Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Home Affairs
Composition and Functions of Area Committees and District Management Committees
The District Administration Scheme was introduced in 1982 with the establishment of a District Board and a District Management Committee (DMC) in each of the 18 districts in Hong Kong. With effect from 1 July 1997, 18 Provisional District Boards(PDBs) with 468 members appointed by the Chief Executive have replaced the former District Boards(DBs). This paper describes the composition and functions of DMCs and Area Committees (ACs) as well as the participation of Provisional District Board members in district management matters.
District Management Committees
2.The District Management Committee (DMC) in each district serves as a forum for inter-departmental consultation on district matters and coordinates the provision of public services and facilities to ensure that district needs are met promptly. It is chaired by the District Officer and comprises representatives of departments providing essential services in the district, such as Housing Department, Education Department, Lands Department, Social Welfare Department, Urban Services Department, Regional Services Department, Transport Department and the Police.
3.By assuming the chairmanship of the DMC, the District Officer coordinates the work of government departments in the district with a view to ensuring that they are as responsive as practicable to district needs and problems. The District Officer is required to submit to each PDB meeting a written report detailing the work of the DMC, the progress on follow-up actions requested by the PDB, and the reasons for the DMC's decisions and actions. The chairman of the PDB attends DMC meetings as an observer, thus enhancing communication between the DMC and the PDB and providing direct input into the management of the district.
4.Area Committees (ACs) were first formed in 1972 in districts primarily to promote public participation in the Keep Hong Kong Clean Campaign and Fight Violent Crime Campaign. Members of the ACs are appointed by the Director of Home Affairs from a wide cross-section of the local community. Their appointment is normally for a term of one year.
5.Over the years, ACs have played an important role in the districts and in providing a link between the local community and the District Office. The ACs encourage public participation in district events, assist in the organisation of community activities and government campaigns and advise on issues of a localised nature affecting the area.
6.In view of the complementary nature of work between the DBs/PDBs and ACs, DB/PDB members are normally appointed to serve on the AC relating to the area in which they work or reside. This cross-membership between DBs/PDBs and ACs ensures a strong linkage between the two bodies. However, there is no direct constitutional relationship between DBs/PDBs and ACs.
7.At present, there are 73 ACs with a total of 1,958 members. Each AC, serving an area with a population of about 80,000 to 100,000, normally comprises 20 to 30 members. Two NT districts - North and Tai Po - have operated without ACs, given their rural character and that the functions of the ACs are already being performed by other long-established local organisations.
8.The current review of district organizations focuses on the structure and functions of Municipal Councils and DBs. We do not intend to include the future roles and composition of ACs and DMCs in the review. Nevertheless, if the review proposes changes to the structure of DBs which may have an impact on the working relationship between the DMCs and DBs and the composition of ACs, appropriate adjustments to their roles and composition will be considered separately.
9.We will keep Members informed of developments in due course.