For discussion
on 22 October 1997


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent posts -

1 Senior Principal Executive Officer
(D2) ($110,000 - $116,800)

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

to be offset by the deletion of the following permanent posts -

1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade C
(D2) ($110,000 - $116,800)

1 Chief Executive Officer
(MPS 45 - 49) ($72,135 - $83,105)


The present ranking of the Departmental Secretary (DS) in the Department of Health (the Department) is no longer commensurate with the responsibilities and experience required of the incumbent.

2.The duties of the Assistant Director (Administration and Policy) (AD(A)) post, currently graded as Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2), are mainly related to departmental administration, resource management and development of service initiatives, and are more appropriate to an officer of the Executive Grade.


3.We propose -

  1. to upgrade the DS post from Chief Executive Officer (MPS 45 - 49) to Principal Executive Officer (D1); and

  2. to create one permanent Senior Principal Executive Officer (D2) post, to be offset by the deletion of one Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2) post, to undertake the duties of the AD(A).

Upgrading of the Departmental Secretary post

Growth of the Department since 1989

4.Since the creation of the DS post in 1989 when the Department was formed, the level of responsibilities and complexity of his portfolio have grown rapidly. Over the past eight years, the scope, scale and level of the Department's services to the public have grown substantially. The major new and expanded services include the establishment of a Community Medicine Unit in 1992, the introduction of a new Student Health Service in 1995, Woman Health Centres and Elderly Health Centres in 1994, and expansion of the Boards and Councils Office to meet statutory changes in the regulation of medical, nursing, dental and supplementary medical personnel. A continuing growth of these services is envisaged in the coming years in response to growth in public health demands.

5.These service enhancement initiatives have brought the establishment of the Department up from 5 306 posts in 1989 to 6 787 posts at present. The Department now ranks seventh among the over 80 government departments and agencies. The annual budget has gone up from $763 million to $2,859 million during the same period. The DS's work is therefore an increasingly demanding one, being in charge of the manpower and logistics of a large organisation, particularly one with a complex management and staffing structure.

6.General grades staff provides essential support in the delivery of health services. Their number has been growing in parallel with the Department's service expansion and now stands at 1 241. They provide services in some 280 clinics and health centres in over 110 locations in the territory. The DS is the head of general grades staff in the Department. The management of a staff complement of this size is a heavy responsibility and is made more so by the Government's continuing initiatives towards enhancing efficiency and productivity.

Human Resource Management

7.As the human resource manager, the DS is responsible for the full range of human resource management functions including recruitment, training, promotion, succession planning, discipline, conditions of service etc. of professional, technical and other support staff in the Department. The increasing complexity is also shown by the growth in the number of grades and ranks from respectively 65 and 115 in 1989 to 72 and 135 in 1997. The continual devolution of power in line with the Public Sector Reform has brought growing management responsibilities on the Department which in turn calls for more inputs from the DS towards supporting the senior management of the Department.

8.The DS has at present no line responsibility over staff relations matters. The Director of Health (the Director) considers that the post holder should help the AD(A) in managing this important function upon the proposed upgrading. The Department has six Staff Consultative Committees on which 28 staff associations are represented. The need to handle the divergent interests of different staff groups requires an officer with suitable experience, competence and skills. The Director considers that these responsibilities should more appropriately be dealt with by a directorate officer.

9.The introduction of legal requirements in recent years for registration of supplementary medical professions including Physiotherapist, Radiographer, Optometrist, and Medical Laboratory Technologist and Technician has brought in more complex management dimensions. As an employer of some 300 staff under these professions, the Department has to make various arrangements to meet the changes. The DS needs to review the grade structure, qualification requirement and conditions of service of these groups to reflect the changes brought about by the new statutory requirements.

New management initiatives

10.Various new initiatives taken forward in the civil service have enhanced the responsibility and complexity of the DS's work. One example is the promotion of occupational health and safety at work places. As the public health authority, the Department needs to take the lead in the development of standards and measures to safeguard the work environments including clinics and laboratory, carry out inspections and implement improvements to ensure that occupational health hazards are minimized.

Ranking of Departmental Secretaries with comparable responsibilities

11.The DS reports to the AD(A) who also directs the work of three other sections. He is expected to work independently on most of the subjects he is responsible and give advice to the directorate and other senior officers on the whole range of departmental administration functions. In the light of the increased responsibilities and complexity of work and their importance towards service delivery by the Department, the Director considers that the DS post should be upgraded to Principal Executive Officer (D1) level.

12.The Director of General Grades has reviewed the DS's duties and responsibilities and advised that they are comparable to those of departmental secretaries of other major government departments which are ranked at the Principal Executive Officer level. Accordingly, he supports the proposed upgrading.

