PLC Paper No. CB(2) 27/97-98
Ref. : PLC/WG/02
Paper for the House Committee meeting
on 9 July 1997
Formation of Panels
This paper outlines the recommendations of the Working Group on Rules of Procedure (the Working Group) for Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, Convenor, to move two motions in relation to the formation of Panels and amendments to Rule 77 (Panels) and consequential amendments at the Council meeting to be held on 16 July 1997, and seeks Members�agreement that the President approval should be sought to waive the notice period requirement under Rule 29(1) (Notice of Motions and Amendments).
2. The Working Group consulted Members on 4 July 1997 about matters related to the formation of Panels, in particular about:
- whether Panels should be established to assist the Council to discharge its functions; and whether they should be formed as soon as practicable after 1 July 1997
- the terms of reference of the Panels; and
- the number of Panels to be formed.
3. The Working Group met on 9 July 1997 to discuss views received from Members and noted that it is the consensus of Members that Panels should be established as soon as practicable although there are different views on the number of Panels to be formed. Members in general agree that these Panels should not undertake work other than that stipulated in the decision of the Preparatory Committee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the Preparatory Committee) on 24 March 1997.
Deliberations of the Working Group
Number of Panels to be formed
4. The Working Group considered the number of Panels to be established. Members in general agree that the work of the Council should not be unnecessarily restrained and Panels should be able to assist the Council to discharge its functions and to monitor the performance of the Government. In this regard, the Working Group has made reference to the Panel structure of the then Hong Kong Legislative Council and agrees that the same number of Panels, that is, a total of 18 Panels, should be set up in the Provisional Legislative Council, subject to the membership requirement under Rule 77(8) which is not less than 6 members including the chairman. In the event that a Panel cannot be formed due to the lack of requisite membership, the relevant issues arise could be taken up by any existing Panel as appropriate or could be referred to the House Committee for a decision on whether a subcommittee should be formed for their study.
Terms of Reference of the Panels
5. The Working Group agrees that the broad terms of reference for Panels, which will enable them to assist the Council to discharge its remit of work and scope of responsibilities within the defined functions of the Council by the Preparatory Committee, should be as follows:
- to deliberate on the issues relating to a specific policy area(s) raised in the Policy Address of the Chief Executive and to give views on such other issues of the same policy area(s) which have not been given adequate attention by the executive authorities as revealed in the Policy Address;
- to receive briefings and give views on any major legislative or financial proposals prior to their formal submission to the Council or the Finance Committee; and
- to examine and to report on any major issues of wide public concern as referred to it by the Council or the House Committee or as raised by the Panel itself.
Timing for formation and dissolution of Panels
6. The Working Group agrees that Panels should be set up as soon as practicable and that they should operate up to the end of the session of the Provisional Legislative Council.
Amendment to Rule 77 (Panels)
7. Rule 77 of the Rules of Procedure provides for matters related to Panels. In reviewing the committee structure of the Council, the Working Group considers that it is necessary to place Panels under the Council in order to strengthen their relationship and enable the Panels to discharge their duties more effectively. It will be for the Council to determine the number of Panels to be formed as well as their terms of reference, and for the House Committee to perform the role of a coordinator and provide a forum for exchange of opinions. Panels will be accountable to the Council and will need to make periodic reports to it. The Working Group therefore recommends that Rule 77 should be amended accordingly.
Motions to be moved by Hon Mrs Selina CHOW
8. The Working Group recommends that its Convenor, Hon Mrs Selina CHOW should move two motions on its behalf, respectively in respect of the following at the Council meeting to be held on 16 July 1997:
- formation of 18 Panels as soon as practicable and they should operate until the end of the session of the Council, subject to the membership requirement under Rule 77(8) and the broad terms of reference as set out in paragraph 5 above;
- amendments to Rule 77 (Panels) and consequential amendments to Rule 75 (House Committee), as marked up in the Appendix.
9. Rule 29(1) (Notice of Motions and Amendments) provides that no motion shall be moved in the Council unless notice of it has been given not less than 12 clear days before the day on which the motion is to be considered by the Council, provided that the President may in his discretion dispense with such notice.
10. Since there will be insufficient time for giving of notice of the motions, the Working Group wishes to seek Members�advice on whether the motions should be moved at the Council meeting to be held on 16 July 1997 and whether in this connection, the President approval to waive the notice period requirement should be sought.
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
9 July 1997
Last Updated on 23 October 1997