For discussion
on on 14 January 1998


Subhead 001 Salaries

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

1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade B1

(D4) ($145,150 - $149,600)

offset by the deletion of the following permanent post -

1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade B

(D3) ($127,900 - $135,550)


The present rank of the Government Property Administrator does not reflect adequately the current level of responsibility and the expanding and increasingly complex workload handled by the Government Property Agency.


2. We propose to upgrade the post of Government Property Administrator from Administrative Officer Staff Grade B (AOSGB) (D3) to Administrative Officer Staff Grade B1 (AOSGB1) (D4).


3. The head of the Government Property Agency, designated as Government Property Administrator (GPA), has been pitched at AOSGB level since April 1991. Over the years, the Agency has taken on a much more active and strategic role than just daily management, leasing and purchase of government properties. In leading the Agency to manage an ever-increasing portfolio and undertake new initiatives in an efficient and cost-effective manner, the responsibilities of the GPA have become heavier and more complicated. His responsibilities will continue to grow as the Agency further steps up its activities on various fronts. The increasing complexities in the responsibilities of GPA are explained in detail below.

(a) A more proactive and strategic approach to site utilisation

4. Land is a scarce resource in Hong Kong. It is therefore of the utmost importance that sites designated and used for Government, Institution and Community (GIC) purposes are put to their full use. We have pledged in the Finance Bureau's Policy Programme under the 1997 Policy Address that we will implement various initiatives in order to optimise the full potential of Government's estate. This will not only help to meet Government's own accommodation needs more efficiently, maximise the value of Government's estate, but also expedite the release of under-utilised sites surplus to requirement for other development purposes including providing the much needed land for housing.

5. To achieve our policy objective, GPA is playing a more strategic and proactive role in site utilisation matters. For developed sites which are under-utilised, he will review the existing uses and work closely with the policy bureaux/departments concerned to identify which sites can be released for redevelopment and work out a reprovisioning programme for the affected existing facilities. For sites which are reserved for GIC purposes, GPA will take an overview on how these sites could be put to their full use. He will discuss with concerned parties to ensure that any development proposals for the sites have taken into account the need for optimisation of site utilisation. Where necessary, he will identify and coordinate joint-user development for the sites in order to optimise its development. For new sites to be reserved for GIC uses, GPA will be consulted at an early stage of the planning so that he could look at the site utilisation issue and advise on whether such a reservation is necessary taking into account overall GIC needs and other site reservation in the area as a whole.

6. In the process, GPA has to be closely involved on both the strategic planning level and on a case by case basis. To facilitate the early release of under-utilised sites, he will have to work out satisfactory reprovisioning options for existing users. He has to consider departments' operational requirements, community needs, and also the possibility of joint development with the private sector when it is more viable to incorporate Government's requirements in private developments. On new proposals, he will as appropriate have to persuade his clients to accept modifications of and alterations to their original proposals. All this involves sensitive handling and proactive action, particularly given the divergent interests involved, the need for careful planning and timing to minimise the disruption to existing users and meet their long-term needs. A lot of strategic thinking, priority setting, problem solving, high-level co-ordination and negotiation are required in the process.

7. As a result of the Agency's active involvement in site utilisation matters, GPA will lead a multi-disciplinary task force with expertise in different aspects including land, building management, valuation, architectural design and town planning, to work out comprehensive and viable plans, negotiate with departments, promote joint-user concept, resolve differences between departments, and implement the plans promptly. His span of control and the demands on his managerial skills and leadership will increase accordingly.

(b) Meeting Government's accommodation needs effectively

8. The Agency has striven to maximise the use of Government office accommodation through more efficient use of space. The Agency has to vet departments' requirements carefully against the approved standards of provision. Where operational requirements are not covered adequately by existing guidelines, the Agency has to discuss and negotiate with departments concerned on how their needs can be met in the most cost effective manner. GPA's personal involvement is often necessary in order to gain direct access to heads of departments to resolve differences quickly.

9. In recent years, in meeting Government's shortfall in office space, the Agency has shifted the focus from purchase and leasing to building of self-owned government offices. Apart from the building projects in North Point and Cheung Sha Wan which are underway, the Agency will soon embark on new building projects in Kennedy Town, Sai Wan Ho and Shatin. In addition to new building projects, as pledged in our policy commitment, the Agency will plan for a vigorous programme of refurbishment of old government office buildings to preserve their value, modernise the internal design and improve the working environment.

10. The construction and refurbishment of government buildings is a complex process. It involves identifying and examining departmental needs, searching for joint-users, developing appropriate modern day design concepts, monitoring the project progress, ensuring that new offices are occupied promptly and vacated premises disposed of in a timely manner. The need to reprovision existing users and meet special operational requirements often involve the Agency in tough negotiations with departments. GPA's personal involvement is often necessary in order to have direct dialogue with heads of departments to persuade them to accept changes, for example, by putting offices in different locations under one roof or moving offices to less expensive areas.

11. Since construction and refurbishment projects take time and urgent requirements for additional accommodation would arise from time to time, the Agency still has to undertake leasing for the Government. This task is getting increasingly complicated because of departments' higher demands on their accommodation requirements in order to provide better service to the public on the one hand, and the Agency's objective of achieving savings in leasing expenditure on the other. GPA is responsible for formulating the leasing strategy and getting the best value for money for Government.

(c) Disposal of surplus quarters and sites and reprovisioning of sub-standard quarters

12. Since 1996, the Agency has undertaken a new activity of planning for the disposal of surplus non-departmental quarters. So far, a total of 173 units have been let and 82 units sold. The Agency will step up its efforts in the disposal of government quarters and sites, involving the letting and sale of individual units as well as release of sites for redevelopment. It will also reprovision sub-standard departmental quarters in order to meet departments' present day requirements and release valuable urban sites which these quarters occupy for other development.

