LC Paper No. CB(1)1448/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)
LegCo Panel on Planning, Lands and Works
Members present :
Minutes of special meeting
held on Thursday, 29 April 1999, at 2:30 pm
in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP (Chairman)
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Public officers attending:
Clerk in attendance :
- For item I
- Mr Patrick LAU
- Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (Planning and Lands)
- Mr Raymond HO
- Chief Assistant Secretary for Works
- Mr LAU Chung-tim
- Assistant Director of Lands (Survey & Mapping)
- Dr Kenneth TANG
- Senior Town Planner/Computer Systems
and Services (2), Planning Department
- Mr CHEUNG Tin-cheung
- Chief Officer / Management
- For item II
- Mr W S CHAN
- Deputy Secretary for Works (Works Policy)
- Mr Raymond HO
- Chief Assistant Secretary for Works
- Mr K P MOK
- Assistant Director/Administration & Planning
Water Supplies Department
- Mr T H LO
- Assistant Director / Electrical & Mechanical
Drainage Services Department
- Miss Odelia LEUNG,
- Chief Assistant Secretary (1)1
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Mary TANG,
- Senior Assistant Secretary (1)2
I.Progress of Year 2000 compliance exercise in Government departments and non-government organisations funded or regulated by Government (Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau)
(LC Paper Nos. CB(1)1079, 1111, 1188 and 1190/98-99)
At the invitation of the Chairman, the Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (Lands and Planning) (DS/PEL) reported the updated progress of Y2K compliance exercise in Government departments within the purview of the Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau (PELB). According to DS/PEL, three more mission-critical systems were confirmed as Y2K compliant or rectified since 15 March 1999. Hence, of the total 70 mission-critical systems, as at the date of this meeting, 58 systems were Y2K compliant; five systems would be rectified by resetting the clock on or after 1 January 2000; and the remaining seven systems would be rectified before the end of June 1999.
2.Responding to Mr HO Sai-chu's concern about the Y2K problem of systems in related organisations, the Chief Assistant Secretary for Works (Information Technology) (CAS/W) said that PELB was monitoring the Y2K readiness of its service providers and business partners and would ensure the continuity of critical businesses under its purview. Representatives of departments then explained the compliance position of individual departments as follows -
|(a)||The Assistant Director of Lands (AD/L) said that the computer systems in the Lands Department were related mainly to the provision of information and data to the public and its service providers and would not be seriously affected by the Y2K problem.|
|(b)||The Senior Town Planner/Computer Systems and Services (2), Planning Department (STP) said that the Town Planning Information System (a Geographical Information System) was the most important computer system in the Planning Department and had been rectified and confirmed to be Y2K compliant. Both hardwares and softwares had been upgraded to be Y2K compliant. To ensure compatibility, service providers and consultants had been kept informed of the relevant information.|
|(c)||The Chief Officer/Management, Buildings Department (CO/M) said that the Buildings Department was liaising with management companies concerning Y2K compliant of building facilities. As the Department provided emergency services which depended heavily on line communication, it was discussing with paging companies in this aspect.
3. On the Chairman's enquiry on the progress of Y2K compliance of the Land Development Corporation (LDC), DS/PEL advised that there were three mission-critical systems in LDC. Two were related to the storage of information and one to the dissemination of information. All these systems had been confirmed as Y2K compliant or rectified.
4. As regards testing, CAS/W confirmed that this was part of the rectification process. Testing was performed in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Information Technology and Broadcasting (ITB) Bureau and high-risk Y2K dates had been used in the testing process. All testings were expected to be completed by late June 1999.
5. Mr LAU Kong-wah was concerned about the Y2K compliance of service providers and business partners of Government departments since their compliance or otherwise would directly affect the Government systems. He enquired whether the computer systems of business partners were subject to testing for Y2K compliance. CAS/W said that where the service provider was a Government department, testing was done in accordance with the standards set by ITB Bureau. In the case of a private company, the Administration would rely on the terms of the contract or the company's undertaking on compliance with Y2K. DS/PEL added that with the completion of the rectification work of the departments within the purview of PELB in June 1999, departments under PELB would further strengthen liaison with business partners and services providers on the progress of their Y2K compliance programme, in particular with upstream service providers to ensure service continuity. Although the Y2K compliance or otherwise of systems of service providers might not have a direct impact on departmental systems, the Administration would nevertheless ensure that the services provided to the public would not be adversely affected. DS/PEL stressed that service providers were bound by the terms of the contract in their delivery of services and action would be taken against them for unsatisfactory performance.
6. The Chairman sought information on risk assessment and the formulation of a comprehensive contingency plan. CAS/W said that the Administration would make an assessment of risk that might impact the transition to year 2000. The contingency plans for the departments within the purview of PELB were expected to be completed by July 1999. PELB aimed to complete a review of these plans by August 1999. A review on the overall Y2K readiness of critical businesses under PELB's purview would be conducted in October 1999. The set up and arrangement of emergency support for the imminent transition to the Year 2000 would be reviewed in November 1999. This review would look into the criteria for invoking the contingency plans and the activation mechanism.
