For discussion EC(97-98)41
on 3 December 1997


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to the Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Printing Department -

    1 Chief Printing Superintendent
    (D1) ($92,650 - $98,300)

offset by the deletion of the following permanent post in the department - 1 Senior Printing Superintendent
(MPS 45 - 49) ($72,135 - $83,105)


The ranking of the Senior Printing Superintendent (SPS) post heading the Works Branch of the Printing Department (PD) does not reflect adequately the required level of responsibility.


2. We propose to upgrade the SPS post (MPS 45 - 49) to Chief Printing Superintendent (CPS) (D1).


3. PD is organised into two operational branches, namely the Planning and Services Branch headed by a CPS (CPS(PS)) and the Works Branch headed by an SPS (SPS(W)). The Planning and Services Branch controls the quality and stock of paper and printing materials, provides estimates, production schedules, and gives advice to government departments on requirements for printing machinery and services. The Works Branch oversees the actual production process - origination, printing and finishing work, including the printing of security documents. It is responsible for ensuring that the job production schedules are met.

4. The present directorate structure with Government Printer (GP) underpinned by only one D1 officer has remained unchanged since 1978, though PD's volume of production has more than trebled and the estimates of the department increased by 865% over these years. With increasing emphasis on serving the community and a greater need to explain the work and policies of Government to the public, Government departments have significantly increased their demand for printing work, in both quantity and quality. To respond to these demands, PD has to strive to shorten delivery times and produce higher quality printing. To meet the higher expectation of client departments, PD has recently further improved two of its performance pledges - the supply and distribution of general government forms from four weeks to three weeks; and the printing and delivery of departmental forms from within three months to within two months. Moreover, since June 1995, departments may use their own funds to cover the cost of any non-standard printing jobs, such as printing orders requiring printing standards higher than GP is able to fund under his printing vote. This arrangement gives departments greater flexibility to order printing jobs whenever necessary to meet their policy and operational objectives. As a result of the change, there is an ever increasing number of jobs with complex specifications. Until recently, PD would control the choice of materials and number of colours for a job. Today, in order to suit their own requirements, departments may use any material they wish and order printing in multi-colours, in any size; and additional features such as laminating, embossing, blocking, etc. are common. The number of non-standard jobs handled by PD rose from 764 in 1995-96 to 1 183 in 1996-97.

5. To cope with all the above developments, the role and the job nature of the head of the Works Branch have changed and become more demanding in recent years. There is an increasing need for a more senior officer in order to do the job more effectively. The changes in the role and job nature of the head of the Works Branch are explained below -

  1. Planning and monitoring of the production process

    When previously PD handled mostly routine, bulk printing work, it would be easier for the department to schedule its work based on machine capacity and utilisation. In order to deal with the growing and more complex requirements for printing services, it is necessary for the department to have better strategic planning. GP needs to constantly assess changes in service demand and to formulate plans on how such requirements can be met effectively through the best combination of resource acquisition, process re-engineering and priority setting. GP needs substantial input from the head of the Works Branch in this regard. In order to strengthen such input, it is considered essential to upgrade the present ranking of SPS(W) to CPS level so that GP can have the necessary assistance in production capacity planning, formulating contracting-out strategy, and monitoring and controlling the in-house production service to ensure cost-effectiveness.

    To cope with the challenges on a day to day basis, the head of the Works Branch also needs to have the necessary skills and ability to exercise flexible planning and effective overall coordination so that work can be re-prioritised whenever necessary to meet urgent or unforeseen printing requirements and users?general expectations for shorter delivery time. He has to decide whether it would be more cost-effective for certain non-standard jobs to be contracted out. He needs to take a broad view by constantly monitoring and reviewing the production processes and techniques so that high standards of accuracy, consistency and reliability are maintained amid the growth both in volume and diversity of printing requirements, and that continuous improvements can be made.

