Legislative Council Panel on Home Affairs

Summary of submissions received on the
Consultant's Report on Culture, the Arts, Recreation and Sports Services
(Position as at 15 May 1999)

I. Overall suggestions/culture and the arts

Organization/IndividualSummary of viewsPaper No.
Hong Kong Cultural Sector
Joint Conference
1. The Home Affairs Bureau should not confine the scope of the consultancy study to reforming the administrative framework and maintaining continuity in the current municipal services. In order not to let go the rare chance to plan for Hong Kong's long term cultural development, the Government should adopt a broader cultural vision.

2. The current proposal only aims at restructuring the existing framework and enhancing efficiency of services. It fails to incorporate a macroscopic perspective. Nor can it fulfill the Government's objectives of "pluralism" and "an open framework". A desirable cultural framework should consist of a 3-tier structure as follows-

    (a) A statutory Culture Commission, which is independent and which has real powers conferred by democratic means, should be set up, comprising representatives from public authorities in areas of education, lands and planning, information technology and broadcasting, members of the various tier of councils, professionals from the arts and cultural sectors and other members of the public. It should be headed by a full-time Commissioner for Culture recruited through an open recruitment exercise;

    (b) various middle-level bodies with different functions or fields of interests should be set up. They should be responsible for formulating concrete policies and monitoring policy implementation; and

    (c) basic-level agencies and organizations responsible for policy implementation should be independent from the bureaucratic structure.

3. The Government should expeditiously work out a specific timetable for its follow-up actions (such as those for contracting out civic centres for private sector management). It should respond to those proposals made by the Consultant which do not receive enough attention (e.g. the construction of a Museum of Contemporary Art be held in abeyance), and also address the areas not covered in the Report (such as the review in arts education). There should be more public consultation and more discussion with experts in the process.

Ms LEUNG Chi-fan 1. Endorses and supports the position paper of the Hong Kong Cultural Sector Joint Conference.

The Democratic Party (DP) 1. It is clearly stated in the Consultant's Report that a Leisure and Cultural Services Department is to be established under the Home Affairs Bureau to take over the responsibilities relating to culture, recreation and sports which are currently within the ambit of the PMCs. This represents an attempt to centralize the policy-making powers which have all along been vested with the elected councils. The proposed framework allows full bureaucratic intervention in the areas concerned. The DP strongly opposes such an arrangement which, in DP's views, represents the beginning of the Government's full manipulation of culture.

2. In the consultancy study, it is proposed that an establishment of over 9,000 staff is required to deal with matters relating to culture, sports and recreation. It is also proposed that these staff members will be absorbed by the new Leisure and Cultural Services Department. This proposal completely safeguards the interest of bureaucracy and ignores the demand of the public for a streamlined civil service and the decentralization of powers relating to cultural, sports and recreational matters.

3. Urges the Government not to strangle the chances for public participation in public affairs. The "one council, one department" proposal by the PMCs and the DP can best achieve the objectives of a streamlined structure, enhanced accountability and democratization.

Mr Timothy YUEN/
Ms Lingki CHAU
1. Opposes that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department should be made responsible for implementing all duties relating to culture and arts because in respect of public accountability and the check-and-balance system in their operation, the new Department and the PMCs are government departments of a similar nature.

2. Proposes the following 3-tier structure for culture and arts -

    (a) Culture and Heritage Commission - it serves as the supreme authority in the Government to decide on the definition of culture and allocate resources and funds accordingly;

    (b) Arts Development Council (ADC) - it serves as the administrator of the arts in Hong Kong. The ADC will be responsible for promoting the development of mainstream arts and art industries both in Hong Kong and overseas. The City Hall and the Cultural Centre will come under the direct supervision of the ADC. With the provision of venues, programmes will be arranged and box-office revenues and private sponsorship will follow; and

    (c) Proposes to decentralize powers mainly on the basis of venues by corporatizing their operation. District facilities should be supervised by district councils and people with knowledge of the interests of the district should be invited to participate.