Assistant Director (Administration and Policy)

13.One supernumerary Administrative Officer Staff Grade C post, designated as AD(A), was created in 1989 and made permanent in 1994, to oversee the administration of resource management, and assist in the development of new service initiatives of the Department. The Department has reviewed the evolving role and functions of the AD(A) post and come to the view that the job demands are now such that it should more appropriately be filled by an officer with broad departmental administration and operational management experience. To try out the proposal, arrangements have been made since January 1997 for the post to be filled by a senior member of the Executive Grade through the creation under delegated authority of a supernumerary Senior Principal Executive Officer post held against the Administrative Officer Staff Grade C post. The key functional responsibilities of the incumbent are -

  1. Administration
  2. AD(A) oversees the Departmental Administration Section (headed by the DS), advises the senior directorate on broad human resource management matters and plans and executes other financial management functions including resource allocation and programme management. He plans and monitors the implementation of information technology and office automation systems in the Department and is responsible for coordinating the Department's efforts towards better efficiency and service initiatives. He also supervises the Clinic Administration and Planning Section which provides essential logistics and resource support to the some 280 clinics/units and the setting up of new ones.

  3. Policy Support and Resource Management
  4. AD(A) provides input from the resource management angle in the formulation of public health policies and other departmental proposals of political or staff sensitivity. He serves on steering groups for new services to advise, amongst other things, on the bidding for resource allocation and the deployment of existing resources. He advises the Director on departmental policies and strategies on staff relations. He also formulates public relations strategies and oversees the work of the Information and Public Relations Unit to promote and publicise the Department's services and to address public concern over public health issues. This task has been particularly demanding given the persistent and strong media interest in public health matters.

  5. Subventions
  6. AD(A) oversees the management and subventions to six public health organisations. He acts as a bridge between the Government and these organisations, provides advice on subvention rules and management issues, including terms and conditions of employment of staff, to ensure that they are within the approved parameters.

  7. Public Sector Reform Initiatives
  8. As a member of the senior management of the Department, AD(A) participates actively in the formulation of Public Sector Reform initiatives in the eight health programmes and 36 related activities, the setting of targets and objectives and the monitoring of progress against performance pledges. He also plans and oversees the implementation of the Customer Service Improvement project in the Department which aims towards developing a client-oriented service culture. AD(A) spearheads the project in streamlining the service delivery process, improving the quality of service and information given to clients. The Department has put General Out-patients Clinics under the scheme and has scheduled for extension of the initiative to the Student Health Service, Maternal and Child Health Service and Dental Service in the coming year.

14.With the experience in the past nine months, the Director, in consultation with the Secretary for the Civil Service, considers that the arrangement has served the purposes of meeting departmental operational objectives as well as releasing an experienced Administrative Officer to meet other more pressing service-wide needs.

15.Job descriptions of the AD(A) and the DS posts are at Enclosures 1 and 2. The organisation charts showing the current and proposed management structure of the Department are at Enclosures 3 and 4.


16.The additional notional annual salary cost of the proposals at MID-POINT is -

$ No. of posts
New permanent post2,505,0802
LessPermanent post deleted2,290,1002

The Director will meet the net additional salary cost through redeployment of existing resources. The net additional full annual average staff cost of the proposal is $346,284. We have included sufficient provision in the 1997-98 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.


17.The Civil Service Bureau supports the regrading/upgrading of these two posts to enable the Department of Health to improve its departmental administration. The grading and ranking of the proposed posts are appropriate having regard to their duties and responsibilities.


18.The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the permanent posts would be appropriate if the posts were to be created.

Health and Welfare Bureau
October 1997

Enclosure 1 to EC(97-98)26

Job Description for Assistant Director (Administration and Policy)
Department of Health

Rank : Senior Principal Executive Officer (D2)

Duties and Responsibilities :

  1. To direct and supervise the work of the Departmental Administration Section, the Clinic Administration and Planning Section, the Staff Relations and Subvention Unit and the Information and Public Relations Unit.

  2. To provide input from the resource management perspective in the formulation of health policies and other departmental proposals of political and staff sensitivity.

  3. To participate in the formulation of initiatives in the eight programme areas and 36 activities of the Department, the setting of their targets/objectives and the monitoring of performance; co-ordinate Programme Review meetings, Star Chamber Review meetings and collates acquisition of resources through the Resource Allocation Exercise.

  4. To review and recommend measures for service improvements and oversee the implementation of customer service improvement projects.

  5. To determine subvention policy and oversee its implementation on the subvented organisations.

Enclosure 2 to EC(97-98)26

Job Description for Departmental Secretary
Department of Health

Rank : Principal Executive Officer (D1)

Duties and Responsibilities :

  1. To supervise and oversee the day-to-day operation of the Departmental Administration Section, which executes such human resource management functions as recruitment, promotion, discipline, conditions of service, establishment control, manpower planning and staff succession plans.

  2. To advise and provide strategic and logistical support to the senior directorate on formulating and implementing human resource policy and planning.

  3. To formulate staff relations and staff consultation strategies and action plans, to serve as a management representative of the Departmental Consultative Committee and Grade Consultative Committees, and to deal with staff relations issues.

  4. To oversee the provision of administrative support to the Department, including office organisation, procedures, security and accommodation, office equipment, record-keeping, translation, clerical and secretarial services.

  5. To manage all general grades staff in the Department.

  6. To formulate and implement strategies for any ad hoc management initiatives, e.g. promoting the use of Chinese, providing information to the public in compliance with the Code of Access to Information, formulating and enforcing departmental policy on protection of personal data and occupational health and safety; and designing and implementing measures to promote environmental awareness in the Department.