  2. Use of modern technology

    In recent years printing technology has changed dramatically with most equipment being computerised. Bilingual typesetting, colour printing and graphic reproduction are now highly advanced with the use of very sophisticated software. Complex digital reproduction has replaced photographic processes. Printing machines now operate at about twice the speed of a few years ago and they are also computerised to aid control. These technological and scientific advances in the printing industry continue to change at a rapid pace. It is important for PD to keep abreast of the latest developments in this area in order to maintain the cost-effectiveness and upgrade the quality of its printing services. The head of the Works Branch is therefore required to have a good grasp of all such new technology, and its application and relevance to PD's work. He needs to be proactive and have the necessary foresight to plan ahead on the application of the new technology and equipment, and the need to adjust the operation of the department to realise fully the benefits of these changes.

  3. Manpower planning

    The head of the Works Branch is also facing an increasingly important task of efficient manpower planning. He needs to maintain a high quality service to meet departments?higher expectations of delivery time and printing standard through better trained staff rather than an increase in number of staff. The workforce under the supervision of SPS(W) has remained fairly stable over the past years (from 346 in 1992-93 to 347 in 1994-95 and 348 since 1996-97). He has to continue to strive for increases in productivity by more efficient use of resources through better manpower planning and training together with the proper adoption of new technology. He has to ensure that adequate training is provided to staff in the use of modern technology, in particular to guard against spoilt work, the risk of which becomes higher with faster production, and to enable them to meet the challenge of providing customer-oriented services.

  4. Liaison with client departments and contractors

    In view of the rapid changes in printing technology and customers?requirements and expectations, GP finds it necessary to meet user requirements not just through dutifully observing the requirements set by departments, but also by proactively discussing with departments, based on PD's professional expertise and operational experience, ways through which departments?needs can be met more effectively and efficiently. The head of the Works Branch therefore has to maintain frequent and close liaison with departments. As printed materials are instrumental in publicising departments?policy objectives and plans, he often has to deal with officers at directorate levels in the user departments, helping them to define their printing needs and analysing with them the most economic and effective means of achieving the desired results. In contracted-out cases, he has to advise departments on all technical issues in the tender specifications, help them to liaise with contractors and monitor the performance of the contractors. To enhance the effectiveness in this important aspect of work, the head of Works Branch should be of sufficient seniority to communicate effectively with the senior officers in the user departments.

All the above changes mean that the head of the Works Branch will need to be a more senior officer who can provide more effective leadership and possess the right level of skills and experience to do the necessary strategic thinking, decision making and forward planning for the programmes under the Works Branch . We therefore propose to upgrade the SPS(W) post to CPS, to be designated as CPS(W). The job description for the proposed CPS(W) and the proposed organisation chart are at Enclosures 1 and 2 respectively.


7. The additional notional annual salary of the proposal at mid-point is -

$ No. of Post
New permanent CPS post1,144,200 1
Less  Permanent SPS post deleted 929,2201


The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-cost, is $365,292.

8. We have included sufficient provision in the 1997-98 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.


9. The Civil Service Bureau supports the creation of the proposed post and considers the ranking and grading of the new post appropriate having regard to its duties and level of responsibilities.


10. 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.

Finance Bureau
November 1997

Enclosure 1 to EC(97-98)41

Job Description for
Chief Printing Superintendent (Works)

Grade/Rank : Chief Printing Superintendent (D1)

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Responsible to the Government Printer for coordinating the activities of the Works Divisions on all direct production to achieve the effective and economical application of available resources. His main duties and responsibilities include -

  1. assisting GP in strategic planning and formulation of policies relating to the provision of printing services by the department, mainly on the production side;

  2. coordinating the activities of Works Divisions, prescribing standard operating procedures, and monitoring the production process to ensure timely delivery of quality products;

  3. liaising with client departments on how their printing requirements can be best produced;

  4. vetting and advising on tender specifications and procurement orders, and monitoring contractors?performance to ensure value for money purchases;

  5. exploring the development and application of modern techniques and methods to improve production efficiency and effectiveness;

  6. planning and directing the maintenance of relevant documentation for production purposes;

  7. enforcing occupational safety regulations and reviewing working conditions and environment from time to time to ensure work safety;

  8. overseeing the manpower planning, training and development of the Works Divisions;

  9. coordinating the financial planning of the Works divisions;

  10. ensuring that the quality of production complies with the required standards of the HKQAA accredited ISO 9002 Scheme of Quality Assurance; and

  11. chairing various departmental committees, and serving as a member of the departmental Management Committee.

Last Updated on 4 December 1997