For Discussion
20 October 1997



Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent posts under Head 74 - Information Services Department (ISD) :

  1. 1 Director of Information Services
    (D6) ($162,650)

  2. 1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade B
    (D3) ($127,900 - $135,550)

  3. 1 Principal Executive Officer
    (D1) ($92,650 - $98,300)

to be offset by the deletion of :

  1. the following permanent posts under Head 74 - ISD :

    1. 1 Director of Information Services
      (D5) ($154,150)

    2. 1 Chief Executive Officer
      (MPS 45-49) ($72,135 - $83,105) and

  2. 1 Administrative Officer Staff Grade B1 (D4) ($145,150 - $149,600) under Head 142 - Government Secretariat : Offices of the Chief Secretary for Administration and the Financial Secretary (CS&FS).


The directorate structure of the ISD is no longer commensurate with the increased level and scope of responsibilities it is now entrusted with. It should be enhanced to ensure that the department can effectively and competently fulfil its key role in the formulation and execution of public relations (PR) strategy for all government bureaux/departments and re-affirm our message that Hong Kong will continue to, under the "one country, two systems" concept, prosper.


2. We propose to enhance the directorate structure by :

  1. upgrading the Director of Information Services (DIS) post from D5 to D6;

  2. creating an Administrative Officer Staff Grade B (AOSGB) (D3) post to provide a Press Secretary to the Chief Executive (CE), offset by the deletion of an Administrative Officer Staff Grade B1 (AOSGB1) (D4) post in the Government Secretariat : Offices of the CS & FS; and

  3. upgrading the Departmental Secretary (DS) post from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) (MPS 45 - 49) to Principal Executive Officer (PEO) (D1).


3. The present organisation of ISD is shown in the organisation chart at Enclosure (1). With the increasing level, scope and complexity of responsibilities to be borne by the department, it is considered that the staffing structure at the directorate level should be enhanced to cope with the demand from the policy bureaux and departments for more effective public relations (PR) support. The proposed organisation chart of the department is at Enclosure (2).

Upgrading of the DIS Post

4. The ISD and the former Information Co-ordinator's (IC's) Office were two organisations responsible for providing PR and information services to the Government. The former was responsible for providing all the necessary information and PR support service while the latter for developing an overall PR strategy and advisory service and managing six Secretariat Press Office (SPO) teams serving the policy bureaux in the Government Secretariat.

5. In late 1994, the Administration commissioned a review of the Government information structure. The objective was to re-examine the structure and roles of the offices responsible for the development of Government's PR strategy and its implementation, both locally and overseas, and to make recommendations with particular regard to, among other things, the responsibilities and resources of the ISD and the IC's Office. The review concluded that the IC's Office should be placed under the charge of DIS.

6. We accept the review recommendation that the existence of two organisations for PR services draws a largely artificial line between the formulation of a PR strategy and its execution. This structure can run counter to enforcing a seamless consistency in the Government's PR approach and may reduce rather than enhance the effectiveness of the PR service as a whole.

7. ISD has since then taken the initiative to enforce a seamless consistency in Government's PR approach by merging the IC's Office and ISD with a view to achieving a single information machine structure. The responsibilities of the IC's Office in formulating Government's overall PR strategy, both overseas and local, and managing the six SPO teams serving the policy bureaux were taken over by the ISD in October 1995. In April 1997, one Administrative Officer Staff Grade C post together with other 24 non-directorate posts in IC's Office were formally transferred to ISD.

8. As a further step to implement the plan, it is proposed that the post of the Press Secretary to the CE should also be put under the establishment of ISD. The DIS will be directly responsible for overseeing :-

  1. the Press Secretary's service to the CE;

  2. the Press Secretary's service to the CS and FS; and

  3. the local and overseas PR services of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG).

This new structure will place three D3 and seven D2 officers under the DIS, giving him greater responsibilities. A Head of Department with this level of responsibility would normally be graded at D6.

