on 7 May 1999
ITEM FOR FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 25 - ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT
HEAD 26 - CENSUS AND STATISTICS DEPARTMENT
HEAD 170 - SOCIAL WELFARE DEPARTMENT
HEAD 194 - WATER SUPPLIES DEPARTMENT
Subhead 149 General departmental expenses
HEAD 37 - DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
HEAD 40 - EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
Subhead 106 Temporary staff
Members are invited to agree in principle the granting of supplementary provision to the following departments under the relevant subheads in the
1999-2000 financial year -
- $15 million to the Architectural Services Department;
- $18 million to the Census and Statistics Department;
- $34 million to the Department of Health;
- $43 million to the Education Department;
- $36 million to the Social Welfare Department; and
- $12 million to the Water Supplies Department,
to enable the departments to employ additional non-civil service contract staff or hire services to meet service needs.
Arising from the Administration's decision to freeze civil service recruitment in 1999-2000, departments require additional provision in the form of departmental expenses for employment of non-civil service contract staff or hire of services to meet service needs. Six departments' requirement for supplementary provision in the year is estimated to exceed $10 million.
2. We propose that agreement in principle be given to six departments to incur additional departmental expenses in 1999-2000 under relevant subheads up to the financial limits set out in paragraph 7 below for employment of the necessary non-civil service contract staff or hire of services. We will process the applications for supplementary provision for formal approval by Members, or under delegated authority as appropriate if the total amount turns out to be no more than $10 million, towards the end of the financial year when the exact amount is known.
3. The Administration has frozen hiring into the civil service with effect from 1 April 1999. This applies to appointments on both permanent and contract terms, and for the purposes of filling new posts and vacancies. The recruitment freeze is a short-term arrangement pending the review of the terms and conditions of the civil service and other changes to the civil service system. We will review the continued need for the freeze before the 2000-01 Estimates in the light of progress made in the Civil Service Reform.
4. Bureaux and departments may seek exceptions to the freeze on a case by case basis. To date, the Hong Kong Police Force, the Fire Services Department, the Customs and Excise Department and the Government Flying Service have applied for exceptional approval for recruiting disciplinary grade staff on civil service terms. Other disciplinary services are expected to follow suit. These applications are being considered. Where no exceptions have been given, bureaux and departments will have to recruit non-civil service contract staff or hire services to meet service needs for which funding for existing or new civil service posts has been provided in 1999-2000.
5. The 1999-2000 Estimates contain provision for the recruitment of civil servants to existing and new posts. For financial control and analysis purposes, expenditure on salaries on civil servants is charged to Subhead 001 Salaries under Personal Emoluments (PE) whereas expenditure for employing non-civil service contract staff is accounted for under Departmental Expenses (DE), usually under the standard DE Subhead 149 General departmental expenses or a specific DE Subhead 106 Temporary staff. The recruitment of non-civil service contract staff in lieu of civil servants thus entails additional DE expenditure, offset by a corresponding reduction in PE expenditure.
6. Under existing arrangements, as part of resource management flexibility, a Controlling Officer may redeploy funding between PE and DE subheads, subject to certain limitations and conditions. Generally speaking, redeployment from PE to DE will be calculated at the notional annual mid-point salary (NAMS) value. Additional expenditure under DE will take the form of supplementary provision in the year to be granted by Finance Committee, or under delegated authority where the amount is no more than $10 million. To reflect the corresponding reduction in PE expenditure, the Secretary for the Treasury (S for Tsy) will reserve the NAMS involved through administrative means.
7. Our initial assessment is that the amount of supplementary provision required by the following departments for employment of non-civil service contract staff and hire of service to meet service needs is likely to exceed $10 million -
||Estimated supplementary |
|Architectural Services Department
||149 General departmental expenses
|Census and Statistics Department
||149 General departmental expenses
|Department of Health
||106 Temporary staff
||106 Temporary staff
|Social Welfare Department
||149 General departmental expenses
|Water Supplies Department
||149 General departmental expenses
A more detailed account of the Departments' proposals is at the Enclosure.
8. The above represents the Controlling Officers' best estimates at this stage. They may revise their requirements in the light of the timetable for recruitment of staff or engagement of hired services, the number of staff actually recruited, the terms of appointment, actual vacancies arising from in-year wastage, etc. The exact requirement for supplementary provision can only be ascertained later in the financial year. In order not to hold up recruitment of non-civil service contract staff or arrangement for hired services by departments to meet service needs, we consider it appropriate to obtain Members' agreement in principle now for the additional DE provision up to the limits specified. We will seek Members' formal approval of the actual supplementary provision required later in the year.
9. The proposal is a redeployment of approved provision in the 1999-2000 Estimates from PE to DE. It has no additional financial implications.
10. Subject to Members' agreement in principle, we will reserve the NAMS value of the posts concerned under the respective Heads of Expenditure.
11. At the special meeting of Finance Committee on 16 April 1999 to discuss Social Welfare Department's proposal to hire new recruits, Members were briefed on the control over the use of approved funds, including the flexibility given to Controlling Officers to redeploy funds from PE to DE, and the more extensive use of this flexibility expected during the freeze of recruitment to the civil service. Members were also informed that in order not to pre-empt the approval of Finance Committee where supplementary provision required arising from the redeployment from PE to DE exceeds our delegated authority of $10 million, we would seek Finance Committee's agreement in principle once the information on estimated requirements is available.