7. Mr LAU Kong-wah suggested that the Administration should conduct combined testing to ensure the compatibility of different systems, in particular, the electricity supply systems. CAS/W said that departments could conduct testing on their systems under conditions of suspended electricity supply but it might not be necessary to conduct combined testing with electricity supply companies. Upon review of the contingency plans in August 1999, there would be a comprehensive study on the co-ordination of the different systems. DS/PEL noted Mr LAU's suggestion and said that PELB would consider the need for combined testing after the completion of rectification work in June 1999. He added that as the impact of suspension of electricity supply on the departmental systems was a broad issue, this would need to be discussed by the Steering Committee on Year 2000 Compliance chaired by the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting.
8. On the assessment of risk arising from potential Y2K computer failure, CAS/W said that there was no mission-critical system in PELB. As regards individual departments, the representatives of the Administration explained the assessment as follows -
- Lands Department
AD/L said that as the work of the Lands Department was mainly related to the registration of information, its exposure to risk was low.
- Planning Department
STP explained that the Town Planning Information System (a Geographical Information System) which was the most important system of the Planning Department dealt mainly with the production of Outline Zoning Plans (OZP). The production of OZPs was not likely to be affected by the Y2K problem and as such the risk involved was relatively low.
- Buildings Department
CO/M said that the highest risk of the Buildings Department was the emergency communication system which had to rely on the services provided by private paging companies.
9.Noting that the emergency communication system depended on the proper functioning of paging companies, the Chairman considered it necessary to set up a stand-by team to respond to emergency situations on rollover to 1 January 2000. This would avoid the difficulty of communicating with and locating the relevant officers in emergency. CO/M said that the Buildings Department would consider ways to lower the risks associated with a breakdown of the communication system.
10. Mr HO Sai-chu opined that the electricity supply companies should be able to rectify their systems and conduct testing without involving Government departments. As regards contingency planning, he considered that each department should be responsible for ensuring the completion of its own rectification work as well as that of its service providers by June 1999 such that more attention could be focused on the contingency measures in the months leading to year 2000. He agreed that a special team should be set up to deal with the rollover to 1 January 2000. He also stressed the need for back-up systems to protect the missing of important information contained in the departmental systems.
II Progress of Year 2000 compliance exercise in Government departments and non-government organisation funded or regulated by Government (Works Bureau)
(LC Paper Nos. CB(1)1190 and 1188/98-99(03))
11. The Deputy Secretary for Works (DS/W) briefly took members through the information paper which explained the present position of the Works Bureau (WB) and its seven works departments in their Y2K compliance programme. DS/W said that in order to obtain independent input for its Y2K compliance programme, WB had engaged an external consultant in January 1999 to review the Y2K compliance programme for two critical areas, namely, sewage treatment and water supply. These two areas were considered the most critical services provided to the public by the works departments. Together with the consultant, WB was drawing up the contingency plans for its works departments which were expected to be completed by July 1999, followed by a review of the plans in August 1999. A review on the overall Y2K readiness of critical businesses within WB's purview would be carried out in October 1999, while a review of the set up and arrangement of emergency support for the imminent transition would be conducted in November 1999.
12. The Chairman was concerned that the systems in WB and its works departments were complicated by the involvement of a number of business partners in the delivery of works contracts. DS/W said that the works departments were in close liaison with their business partners on the Y2K compliance programme. The programme had been regularly monitored at their meetings with business partners, which included contractors and consultants.
13. Mr HO Sai-chu was concerned that some companies might use Y2K problem as an excuse to destroy certain records, in particular payment records in respect of maintenance contracts, for advancement of personal interest. CAS/W assured members that the Architectural Services Department would take precautions to guard against any such possibility. ASD would carry out combined testing with their business partners to ensure service continuity.
14. The Chairman asked if the works departments had each compiled a checklist of associated systems, including those of their business partners, which would need to be closely monitored for Y2K compliance. DS/W said that the works departments would closely monitor the systems of business partners which were linked to their own computer systems.
15. The Chairman sought information on measures adopted by WB in dealing with emergency situations, for example slope failure, in which case the rescue operation would rely on the working of the communication system. DS/W said that there were three mission-critical systems in the Civil Engineering Department which were associated with slope safety. These included a slope information system, a rainfall measurement system and a database for slope features. All these systems were expected to be rectified and confirmed as Y2K compliant by June 1999. In assessing the risk of the different systems, WB had also taken into account weather conditions. The risk of slope failure would be low in the rollover to 1 January 2000 because it would then be in the dry season. CAS/W added that to facilitate communication in emergency situations, the Administration would include in the contingency plan a communication system for departmental staff involved in emergency control, together with a system of back-up support in case of communication failure.
III Any other business
16. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 3:15 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
4 June 1999