matters; and

  11. communication with staff through staff consultation and goodwill visits.

Enclosure 4 to EC(97-98)59

Job Description

Branch : Corporate Services
Section : Grade Management Secretariat
Job Title : Chief Housing Manager/Grade Management
Grade/Rank : Chief Housing Manager
Number : One
Responsible to : Assistant Director/Administration
Supervises : Two Senior Housing Managers, one Senior Executive Officer, five Housing Managers, one Executive Officer I and one Assistant Housing Manager

Description of main duties :

  1. Overseeing and supervising the management of the Housing Class and the related Grades, on behalf of Business Director/Allocation and Marketing (BD/AM) and Business Director/Management (BD/M) respectively.

  2. Initiating reviews of grade and salary structures and conditions of service, including formulation and implementation of policies and proposals.

  3. Dealing personally with grade management matters of all Senior Housing Managers.

  4. Assisting BD/AM and BD/M in drawing up manpower plans, and formulating strategic plans and policies relating to the Housing Class and related grades to match with the Department's strategic objectives.

  5. Considering proposals for ranking of posts.

  6. Administering career development and planning system of Housing Class and related grades up to the Senior Housing Manager rank, deciding on their posting/transfer, regularly reviewing their progress and achievements, including the conduct of career interviews and providing staff counselling where necessary.

  7. Planning and monitoring the performance management and development system (PMDS) on Housing Manager and other housing related grades. He will be personally involved in the PMDS for the Senior Housing Managers.

  8. Administering the competency-based assessment system of Housing Class and related grades up to the Senior Housing Manager rank.

  9. Advising on discipline/award and extension of service for the rank of Senior Housing Managers, and disciplinary cases of other ranks involving serious misconduct.

  10. Identifying training needs vis-a-vis the operational requirements and initiating action to fulfill these needs, including drawing up of training programmes.

  11. Approving passage over probation/trial/efficiency bars and advising on cases of refusal/deferment of probation/trial/efficiency bars.

  12. Dealing with staff unions on grade management matters.

  13. Acting on behalf of BD/M as head of the grade of about 4 500 junior staff comprising members in the Estate Assistant, Welfare Worker, Artisan, workman, and Customer Service Assistant grades.