12. For requirements which are unlikely to exceed $10 million, S for Tsy will consider giving agreement in principle under delegated authority. As at 28 April 1999, she has already agreed in principle to grant supplementary provision to four departments. The total number of posts involved is 31, and the estimated supplementary provision required ranges from less than $1 million to around $3 million.
Enclosure to FCR(1999-2000)11
Estimated requirements for supplementary provision
in 1999-2000 likely to exceed $10 million
ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT
The Architectural Services Department has to recruit non-civil service contract staff to fill 78 non-directorate posts (61 new posts and 17 vacancies). The total notional annual mid-point salary (NAMS) value of these posts amounts to $25.358 million. The Department estimates that it will require supplementary provision of around $15 million under Subhead 149 General departmental expenses.
2. The 78 staff are required to meet essential service needs. They will be deployed on the implementation of new works projects including School Improvement Programme Phases IIA and IV to VIII, Whole-day Primary School Programme, as well as other maintenance and refurbishment works of government buildings. The 78 staff comprise 26 professional staff such as engineers and surveyors, and 52 staff in the technical and supervisory grades.
3. The Director plans to complete recruitment between May and September 1999.
CENSUS AND STATISTICS DEPARTMENT
4. The Census and Statistics Department has to recruit non-civil service contract staff to fill 185 non-directorate posts (176 new posts and 9 existing vacancies). The total NAMS value of these posts amounts to $39.175 million. The Department estimates that it will require supplementary provision of about $18 million under Subhead 149 General departmental expenses.
5. The 185 posts consist of 135 Assistant Census and Survey Officers, 5 Statisticians, 42 Statistical Officers II/Student Statistical Officers and 3 Workmen II. They are required to meet essential service needs, e.g. the conduct of 1999-2000 Household Expenditure Survey, the preparatory work for the 2001 Population Census and the compilation of the Balance of Payments Account.
6. Recruitment will be mounted from May 1999 onwards so that employment can commence by the end of May or early June 1999.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
7. The Department of Health has to recruit additional non-civil service staff to fill 261 non-directorate posts funded in the 1999-2000 Estimates (192 new posts and 69 vacancies). The total NAMS value of these posts amounts to $104.218 million. The Department estimates that it will require about $34 million under Subhead 106 Temporary staff.
8. The 261 posts comprise 37 Medical and Health Officers, 76 Registered/Enrolled Nurses, 33 Dispensers, 17 Pharmacists, and 21 Medical Laboratory Technicians II. The remaining 77 posts are other departmental grade staff.
9. The Department has started preparatory work for the recruitment exercise but no appointment has yet been offered.
10. The Education Department has to recruit non-civil service staff to fill 213 non-directorate posts in 1999-2000. The total NAMS value of these posts amounts to $76.471 million. The Department will require supplementary provision of about $43 million under Subhead 106 Temporary staff.
11. This amount is required for employment of 213 non-civil service contract staff to fill 118 teaching and supporting posts (56 new posts and 62 vacancies) in government schools and 95 non-teaching posts (8 new posts and 87 vacancies) in the Education Department for implementation of various educational initiatives such as school-based management, Quality Assurance Inspection, curriculum development, strengthening support for children with special educational needs, whole-day primary schooling projects, etc.
12. The posts are expected to be filled by August/September this year.
SOCIAL WELFARE DEPARTMENT
13. The Social Welfare Department has to recruit non-civil service staff to fill 324 non-directorate posts (279 new posts and 45 vacancies). The total NAMS value of these posts amounts to $90.212 million. The Department estimates that it will require supplementary provision of around $36 million under Subhead 149 General departmental expenses.
14. The 324 staff are required to meet service needs. The majority of them will be deployed to improve the administration of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme, and to strengthen family and child care services and medical social services. Of these 324 staff, 193 are Social Security Officers/Assistants and 92 are Assistant Social Work Officers/Social Work Assistants. The remaining 39 are other common grade staff.
15. In order to meet the need for additional staff for the Support for Self Reliance Scheme under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme, the Department had already recruited 63 Social Security Assistants in April 1999. The recruitment exercises of the other staff (including Assistant Social Work Officer and Social Security Assistant) are being conducted with a view to filling the posts by June/July onwards.
WATER SUPPLIES DEPARTMENT
16. The Water Supplies Department has to recruit non-civil service staff to fill 112 non-directorate posts (50 new posts and 62 vacancies). The total NAMS value of these posts amounts to $29.414 million. The Department estimates that it will require supplementary provision of about $12 million under Subhead 149 General departmental expenses.
17. The 112 posts are required for the inspection and maintenance of slopes under the department's responsibility, improvement of quality assurance system in its laboratories, stepping up of control and monitoring of water quality within the water gathering grounds and intakes, etc. They will be filled by 27 professional staff including engineers and chemists, 51 staff in the technical and supervisory grades and 34 other supporting staff.
18. Preparation for recruitment is underway and recruitment is expected to complete between July 1999 and January 2000.
19. The above requirements represent the Controlling Officers' best estimates at this stage, and have taken into account the expected duration of appointment and the appropriate remuneration package drawn up with due regard to the employment market and recruitment situation. As regards the level of pay, this is normally no more than the minimum salary of comparable civil service ranks or ranks of comparable level of responsibilities.