9. With the establishment of the HKSARG on 1 July 1997, international attention has focused on Hong Kong's future development. We will need to assure the world of our continued prosperity and stability, as well as high autonomy under the implementation of the 'one country, two systems' concept. It is extremely important that the Government conveys accurately to its trading partners and the world that Hong Kong maintains its position as an international financial centre and a leading commercial centre, so as to continue to attract foreign investment. The department has taken a new mission under a new era. Not only is it required to publicise our continued success but also to perform the dedicated job to forestall and counter negative publicity. Through various new and existing programmes and publicity channels, including promotion through PR units in the Economic and Trade Offices overseas, we shall continue to promote Hong Kong's favourable image. With the introduction of modern technology, new ways are also being explored to convey Government messages more effectively through the media.

10. In this post-handover period, there have been increasing keen media interests, both local and overseas, on Government policies and activities. The department has determined to adopt a more proactive approach to cultivate transparency and openness in the formulation and execution of Government's PR strategy. As Bureaux Directors and Heads of Departments are now more accessible to the media and the public in the handling of major policy issues and Government activities, it is important that enhanced PR support service to them is provided.

11. It is proposed to upgrade the DIS post from D5 to D6 to recognise the new role and increased level of responsibilities involved. A job description of the DIS (D6) post is at Enclosure (3).

Press Secretary to the CE

12. Upon the establishment of the HKSARG, a Press Secretary to the CE ranked at AOSGB (D3) has been provided to assist the CE on the information and PR side. The post is created by holding against an AOSGB1 (D4) post under Head 142 - Government Secretariat : Offices of the CS&FS. The Press Secretary is assisted by a Deputy Press Secretary ranked at ADIS (D2) level and an Assistant Press Secretary ranked at Principal Information Officer (PIO) (MPS 40 - 44) level. Both these posts are on the establishment of Head 74 - ISD.

13. As the formulation of the Government's overall PR strategy and line management responsibility of SPO teams have been taken over by the DIS, the Press Secretary to the CE can concentrate on providing PR advisory service to the CE. The ranking of the post of Press Secretary to the CE has been reviewed and we recommend that the post should be ranked at D3.

14. It is proposed that the post should be created under the establishment of ISD because under the new structure, the DIS is the head of the one information machine for the HKSARG. The AOSGB (D3) post will be offset by the deletion of an AOSGB1 (D4) post under the establishment of Head 142 - Government Secretariat : Offices of the CS & FS. A job description of the Press Secretary to the CE is at Enclosure (4).

Upgrading of the Departmental Secretary Post

15. The Departmental Secretary (DS) heads the Administration Division and acts as the principal advisor to the senior directorate on human resource projects, strategies and management. He is also responsible for financial management, general departmental administration, management of the Information Officer (IO) Grade and general and common grades in the department. Since the ranking of the DS post at CEO in 1982, ISD has grown considerably in size, functions and responsibilities. The permanent establishment of the department has increased from 326 posts in November 1981 to 496 in November 1997, excluding 74 IO Grade posts on the establishment of the other departments. The number of directorate officers has increased from four to nine, and is being proposed to be increased to eleven. The changing profile of the department as the Government's main PR organisation to promote Government's image has also significantly increased the workload, complexity and level of responsibility of the DS. Despite the relatively small size of the department, there is a need for stronger administrative and resource management support at the directorate level as detailed below.

16. The department has taken on an important PR role in enhancing Government's image and direct involvement in the territory's large scale events, including recently the Handover Ceremony and the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Conferences and at present the Legislative Council Elections in May 1998. Following the reunification, more overseas promotional projects and overseas visits by senior Government officials will be arranged to put across to the world the message of Hong Kong's continued prosperity and achievement under the "one country, two systems" principle. The PR support for the CE's Office has likewise been strengthened. All these have added complexity to departmental administration in terms of manpower planning, resources management and strategic policy formulation at the top management level. As the department's financial and human resource manager, the DS has to examine options, recommend action plans and constantly review the re-deployment of financial and staff resources for optimum productivity.