Hong Kong Music Officer
Grade Staff Association
1. Opposes the Consultant's proposal to transfer the Music Office, currently under the joint administration of the Provisional Municipal Councils (PMCs), to the Academy for Performing Arts (APA) for the following reasons--

    (a) APA focuses on training talents whereas the Music Office focuses on training audience. Given their different objectives, they differ from each other in terms of teaching methods, modus operandi as well as the sectors with which they come into contact;

    (b) APA lacks the experience in conducting musical instrument classes in groups, staging more than 300 activities for the promotion of music on a yearly basis, running outreach interests classes for all ages and participating in community development;

    (c) There is quite a great difference between the two in the fees they levy. The Music Office charges $130 to $265 monthly for musical instrument courses, compared with $600 to $1,900 for APA's Junior Music Programmes; and

    (d) The Consultant's Report only emphasizes "the objective of the long term development of performing artists training in Hong Kong", ignoring another objective, i.e. the long term development of audience.

2. Proposes that, as a first step, the Music Office be maintained under a government department which provides related services, such as the Education Department or the new Leisure and Cultural Services Department. The next step is to consider transferring the Music Office to an independent government-funded body, and set up a committee comprising government officials and representatives from all sectors in the community to monitor the operation of the Music Office.

Ms TSE Shuk-han 1. Opposes the Consultant's proposal to put the Music Office under the APA for the following reasons--

    (a) The main tasks of the Music Office are to promote and popularize music in order to facilitate and further the overall development of music in society, whereas the APA concentrates on training professionals and upgrading the professional standard of music. Both of them have a vitally important yet different role to play. Amalgamation will certainly affect the nature of their distinctive services, thus jeopardizing the quality of their current services; and

    (b) At present, the APA is a private body and its operation is not subject to the regulation of the public. It is very difficult to guarantee that the APA can provide at a reasonable cost high quality services for the popularization of music education in future, similar to the role currently played by the Music Office.

A group of members
of the Sai Wan Ho
outreach interests
1. Opposes putting the Music Office under the leadership of the APA.

2. Urges the Government to reposition the Music Office with a view to ensuring continuity in its operation, and safeguarding the interest and social status of the instructors.

Music Office
Parents Association
1. The APA serves as an avenue for the development of professional arts whereas the task of the Music Office is to popularize music education, with the general public being the target of its services. If the Music Office is to be put under and administered by the APA, the questions of how to strike a balance in respect of allocation of resources, the use of venues, supervision, future development and administration will arise but these questions are not in the least addressed in the Consultant's Report.

2. Concerns that if the Music Office is not directly monitored by an elected council, there will be no channel for parents to lodge their complaints against services which affect the students, and therefore considers that the Music Office should continue to be managed by an elected council.

3. Proposes that the Home Affairs Bureau should re-examine and re-consider the future of the Music Office. Channels for communication should be established to consult all sectors of the community and those who are directly affected such as the instructors/students and their parents. It is regrettable that the Music Office Parents Association, being a statutory body recognized by the Government, has not been consulted on this issue.

Museum of Site 1. Opposes the proposal of "one council, one department". As a transitional arrangement, it is acceptable for matters related to cultural and arts education to be continuously co-ordinated by the Home Affairs Bureau but the Government may consider a long term approach, such as the feasibility of setting up a Cultural Services Bureau, and consider the inclusion of elected members in its composition.

2. Proposes that the Culture and Heritage Commission will, in future, conduct a broad policy review of cultural and arts education.

3. It is hoped that by 2002, the Culture and Heritage Commission will have a statutory status, with an independent secretariat and independent powers in the provision of funding.

4. The Government may consider whether the Chairman of the Education Commission and the Director of Education should sit on the Culture and Heritage Commission as ex-officio members. This will not only facilitates co-ordination in respect of the roles in cultural education, it also enables cultural and arts perspectives to be adopted for policy co-ordination and formulation in the area of education and helps resolving the relevant problems .

5. Regarding the various advisory boards under the new Leisure and Cultural Services Department, consideration may be given to the inclusion of an advisory board for the promotion/education on culture and arts with a view to upgrading the level of discussion on cultural matters and broadening the scope of discussion. 6. There is a need to review the assessment criteria for cultural and arts education and the rationale behind.

