For discussion EC(98-99)33
on 11 February 1999
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 118 - PLANNING DEPARTMENTSubhead 001 Salaries
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Planning Department -
1 Chief Town PlannerPROBLEM
(D1) ($98,250 - $104,250)
The Director of Planning (D of Plan) does not have adequate directorate support to ensure the timely supply of land to meet the Government's housing production target.
2. We propose to create one permanent post of Chief Town Planner (CTP) (D1) to head a dedicated Housing Task Force (HTF) in the Planning Department (PlanD).
3. The Government has set a target of providing not less than 50 000 public flats a year and continuing to form land and to provide the necessary infrastructure for meeting the long-term demand of about 35 000 private flats a year. To meet the target, we need planning input from PlanD to identify new sites for housing development, rezone land, process planning applications, make amendments to Outline Zoning Plans for consideration of the Town Planning Board, prepare for the hearing of objections, and provide planning advice to landowners and/or developers on residential development proposals and to the Buildings Department on housing projects. The existing staff cannot fully absorb the additional housing-related tasks.
4. The District Planning Offices (DPOs) have taken on part of this responsibility with existing staff resources. This is in addition to their regular district work such as the translation of territorial and sub-regional planning and development concepts into physical land use plans; development control; and conducting planning studies for identifying solutions to planning problems. The existing staff complement of the DPOs will not be able to cope with all the additional workload in the long term. The situation will become more acute as the housing production programme picks up steam.
5. In order to fulfil the commitment to provide sufficient and appropriate land to meet housing needs, D of Plan considers it necessary to institute organisational changes by establishing a new HTF under the New Territories District Planning Division Headquarters (NTHQ). The proposed HTF will be a centralised team of professional officers dedicated to identifying additional housing sites and completing all the necessary planning procedures. The work includes amendments to statutory plans, processing of planning objections and planning applications as well as scrutinising building plans. It will comprise staff redeployed from DPOs and will take over the housing-related work initiated by the DPOs so that the latter can focus better on their original schedules of district planning work. The taskforce will concentrate its efforts on urgent tasks and set priorities for planning actions related to housing projects. It will also ensure better co-ordination and communication both internally and with outside departments.
6. The head of the HTF will be responsible for mapping out strategies to expedite the planning process for the delivery of sites for housing development. In addition to the day-to-day management of the HTF, the incumbent will have to ensure that its objectives are delivered. He will make recommendations to senior directorate officers in the department on strategic planning issues in the housing production context and provide planning advice to policy bureaux and other departments. He will prepare papers and reports for discussion by forums such as the Land and Building Advisory Committee, the Committee on Planning and Land Development and the Housing Project Action Team. He needs to be an officer with good management skills and extensive experience in the planning profession. In view of the importance and complexity of the job, we propose to pitch the post at the CTP (D1) level, to be designated departmentally as CTP/Housing Task Force (CTP/HTF) under the Assistant Director of Planning/New Territories (D2).
|7. The existing and proposed organisation chart of New Territories Headquarters of PlanD is at Enclosure 1. The job description of the proposed CTP post is at Enclosure 2.||Encl. 1|
8. We have fully considered the implications of this proposal vis-a-vis the Enhanced Productivity Programme. Resources will be redeployed from our existing establishment for setting up the HTF to keep the requirement for additional non-directorate posts to the minimum. Redeployment at the directorate level and further redeployment at other levels have been considered but are not feasible. The new D1 post is needed to head the HTF and to achieve the Government's flat production target.
9. The additional notional annual salary cost of the proposed post at mid-point is $1,213,200. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal is $2,130,000. In addition, the proposed HTF will have a non-directorate establishment of 24 staff comprising six Senior Town Planners, 15 Town Planners/Assistant Town Planners and other supporting technical and secretarial staff of which nine are through internal redeployment. The net additional notional mid-point salary cost amounts to $9,607,620 and the full annual average staff cost is $15,491,280. We have included sufficient provision in the 1998-99 Estimates to meet the cost of the proposal.
10. In the 1997 Policy Address, the Chief Executive set the production of not less than 85 000 flats a year starting in 1999-2000 as the top priority of the Administration. The Steering Committee on Land Supply for Housing has since July 1997 been established to make more land available for residential development to meet the housing needs of the community.
11. In the 1998 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced that a review of the individual components of the flat production target has been conducted. The Government remains committed to providing not less than 50 000 flats a year in the public sector and will continue to form land and build the necessary infrastructure to meet the long term demand of 35 000 private flats a year based on current projection.
CIVIL SERVICE BUREAU COMMENTS
12. The department has considered carefully alternative means to provide the appropriate level of service bearing in mind the need for efficiency and productivity but considers this proposal the most appropriate way to proceed. Having regard to the reasons put forward, Civil Service Bureau considers the proposal justified and the grading and ranking appropriate.
ADVICE OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON DIRECTORATE SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
13. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.
Enclosure 2 to EC(98-99)33
Chief Town Planner (Housing Task Force) (D1)
Aim of the Job
Responsible to the Assistant Director of Planning/NT (AD/NT) in the day-to-day management and supervision of the Housing Task Force for promoting, expediting and monitoring housing development in the territory to meet the flat production target.
Main Duties and Responsibilities -
- To assist the AD/NT in the formulation of strategies relating to the promoting, expediting and monitoring of housing development in the territory to meet the flat production target.
- To organise and manage the Housing Task Force including the distribution of work, allocation of responsibilities and setting of work priorities, and to supervise the staff of the Task Force and consultants in discharging the duties related to the housing development issues.
- To formulate approaches, methodologies and work programmes for carrying out the major tasks of the Task Force and to co-ordinate the detailed work involved.
- To liaise with relevant departments and organisations in carrying out the tasks of the Task Force.
- To provide information and planning advice on housing development and other related data to policy bureaux and departments.
- To prepare papers and reports for discussion by such forums as the Land and Building Advisory Committee (LBAC), the Committee on Planning and Land Development (CPLD), Housing Project Action Team (HPAT) and other relevant committees.
- To attend relevant committee, steering group or working group meetings on planning matters related to promoting, expediting and monitoring housing development in the territory to meet the flat production target.