13. The aims of the disposal of surplus quarters and the re-provisioning of departmental quarters are to increase the supply of large sized flats and residential sites, rationalise and modernise the stock of quarters, achieve maximum cost effectiveness and site utilisation, and obtain a fair return through the disposal of the assets which Government no longer requires. Given the high asset values involved and the sensitivities of the market place, GPA needs to possess the necessary business acumen to provide the necessary leadership. To expedite progress in the release of units/sites, he will have to be closely involved in the reprovisioning programmes and negotiate with staff representatives and departments affected.

(d) Exploitation of commercialisation opportunities in government buildings

14. The Agency has developed various commercialisation opportunities in government premises which have brought in additional revenue of $203.6 million in 1996-97, compared with $111.5 million in 1991-92. Since commercialisation initiatives in government premises can increase government's revenue, help business and provide convenience to the public, there is scope for identifying more new ideas and initiatives. The pursuit of business opportunities involves striking a careful balance between maximising commercial returns and safeguarding the primary purpose of providing good quality and effective services to the public. GPA's strong leadership and direct involvement is required for this expanding activity, which calls for innovative thinking, good commercial sense and negotiation skills.

(e) Building management

15. The Agency has planned for and implemented privatisation of the management of government offices and quarters. The result is that the quality of service has improved and savings achieved at $28 million a year at 1997 price level. It will continue to contract out the management of government properties as far as practicable. With a more customer-oriented culture, GPA has to play an active supervisory role in contract management and development of new mechanism to assure a good standard of service by private management agents. He has to plan for the effective redeployment of resources freed up by privatisation of building management and re-engineer the work of the Agency on more strategic issues. The sheer expansion in the Agency's portfolio resulting from the construction of more new government office buildings and the taking over of new premises and sites calls for better strategic management and planning.

The need for upgrading the post of GPA

16. In view of the growing importance and complexity of the work of the Agency, we consider that the Agency should be headed by an officer of sufficient seniority so as to provide the overall leadership and direction required. A more senior officer is particularly necessary to take forward our policy commitment of optimum site utilisation. We need an officer who has the depth and breadth of vision to draw up strategic plans, and the authority and skills to deal with heads of bureaux and departments and top management of other organisations to resolve differences quickly. We recommend pitching the post at the level of AOSGB1. The job description for the GPA is at Enclosure 1. The organisation chart of the Agency and the schedule of responsibilities of its various divisions are at Enclosures 2 and 3 respectively.


17. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at Mid-Point is -


No. of posts

New permanent post




Permanent post deleted



Additional cost



18. The additional full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $412,555. In addition, this proposal will directly result in the creation of one Senior Personal Secretary post offset by the deletion of one Personal Secretary I post. The additional notional mid-point salary cost is $89,280 and the additional full annual average staff cost is $185,364. The creation and deletion of the non-directorate posts will be dealt with departmentally under delegated authority.

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


20. Having regard to the increased responsibilities of the post of the Government Property Administrator, Civil Service Bureau agrees that its upgrading to AOSGB1 is appropriate.


21. 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

December 1997

Enclosure 1 to EC(97-98)49

Job Description

Post title : Government Property Administrator
Proposed rank : Administrative Officer Staff Grade B1 (D4)
Accountable to : Secretary for the Treasury

Main duties and responsibilities :

  1. To advise the Secretary for the Treasury in formulating and reviewing the policy aspects of the government property programme.

  2. To plan the effective utilisation and disposal of the government estate through the most appropriate means, including mapping out a strategy and a prioritised programme for redeveloping existing under-utilised government sites.

  3. To liaise with other heads of departments on their site and accommodation requirements and co-ordinate action to bring about the optimum degree of joint user development, including accommodation needed for social and community purposes.

  4. To manage efficiently and cost-effectively the government estate.

  5. To implement the property programme plan and manage the activities of the Government Property Agency on a day to day basis.

  6. To plan, co-ordinate and implement accommodation acquisition and disposal programmes so as to ensure the accommodation needs of the Government is met in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

  7. To oversee the identification of commercial potential and promotion of appropriate commercialisation activities in government properties.

Enclosure 3 to EC (97-98) 49


Main Responsibilities

Administrative Services Division

Planning, policy co-ordination and departmental finance and administration.

Estate Management Division

Planning, allocating, purchasing and leasing of accommodation for government use.

Building Management Division

(i) Provision of building management services to government offices and quarters.

(ii) Terms of land sale conditions, Deeds of Mutual Covenants and legal documentation relating to the provision of Government/Institution/Community facilities in private developments.

Estate Development Division

(i) Optimum utilisation of government land and Government/Institution/Community sites.

(ii) Release of under-utilised sites for disposal through Land Sales Programme.

(iii) Commercial activities in government properties.

(iv) Leasing out surplus government accommodation.

Technical Services Division

(i) Setting building design standards.

(ii) Monitoring government's building (office and quarter), fitting-out, maintenance/refurbishment and alterations/additions/improvement programmes.

(iii) Co-ordinating design and construction of new non-specialist multi-user government offices.

(iv) Technical advice.

Management Services Division

(i) Policies, standards and proposals on office space and furniture.

(ii) Assessing and advising on departmental accommodation needs, layout and fitting out requirements.

(iii) Conducting business systems, procedure reviews, development and implementing information technology facilities of the Agency.

(iv) Processing applications from voluntary agencies for the lease of surplus accommodation.

Special Duties Division

(i) Leasing out and management of former military facilities.

(ii) Leasing out and sale of surplus quarters.

(iii) Planning for the management and commercialisation of Kai Tak Airport following its decommissioning in early 1998.

Legal Advisory Division

Legal advice and conveyancing service on property and related matters.