7. Expresses reservations on the proposal to put the Music Office under the APA. Proposes that the Home Affairs Bureau should re-consider and re-define what conditions and qualifications a mechanism should have in order to take over the Music Office, and also identify its objectives and direction after taking over the Music Office.

8. It is hoped that the Music Office can operate independently and be subject to public scrutiny, especially in the areas of administrative arrangements and allocation of resources, disregarding the Music Office is to be put under the management of which department/authority.

9. Accepts the Consultant's proposal that international museum experts be invited to Hong Kong to re-formulate policy on museum services.

10. The new Heritage Museum requires the support of sufficient cultural resources in order to cater for activities run by the Government, the public and education groups with interests in museums. The Government should provide additional funding for the ADC so that improvement can be made in the annual $1.63 million funding for the Arts Education Committee


II. Recreation and Sports

Hong Kong Sports
Development Board
1. When the SDB was first established in 1990, it had undertaken to formulate all issues pertaining to policy formulation on sports development. The Consultant's Report seems to defer this responsibility to the Administration Branch of the new Department and does not spell out who should take the lead;

2. Given that the SDB has been acting as a government agency for the allocation of funds to the National Sports Association (NSAs), it will make sense that all funding, including those ad hoc resources given by the PMCs in the past, should be channeled through the SDB;

3. There is a need for a central strategy to be formulated so as to provide for an equitable distribution of sports venues amongst the NSAs for serious training and competitions, having regard for the public-at-large in the recreational pursuits; and

4. The PMCs, Home Affairs Bureau and the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, all have ex-officio status on the SDB, but not the other way round. There should be some kind of reciprocity with the new Department and the other stakeholders to maximize communication.

Hong Kong, China
Rowing Association
1. Hong Kong must learn from countries which have succeeded in developing high levels of participation coupled with international success.

2. Clubs and NSAs must be given priority use of public sports facilities, followed by schools, then casual use by the public.

3. The primary delivery of organised sport to the community should be through clubs.

4. The best way to provide sport for school children is through clubs. Schools should concentrate on their academic role and parents and teachers should encourage children to join sports clubs.

5. Clubs should be offered an incentive to recruit young people by gearing financial support to the number of young members.

6. The Board of the SDB should be enlarged and made more representative. A more effective way of appointing Board members is needed. The Director of the Leisure & Cultural Services Department does not need to be an ex-officio member.

7. The SDB should draw up the development plan for sport, in consultation with others.

8. The development plan must include a strategy for the construction of sports facilities.

9. A development fund for constructing sports facilities should be created.

10. The development plan should be adopted as the official Government plan for sport.

11. The SDB should be responsible for executing the development plan, assisted by the Leisure & Cultural Services Department.

Sports Federation
and Olympics
Committee of Hong Kong,
China (SF&OC)
1. The Consultancy Report fails to tackle the fundamental problems of funding, distribution of resources, and differing priorities in management of future sports.

2. SF&OC's representatives on any board of the Hong Kong Sports Development Board should enjoy parity with SDB.

3. SDB should transfer its whole marketing promotion section to the SF&OC for the benefit of the National Sports Associations on one hand and to reduce its own costs on the other.

4. The future role of SDB is to advise on the government on sports development and to take care of the administrative work of the Sports Institute, which should be left alone to concentrate on sports training as long as the emphasis is still on focus sports.

5. SF&OC, as the representatives of the National Sports Associations (NSAs), must have great input into the SDB, especially over the criteria and the application of their criteria in sports development and the choosing of focus sports or focus talents.

6. The SDB's subcommittee on focus sports concept should look into all aspects of SDB and the Government should not act on the consultant's recommendations until the subcommittee had formulated its views.

7. The future Department of Culture and Leisure Services must privatize or contract out the management and maintenance of facilities to companies with the proviso that they retain and retrain the existing staff force in charge of the arts, culture, recreation and sports facilities.

8. The Consultancy Report has not mentioned any plan of the future Department of Culture and Leisure Services to ensure ready access by schools to sports facilities.

9. Emphasis on focus sports rather than focus talents is wrong in concept.

10. The government should steer sports, arts and culture in a general direction without too much overt interference.


Legislative Council Secretariat
15 May 1999