For discussion EC(96-97)29
on 1 July 1996
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 142 - GOVERNMENT SECRETARIAT : OFFICES OF THE CHIEF SECRETARY AND THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY
Subhead 001 Salaries
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Administration Wing of the Chief Secretary's Office -
1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade C
(D2) ($95,550 - $101,450)
There is a need for an officer at the appropriate level to improve the co-ordination of Legislative Council business within the Administration and to improve liaison between the Administration and the Legislative Council (LegCo).
2. The Director of Administration (D of Adm) proposes to create one permanent post of Administrative Officer Staff Grade C (AOSGC) (D2) to improve the co-ordination of LegCo business within the Administration and to improve liaison between the Administration and LegCo.
3. The Administration Wing of the Chief Secretary's Office is responsible for the co-ordination of LegCo business within the Administration and serves as a focal point of liaison between the Administration and LegCo. In his 1995 Policy Address, the Governor emphasised the importance of co-operation between the Government and the Legislative Council. D of Adm also stated in his Policy Commitment that he would strengthen the Chief Secretary's Office to improve the co-ordination of Legislative Council-related business within the Administration and to provide better communication and liaison between the Administration and the Legislative Council.
4. Against this background, D of Adm, using his delegated authority, we created a supernumerary AOSGC post authority on 1 October 1995. The title of the post is Assistant Director of Administration (3) (ADA3). The main duties performed by ADA3 over the past nine months have been -
- liaising with LegCo Members;
- co-ordinating information on LegCo business and distributing it to the relevant Policy Branches;
- giving advice to Branches on LegCo business; and
- overseeing other LegCo-related matters such as accommodation for LegCo and LegCo Members' remuneration.
5. D of Adm has carefully reviewed the work done by ADA3 and has come to the view that there is a need to create the post on a permanent basis to carry out these tasks efficiently. The following paragraphs explain the reasons for this recommendation.
6. D of Adm has policy responsibility for various 'house-keeping' matters concerning LegCo and acts as the central co-ordinating point for information on LegCo business. It is therefore necessary for the Administration Wing to maintain regular contact with LegCo, notwithstanding the fact that there is also regular liaison between LegCo and all Policy Branches on issues within the responsibility of these Branches.
7. Within the Administration Wing, contact with LegCo Members and the LegCo Secretariat is presently maintained by D of Adm, one of the two Deputy Directors of Administration and ADA3. As the two former officials have other responsibilities, only ADA3 can work full time on LegCo matters. Since October 1995, he has established extensive and useful contacts with many LegCo Members and the LegCo Secretariat. This has helped enhance the mutual exchange of views and understanding, thereby facilitating the efficient handling of business between the Administration and LegCo. Without anpermanent ADA3 post on a standing basis, the absence of the undivided attention of an experienced officer would weaken the effective communication between the Administration Wing and LegCo.
8. As the Administration Wing maintains an overview of all LegCo matters, it is able to advise Branches on various issues concerning LegCo such as the interpretation of LegCo Standing Orders and the procedures for introducing bills and proposals into LegCo. ADA3 is responsible for this advisory role( D of Adm should provide relevant statistics to illustrate the workload?)matters relating to the interpretation of LegCo Standing Orders and other LegCo procedures. Moreover, in line with LegCo's request that the Administration should put major legislative and financial proposals to LegCo Panels before introducing them into LegCo or Finance Committee, ADA3 also advises Branches on whether to consider a particular proposal "major" and therefore put it tointroduced into a LegCo Panel (any statistics?).
9. The Administration Wing needs to liaise closely with senior staff of the LegCo Secretariat and LegCo Members who put forward questions or motions to ensure that the wording of the questions and motions is clear and the drafting is in conformity with the requirements of LegCo Standing Orders. It is also responsible for deciding which Branches should respond to LegCo questions and motions, and advises the Chief Secretary should Branches disagree over who in the Government should take the lead on a particular issue before LegCo. In discharging these responsibilities, the Administration Wing needs to work closely with senior officers in the Policy Branches. Given the high level liaison work, knowledge of Government operation and the analytical abilities required, This D of Adm considers that a directorate officer at AOSGC level is appropriate.
10. The Administration Wing is responsible for other related issues between the Administration and LegCo, such as remuneration for LegCo Members, LegCo accommodation and liaison with the LegCo Secretariat on procedural matters.
11. ADA3 is responsible for preparing discussion papers for the Commission on Remuneration for the Members of the Legislative Council. He has to analyse various issues in consultation with the relevant Branches concerned and make clear and succinct recommendations for the Commission to consider. Sincehas held 4 meetings since October 1995, he has prepared six papers for the Commission's consideration at its four4 meetings. In addition, he is responsible for preparing the relevant Executive Council and Finance Committee papers to implement the Commission's recommendations.
