on 12 February 1998
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEE OF
HEAD 56 - GOVERNMENT SECRETARIAT : PLANNING, ENVIRONMENT AND LANDS BUREAU AND WORKS BUREAU
Subhead 001 Salaries
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the retention of the following supernumerary post up to 31 December 1999 -
1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade C
(D2) ($110,000 - $116,800)
The Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) needs continued directorate support to cope with the heavy workload associated with the new initiatives for urban renewal and to assist the Land Development Corporation (LDC) in expediting its urban renewal projects. The present supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (AOSGC) (D2) heading the urban renewal team in the Lands and Planning Division (LPD) of the Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau (PELB) will lapse on 19 July 1998.
2. We propose to retain the supernumerary post of AOSGC (D2) up to 31 December 1999.
3. We set up a dedicated urban renewal (UR) team in the LPD of PELB in July 1996. Since its establishment, the UR team has devoted itself largely to implementing the initiatives set out in the Policy Statement : "Urban Renewal in Hong Kong" (the Policy Statement) issued in June 1996 and to assisting the LDC in expediting its projects. As a short term measure to take forward urban redevelopment, it has successfully introduced a pilot scheme in Tsuen Wan and Kennedy Town which, through the grant of Government land by private treaty at full market value premium to the LDC, made possible an urban renewal scheme which would otherwise not be viable on its own. In addition, the team has provided input to about 25 LDC projects at various stages of development.
4. Apart from these short term measures, the team has explored and taken forward the long-term initiatives set out in the Policy Statement. It has prepared draft legislation for introduction in the 1998-99 legislative session to expedite urban renewal by facilitating land assembly in private sector redevelopment. It has also undertaken detailed planning for the establishment of a loan fund, in the sum of $500 million, to assist eligible building owners to carry out building inspection and repair works to facilitate rehabilitation of their buildings. Concurrent with these activities, the team has been providing secretariat support to an inter-departmental working group set up to consider the establishment of a new urban renewal authority (URA) to take over the function of the LDC. The AOSGC is the secretary to this working group and is responsible for formulating the meeting agenda, vetting the discussion papers for the working group and coordinating with the relevant Government departments and the LDC on issues discussed by the working group. This working group is considering a wide range of issues and will make its recommendation to SPEL within the coming months.
5. Whilst the UR team has made progress on the above works, many of the commitments are on-going and require substantial input in the next two years. We anticipate that the team will need to continue with providing significant policy input to take forward the establishment of the URA which will be a subject of great public interest and concern. In this connection, the team will have to prepare a bill on the establishment of the URA for introduction into the legislature in late
1998. Subject to Members approval, we plan to establish the URA sometime in 1999. In the interim period, the team will provide administrative support to prepare for the establishment of the URA. In addition, the team has to assist SPEL to formulate the new Urban Renewal Strategy, which will identify respective priorities for urban renewal areas and consider means of enhancing financial viability of redevelopment schemes. This is essential to enabling the proposed URA to embark on projects immediately upon its establishment.
6. The above tasks will necessitate intensive programming, coordinating, liaising with the management level of the LDC, other policy bureaux and Government departments, and monitoring the implementation of urban renewal activities in a more pro-active, expeditious and comprehensive manner to ensure an integrated and coherent approach in achieving the overall objective. These will generate a large volume of work for the UR team including public consultation, consideration of implementation details, preparation of discussion papers, information notes and legislation, as well as liaison with the LDC, other policy bureaux and Government departments.
7. In view of these commitments, we consider that there is a continuing requirement for the existing supernumerary post of AOSGC (D2), designated as Principal Assistant Secretary (Urban Renewal) (PAS(UR)), which will lapse on 19 July 1998. We therefore propose its retention for the period from 19 July 1998 to 31 December 1999. Upon the expiry of the extended tenure of the post, we expect that a decision will have been made on the establishment of the new URA and new institutional arrangements will have come into effect. To provide professional and secretarial support to the team, we will retain the four posts of one Senior Estate Surveyor, one Senior Town Planner, one Personal Secretary I, and one Personal Secretary II. In addition, we will create two posts of one Senior Administrative Officer and one Personal Secretary II through the normal Departmental Establishment Committee machinery to strengthen the administrative support to the AOSGC.
8. The existing and proposed organisation chart of PELB is at Enclosure 1. The job descriptions for the post of PAS(UR) is at Enclosure 2.
9. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at mid-point is $1,360,800. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $2,438,640.
10. In addition, this proposal will necessitate the retention of four non-directorate posts and creation of two additional non-directorate posts (see paragraph 7 above) at a notional annual mid-point salary cost of $3,407,460 and a full annual average staff cost of $5,995,248.
11. We shall recover the full staff costs of the proposed retention of the AOSGC (D2) post and the UR team from the LDC which has agreed to this funding arrangement.
12. SPEL completed a review of the urban renewal policy and issued the Policy Statement in June 1996. The review set out a package of short-term and long-term measures to facilitate and speed up urban renewal schemes. It also proposed some fundamental changes to the institutional arrangements for the urban renewal process. Most of these measures and changes concern the LDC, which is playing a major role in this process through its statutory powers to implement development schemes and proposals and negotiate with affected owners regarding the purchase of properties identified for redevelopment.
13. Following the issue of the Policy Statement, we set up the dedicated UR team in the LPD of PELB in July 1996 to take on the additional workload arising from the new urban renewal proposals and initiatives thereunder.
CIVIL SERVICE BUREAU COMMENTS
14. Civil Service Bureau supports the retention of the post until end 1999 when the Administration will review the continued need for the post in the light of the establishment of the URA.
ADVICE OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON DIRECTORATE SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
15. As we propose to retain the post of AOSGC on a supernumerary basis, we will report the arrangement, if approved, to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.
Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau
Enclosure 2 to EC(97-98)77
Job Descriptions of Principal Assistant Secretary (Urban Renewal)
Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau (PELB)
Rank : Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2)
Major Duties and Responsibilities :
Responsible to Deputy Secretary (Lands and Planning) of PELB for the urban renewal programme relating to the LDC. Duties include -
- advising on the urban renewal programme relating to the LDC;
- formulating new urban renewal policies and examining the setting up of an URA (which will replace the LDC) to facilitate urban renewal work;
- overseeing and monitoring the implementation of urban renewal projects and the setting up of the URA;
- coordinating the efforts of the LDC, various Government departments and public bodies on urban renewal;
- sorting out any major problems faced by the LDC in implementing its redevelopment schemes; and
- attending meetings of the Executive Council, the Legislative Council, and District Boards as necessary.