Establishment Subcommittee

Minutes of the proceedings of the Meeting held on
9 July 1996 at 10:45 a.m. in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members Present :

    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, OBE, JP
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing

Member Attending :

    Hon James TO Kun-sun

Members Absent :

    Hon Allen LEE Peng-fei, CBE, JP
    Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, OBE, LLD, JP
    Dr Hon Edward LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP

Public Officers Attending :

Mr Clement CHEUNG Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare
Mr D B GOULD Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (Medical)
Mr W H HO Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (Welfare)
Mr Ian STRACHAN, JP Director of Social Welfare
Mrs Annette TANG Departmental Secretary, Social Welfare Department
Mr K K KWOK, JP Deputy Secretary for Works
Mr H B PHILLIPSON, JP Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services
Mr S H LAI Assistant Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services
Mr P G WINDER Development Manager of Electrical and Mechanical Services
Mr Esmond LEE Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
Mrs Carrie YAU, JP Acting Secretary for Security
Mr TSANG Yam-pui, QPM, CPM Deputy Commissioner of Police

In Attendance :

Mr Kevin HO, JP Deputy Secretary for the Treasury
Mr Mike STONE, JP Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service
Mrs Lilian WONG Principal Executive Officer (General), Finance Branch
Miss Pauline NG Assistant Secretary General
Mrs Constance LI Clerk to the Establishment Subcommittee
Mr Andy LAU Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)

EC(96-97)33 Proposed creation of a permanent post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2) in the Health and Welfare Branch to cope with the increase in complexity and volume of work relating to the medical and health policy issues

A member asked whether the recent decision of the Executive Council (ExCo) on the control of tobacco advertising would have any implications on the workload of the proposed D2 post. In reply, the Deputy Secretary for Health and Welfare advised that tobacco control covered a wider area of work than just advertising control. Instead of reducing the work of the D2 post, the ExCo decision against advertising control would give rise to the need for more research in the area. In addition, the proposed post would also be heavily involved in other policy areas in relation to medical and health for which reviews were being carried out in areas like health care reform and reproductive technology.

2. The items was voted on and endorsed.

EC(96-97)34 Proposed creation of three permanent posts of one Deputy Director of Social Welfare (D3), one Assistant Director of Social Welfare (D2) and one Assistant Director of Accounting Services (D2) partly offset by the deletion of a permanent post of Chief Treasury Accountant (D1) in the Social Welfare Department to meet the increasing workload and responsibilities

3. Several members expressed doubts on the need for two additional directorate posts, particularly the additional Deputy Director (DD) post, in the Social Welfare Department (SWD).

4. In response, the Director of Social Welfare (DSW) advised that there had been a substantial and rapid growth in the scope, volume and complexity of the work of the department. Apart from the various new developments such as the review of services for the elderly and disabled, the department was also required to monitor the services provided by the non-government organisations which had a growth rate of about 47% in the past five years. At present, the department was the second largest in terms of public expenditure.

5. As regards the ranking of the DD post in departments, the Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service (DS/CS) advised that there was no scientific formula for the purpose, but a Group II department such as SWD could have more than one DD ranked at D3 level in accordance with the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service and indeed several Group II departments did have more than one Deputy. While members generally agreed that there had been an increase in the responsibilities of the department, the responsibilities were mainly operational and they considered that an additional D2 post would suffice. In response, DSW advised that this would give rise to an unrealistically large span of control under the existing DD, who was the only DD in the department.

6. After discussion, members considered that there were insufficient justifications in the paper for creating two directorate posts for the department, and requested that the subject be discussed urgently by the LegCo Panel on Welfare Services to ascertain the increase in responsibilities of the department in relation to the request for two additional directorate posts.


7. In view of members’ comments, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (DS/Tsy) withdrew the paper to enable the Welfare Services Panel to discuss the proposals on 12 July 1996. With the consent of members, the Chairman agreed that an additional meeting would be held on 17 July 1996 to consider the proposal to be re-submitted by the Administration.

8. The proposal was withdrawn by the Administration.


Proposed changes in establishment in the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department in order to effectively manage the Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund and other activities of the department

9. On the justification of the additional posts, the Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services (DEMS) advised that with the setting up of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund (EMSTF), the department would deliver its services on strict commercial principles. To adapt to the new mode of operation, the department would have to introduce a number of changes to the existing organisation and business culture. The changes and new initiatives would have to be steered by experienced officers at directorate level. In reply to members, DEMS advised that given a revenue budget of over $2,500 million a year, it would be crucial to engage senior officers of the right calibre to develop and steer the new business plans for the EMSTF.

10. Members enquired on the possibility of downgrading the Trading Services Manager and the Financial Manager posts upon the completion of the development work after the initial stage of operation. In reply, DEMS advised that these posts would be required on a permanent basis to ensure that business goals would be achieved, and that new service demands be met efficiently.