12. Furthermore, ADA3 is responsible for co-ordinating Government's efforts to acquire additional accommodation for LegCo. The objectives are to address the problem of space shortfall faced by LegCo and to reduce the inconvenience caused by the scattering of LegCo facilities in different locations. The available area of the additional accommodation now purchased still falls short of LegCo's full requirement. ADA3 therefore needs to continue to liaise with the relevant Government departments and LegCo to explore the possibility of purchasing additional space to meet the remaining shortfall. He will also need to maintain close liaison with the relevant works departments and the LegCo Secretariat to ensure that the fitting out of the new premises and the removal of the existing LegCo offices proceed smoothly.
13. ADA3 also liaises with the LegCo Secretariat over procedural matters, e.g. amendments to the LegCo Standing Orders and the implementation of any new procedures passed by LegCo, to ensure that Branches are aware of and do comply with the updated procedures.
14. D of Adm also intends to ask the incumbent of the ADA3 post, if created, to manage the Government's legislative programme. As the number of legislative proposals suggested by Policy Branches each year usually exceeds the LegCo slots available, a Committee on Legislative Priorities under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary meets regularly to consider the merits and importance of each proposal and to allocate LegCo slots to Policy Branches. The Administration Wing is responsible for co-ordinating the proposals from branches for the Committee's consideration and subsequently for ensuring their orderly introduction into LegCo. This work is at present carried out by a Senior Administrative Officer (SAO, MPS point 45-49.....). Experience indicates that since this work involves liaison with senior officers of the relevant Policy Branches, the Law Draftsman and the LegCo Secretariat as well as requires judgement on priorities between competing bids, an experienced officer at directorate level is more appropriate for the task.paragraph 17 below), we propose that the work should be taken up by ADA3. However, to ensure the orderly introduction of public bills into LegCo, the desk officer has to liaise effectively with the Branches and the Law Draftsman, as well as the LegCo Secretariat. This requires the experience and skill of a directorate officer.
15. Should Members approve the proposed creation of the ADA3 post, D of Adm will downgrade the SAO post to AO level (MPS point 27-44...).
16. Based on the experience in the past nine months when an ADA3 is in post, D of Adm is of the view that there is definitely a need to strengthen the Administration's ability to co-ordinate the handling of LegCo business within the Administration and to improve its liaison with LegCo Members. The Administration will not be able to keep up its present level of activities in this area once the present supernumerary ADA3 post lapses.
17. The proposed duty list of ADA3 and the proposed organisation chart for the Administration Wing are at Enclosures 1 and 2.
18. The additional notional annual salary cost of the proposal at
mid-point is -
No. of Post
New permanent post
The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $2,128,680.
19. In addition, this proposal will necessitate the creation of one personal secretary I (PS I) post at a notional annual mid-point salary cost of $239,880 and a full annual average staff cost of $347,826. D of Adm considers the PS I post essential given the amount of liaison work that the proposed ADA3 needs to handle.
20. Furthermore, as mentioned in paragraph 15, D of Adm will downgrade an SAO post to AO level upon the creation of the proposed ADA3 post. This proposed downgrading will result in savings of $266,520 and $ 856,464 in terms of notional annual mid-point salary (NAMS) and annual average staff cost respectively.
21. We have included sufficient provision in the 1996-97 Estimates to meet the cost of the proposal.
22. Exercising his delegated authority, D of AdmWe created a supernumerary ADA3 post at AOSGC level on a trial basis with effect from 1 October 1995 for 6 months. When the post its lapsed on 1 April 1996, the Secretary for the Civil Service loaned an AOSGC post to the Administration Wing for the period up to 31 July 1996 in order to conduct a comprehensive review of the need for the post over the whole of the 1995/96 LegCo session. As explained in the foregoing paragraphs, the review of the trial has demonstrated the continued need for a permanent ADA3 post ranked at AOSGC level to improve the co-ordination of LegCo business within the Administration and to improve liaison between the Administration and LegCo.
23. The Civil Service Branch supports the proposal and agrees to the ranking of the proposed post at AOSGC.
24. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.
Offices of the Chief Secretary and the Financial Secretary
Enclosure 1 to EC(96-97)29
- Liaising with and maintaining regular contacts with LegCo Members.
- Maintaining a centralised information system on LegCo business and ensuring that the relevant Branches and Departments get this information in good time for their necessary action.
- Giving advice to Branches on all LegCo issues.
- Managing the legislative priorities programme to ensure the orderly introduction of public bills into LegCo.
- Dealing with other LegCo-related issues, including remuneration for LegCo Members, LegCo accommodation and the revision of LegCo Standing Orders.
- Developing policy on issues concerning the relationship between LegCo and the Administration.
Enclosure 2 to EC(96-97)29
Warning : The chart is quite large and may take some time to download.
Last Updated on 3 December 1998