LC Paper No. LS 116/98-99
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 26 February 1999
Objects of the Bill
Legal Service Division Report on
Disciplined Services Welfare Funds Legislation
(Amendment) Bill 1999
LegCo Brief Reference
- To amend the Fire Services Ordinance (Cap. 95), the Police Force Ordinance (Cap. 232), the Prisons Ordinance (Cap. 234), the Immigration Service Ordinance (Cap. 331) and the Customs and Excise Service Ordinance (Cap. 342) in order to reconstitute the welfare funds established for members and former members of the Fire Services Department, the Police Force, the Correctional Services Department, the Immigration Service and the Customs and Excise Service and their dependants; and
- to repeal all references to police cadets who no longer exist.
2. SBCR 2/2801/75(98) issued by the Security Bureau dated 28 January 1999.
Date of First Reading
3. 10 February 1999.Comments
4. Welfare funds are provided in the above-mentioned five disciplined services in their respective Ordinances. The purposes of those funds are to promote the staff welfare and provide relief in the form of financial assistance to members and dependants of deceased members who are in need.
5. Following a review of those welfare funds, the Administration proposes to regularize the source of income and formalize the operational arrangements for the welfare funds of those disciplined services.
6. Fines and forfeitures impose on members of the disciplined services for disciplinary offences, and sums of money arising from their normal course of duties will cease to be credited to the disciplined services welfare funds concerned but instead to general revenue. It is considered inappropriate for those so disciplined to be able to enjoy eventually in part the benefits of their own fines.
7. In respect of formalizing the operational arrangements of those funds, Schedules 1 to 5 of the Bill contain the following provisions:
- specify the definitions of certain expressions, including "amenities", "beneficiaries", "dependant", and "Fund";
- constitute the heads of disciplined services concerned as corporations sole in whom the funds are vested with perpetual succession;
- specify what sources of income the funds are to consist of;
- specify the purposes for which the funds can be used,
- enable the corporation to establish a staff purchase scheme where such a scheme is provided for; and
- empower the corporation to employ staff and engage agents in connection with its administration of those funds.
8. Clause 10 of the Bill validates certain transactions relating to police welfare fund. The Legal Service Division is seeking clarification from the Administration on the need for this clause.
9. There has not been any public consultation on the Bill.
Consultation with the LegCo Panel
10. The former Legislative Council Panel on Security was briefed in December 1996 (see LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 533/96-97(04)). The then members supported the proposed legislative amendments in relation to the improvement on the financial arrangements for welfare funds of those five disciplined services.
11. This Bill involves only the operation of the welfare funds of those five disciplined services and according to the Secretary for Security, it does not involve any change in policy. Meanwhile, the Legal Service Division is seeking clarifications from the Administration on certain technical points including whether staff concerned has been consulted. On receiving the clarifications from the Administration, the Legal Service Division will issue a further report. Members may then consider whether to form a Bills Committee or not.
HO Ying-chu, Anita
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
22 February 1999