11. As regards the service target of the EMSTF, the Deputy Secretary for Works (DS/W) advised that, as stated in the Business Plan, the Trading Fund was committed to improving the productivity by 15% by the year 2001, i.e. at a rate of 3% per year. The department would adopt a progressive approach in improving productivity, and the staff would be consulted on ways to achieve the target. In this respect, the DS/W advised that annual reports would be submitted to the Legislative Council for members’ information.

12. On the arrangement that Government departments would be required to continue to use EMSD’s services in the first three years, DEMS advised that during the three-year period, departments were tied to use EMSD’s service but they might start looking for alternative service suppliers. A phased ‘untying’ programme which would take a further three years to complete had been committed. In reply to members, DEMS advised that services which had security implications would continue to be provided by EMSD, but these services only took up a small percentage of the services provided by EMSD. On the existing market share of the EMSD services, the Assistant Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services advised that 40% of its business came from the two municipal councils and the Hospital Authority, 20% from services with security implications and the remaining 40% from the maintenance of electrical and mechanical installations in government buildings.

13. The item was voted on and endorsed.

EC(96-97)36 Proposed creation of a supernumerary post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (D2) for a period of two years to head a dedicated urban renewal team in the Lands and Planning Division of the Planning, Environment and Lands Branch

14. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Proposed creation of 11 permanent posts and deletion of 15 permanent posts of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force to effect organisational changes in the Police directorate necessary to maintaining the efficiency and effectiveness of the Police Force

15. With the agreement of the Chairman, the Secretary for Security’s reply to questions raised by a Finance Committee member (who was not a member of the Sub-committee) was tabled at the meeting. To facilitate members to read the additional information, the Chairman adjourned the meeting for five minutes at 11:40 a.m.

16. Upon resumption of the meeting, Mr James TO, who was not a member of the Subcommittee, raised questions on the proposed top command structure in the Police. He expressed serious doubts about the need for some of the proposed directorate posts. He considered that the additional responsibilities described in the paper could be met by re-deployment of the existing resources.

17. In response, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DC of P) advised that the proposed re-organisation was based on the recommendations of a management review on the Police Top Command Structure. To implement the recommendations, the organisational changes had already started on a trial basis, and the proposal was to make these changes permanent.

18. On the justifications of the Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) post in the Crime Wing (Headquarters), DC of P advised that, in addition to the administrative duties, the proposed post would also have to deal with new legislation and Legislative Council business concerning crime matters. By way of example, in 1992-94 the officer in this post had been required to review all existing Police-related ordinances to ensure the provisions therein were consistent with the Bill of Rights Ordinance (BOR). This involved extensive research and consultation with the Force and Legal Department. Responding to a member’s question on the adequacy of training of BOR for members of the Police Force, DC of P advised that such training had been included for all new recruits in addition to those for existing staff. He assured members that Police staff were now familiar with the BOR provisions.

19. Some members queried the need to have a full-time CSP post to deal with matters on staff relations and conditions of service. They considered that these duties could be absorbed by the existing CSP (Personnel Management) and CSP (Personnel Services). In reply, DC of P clarified that the CSP post dealing with staff relations was an existing post within Personnel Wing. In view of the large and complex establishment of the Police Force, three full-time CSPs would be required to ensure adequate top level support for a wide range of personnel functions including recruitment, career postings, promotion, discipline, quarters, welfare, etc. The CSP (Staff Relations and Conditions of Service) was to concentrate on matters which required swift and tactful handling in order to maintain good morale and staff relations within the Force. He needed to maintain regular liaison with the Police staff associations, monitor indebtedness of the Police Officers, deal with and research into conditions of service issues such as working hours of the Force which were complicated in nature. A dedicated post was therefore required for the purpose. In this regard, the Chairman remarked that as far as the three posts of the Personnel Wing were concerned, they involved only the retitling of the posts and no additional post was required.

20. Some members also considered that the job description of a CSP post for research and inspection unclear. After discussion, some members remained unconvinced of the need for some of the proposed directorate posts. They urged the Administration to further consider the possibility of staff re-deployment.

21. At the request of a member, the Chairman adjourned the meeting for ten minutes to facilitate members’ deliberations on the paper. Upon resumption of the meeting, members of the Democratic Party remarked that after careful consideration of the proposals on the basis of the available information, they had doubts and reservations on the staffing proposals of some CSP posts for the Personnel Wing and the Service Quality Wing. They requested the Administration to provide supplementary information to the LegCo Panel on Security urgently for deliberations, together with the job descriptions of the six posts to be deleted in the Special Branch, before resubmitting the item to the Subcommittee for consideration.

22. In view of members’ comments, DS/Tsy withdrew the proposal, pending a briefing by the Administration for the LegCo Panel on Security before re-submitting the proposal to the Subcommittee.


23. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 12: 40 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
18 July 1996

Last Updated on 27 November 1998