For discussion
on 8 October 1997


Subhead 003 Recoverable salaries and allowances

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following supernumerary post for two years with effect from 14 October 1997 in the Health and Welfare Bureau of the Government Secretariat -

1 Principal Executive Officer
(D1)($92,650 - $98,300)


The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) is in need of a suitable person to fill the post of Executive Director (ED) and at the same time to implement recommendations put forward in an overall review on its staffing structure and administration system.


2.We propose to create a supernumerary post of Principal Executive Officer (PEO) (D1) under the Health and Welfare Bureau (HWB) for two years commencing 14 October 1997 to facilitate the secondment of a PEO to COSH as ED.


3.COSH is an independent body established under the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health Ordinance (Cap. 389) in 1987 to provide a focal point for action and information to discourage smoking. It is subvented by Government on a discretionary basis to cover its administrative and operating expenses. The Council now comprises one unofficial Chairman, one unofficial Vice-Chairman, 13 unofficial members and two official members.

4.Since COSH was established, a Secretariat headed by an ED (equivalent to D1 rank) was set up to assist the Council to plan, co-ordinate and undertake various education and promotion measures against smoking. The Secretariat now comprises three project management staff and two clerical staff, in addition to the ED. The existing organisation chart of the COSH Secretariat is at Enclosure 1.

5.Ever since the post of ED was created in 1987, COSH has selected appointees through open recruitment on a two-year contract basis. For the past ten years from 1987 to 1997, five EDs have been in post. The last ED held the office for only 11 months from June 1996 to May 1997. The result has been a serious lack of continuity in COSH's work and an inability to provide the necessary level of support for Government's anti-smoking policies.

6.Owing to the departure of the former ED in May 1997, and taking into account that the recruitment of a qualified ED through open competition within a short period of time might not be possible, the Council has requested Government to assist by seconding a PEO to the Council as a stop gap measure to take up the duties of the ED. In addition, as the COSH Secretariat has been set up for a decade, the Secretary for Health and Welfare (SHW), the Director of Health (D of Health) and the Council considered it opportune to review the staffing structure and administration system of COSH. To this end, D of Health created under delegated authority a supernumerary post of PEO (D1) on 14 April 1997 for six months to accommodate the officer on secondment to COSH. The job description of the PEO secondee is at Enclosure 2.

7.On assumption of the ED post and following discussion with members of the Council, the PEO concluded that his priority should be to streamline the management system and strengthen the secretariat support to the Council and its Executive Committee. At the same time, he had to provide continued secretariat support to the Council and its Executive Committee.

8.Experience in the past few months has indicated that the PEO has had to be heavily engaged in performing the work of the ED rather than conducting the review. Apart from routine administrative duties, he has actively assisted the Council in the implementation of ongoing publicity and major events such as the World No-tobacco Day in May 1997. He has also been heavily engaged in various public relations activities organised in support of the Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Bill 1997 that went through legislative proceedings in June 1997. All these are a vital part of Government's anti-smoking policy. Discharging the duties of the ED occupied more than 80% of the PEO's time. This has left him insufficient time to implement recommendations put forward in the review. Having examined the situation, SHW and the Chairman of the Council find it necessary to extend the secondment for another two years for reasons described in the following paragraphs.

9.It would be disruptive to the operation of COSH if the present incumbent were to be transferred out soon after he had completed the review and started some of the implementation work. He should need a period of consolidation to put in place all the review's recommendations and to ensure they function effectively in improving COSH's administration. The efforts of enhancing COSH Secretariat's capacity in organising anti-smoking publicity and educational activities would best be consolidated by the same PEO secondee. A period of two years is a realistic time span to accomplish the tasks.

10.The present PEO has established good contact in the past few months with the media, anti-smoking bodies and health care organisations both in Hong Kong and overseas. Such relationships are vital to the efficient planning and implementation of COSH's promotional campaigns. A change of ED within the coming two years is most undesirable, particularly in view of the tobacco industry's massive advertising campaign in recent years to counteract Government's new anti-smoking measures. It would introduce yet another instance of discontinuity which the review was trying to overcome.

11.The membership of COSH, including the Chairman, will undergo changes on 1 October 1997. We expect the new Chairman to introduce new initiatives on COSH's strategies and priorities. For the smooth running of COSH in the long run, adequate time should be given for the new Council Chairman and members to identify the qualities expected of the new ED and to appoint a suitable person through open recruitment. The job description of the proposed PEO post is at Enclosure 3.

12.As the secondee will be doing the functional job of the ED as well as other duties relating to housekeeping matters of COSH in the next two years, SHW considers it more appropriate to have the supernumerary post created under HWB for sake of a clear line of command between the secondee and the Bureau with which the vote controllership of COSH is rested. The existing supernumerary PEO post created by D of Health under delegated authority will lapse on 14 October 1997. We propose to create the PEO in HWB with effect from the same date to enable the continued secondment of a PEO to COSH.


13.The notional annual mid-point salary cost of this post is -

$No. of Post
Supernumerary post1,070,4001

The full annual staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-cost, is $1,821,912.

14.We shall recover the full cost of this proposal, including staff on-costs, from COSH.


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


16.As the PEO post is proposed on a supernumerary basis, its creation, if approved, will be reported to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.

Health and Welfare Bureau
October 1997

Enclosure 2 to EC(97-98)23

Job Description of PEO Secondee for the period from 14 April 1997 to 13 October 1997

To assist the Executive Committee of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) in the following -

  1. To conduct a thorough review on the present organisation and staffing structure of the COSH Secretariat to identify the problem areas with a view to making recommendations to the Council as to how the Secretariat should be reorganised within the existing available resources in order that COSH can carry out its statutory functions more efficiently and effectively.

  2. To make recommendations to the Council on the relationship between the Secretariat and the Council, and in particular its Executive Committee.

  3. To review the administrative, accounting and information systems of COSH with a view to suggesting ways for improvement.

  4. To assist the Council to revamp the Secretariat based on the decision of the Council after the above review, including the recruitment of a new Executive Director (ED) and any other staff members deemed necessary under the new structure.

  5. To take up the duties of ED until the new ED is in place so that COSH can continue to be served by the Secretariat to carry out its duties.

Enclosure 3 to EC(97-98)23

Proposed Job Description of PEO Health and Welfare Bureau

  1. To co-ordinate and implement the recommendations made in the Management Review on present organisation structure and administration of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH), subject to the Council's endorsement, in the following manners -

  • liaising with the Health and Welfare Bureau where recommendations involve policy and financial implications;

  • strengthening internal staffing structure and administrative procedures with a view to further the anti-smoking effort of COSH; and

  • setting up a comprehensive information database in COSH to facilitate gathering, maintenance and dissemination of information on smoking and health.

  1. To assume the duties of the Executive Director of COSH - namely co-ordination in project management, information services and administration.

  2. To assist in other housekeeping matters relating to COSH as assigned by the Health and Welfare Bureau.