17. Over the years, the department has also taken on additional responsibilities and extended its work to other programme areas which again has placed tremendous pressure and increasing demands on administrative and executive support from the DS. These include, taking over the responsibility from the CS's Office for arranging sponsored VIP visits to Hong Kong, the overall co-ordination role of the Government's PR strategy and the management of SPO teams from the IC's Office in October 1995, as well as the co-ordination of all requests for weekly recruitment advertisements from departments and related accounting work from the Civil Service Bureau in March 1995.

18. The Government's Public Sector Reform Programme and Human Resource Management (HRM) Review have resulted in the introduction of numerous new administrative arrangements and delegation of authorities to departments in all facets of departmental management. The DS has taken on a proactive role in implementing these new initiatives, in particular, the development of the core competencies for the IO grade. As the human resource manager, he is responsible for developing strategies and action plans to apply the finalised set of core competencies to all aspects of human resource management.

19. In support of the department's vision, mission and core values, the DS has to plan and organise promotional activities and in-house workshops to disseminate the mission and core values to all levels of staff, promoting staff awareness and motivating them to provide quality service to the public.

20. The DS is also required to play an active role in ensuring the smooth implementation of the re-organisation of the department. He is responsible for devising staff deployment plans, assessing the effectiveness of the organisation structure, recommending changes to the directorate as and when necessary and arranging a wide range of support services to the improved information structure. He is also involved in other on-going reviews, notably, a review of the effectiveness of the structure of each SPO team and the relevant departments under its purview.

21. In the light of the growing importance and the increased responsibilities of the DS, it is considered that his post should be upgraded to PEO. A job description is at Enclosure (5).


22. The additional notional annual salary of the proposal at MID-POINT is -

No. of Post
New permanent posts4,676,4003
Lesspermanent posts deleted4,574,2203
Additional cost102,1800

The net additional full average staff cost of the proposal is $241,789. We have included sufficient provision in the 1997-98 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.


23. The ISD serves as the Government's public relations consultant, publisher, advertising agent and news agency. It provides the link between the administration and the media and, through the latter, enhances public understanding of Government policies, decisions and activities.

24. The department is organised into six divisions - News and Media Research, Public Relations, Publicity, Overseas Public Relations, Visits and Administration. The DIS is the head of the IO Grade. Members of the IO Grade are deployed in the ISD Headquarters, in departmental information units, in SPO teams of the Government Secretariat as well as in PR Units of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices overseas.


25. The ranking and grading of the proposed posts are appropriate having regard to their duties and responsibilities.



December 1997

Enclosure 3 to EC(97-98)

Job Description for
Director of Information Services

The Director of Information Services is responsible for :-

  1. formulating, monitoring and reviewing Government's information and public relations policies and strategies;

  2. planning and coordinating the Government's overseas information and public relations efforts and activities;

  3. monitoring the information and PR support needs of all bureaux/departments and provide for their needs;

  4. conveying to the public information on Government policies, decisions, activities and services;

  5. keeping Government informed of public opinion;

  6. educating the public on major issues of concern and to create greater public awareness of civic responsibilities;

  7. serving as Government's publishing and advertising agency;

  8. overall management of the Information Services Department and being Head of the Information Officer Grade.

Enclosure 4 to EC(97-98)

Job Description for
Press Secretary to the Chief Executive

The Press Secretary to the Chief Executive is responsible for :-

  1. liaising with the local and international media on behalf of the Chief Executive and the Government, including responding to press questions and requests for information on the HKSARG during and after office hours, and drafting or authorising statements from Chief Executive's Office;

  2. developing and coordinating an overall PR strategy for the Chief Executive and coordinating publicity activities for the HKSARG, consulting and/or advising the Chief Executive on matters related to broad policy issues of the HKSARG;

  3. liaising with policy bureaux in the Government Secretariat with the object of identifying and obtaining information on matters which are of interest to the local and international media; preparing and advising on the line to take and on appropriate publicity and PR arrangements; and

  4. supervising the ADIS, PIO and supporting staff in the Press Office.

Enclosure 5 to EC(97-98)

Job Description for Departmental Secretary

As head of the Administration Division, the Departmental Secretary is responsible for :-

  1. serving as principal adviser to the senior directorate on human resource policy and strategy, financial resource management, conditions of service, recruitment, promotion, succession, retention and motivation, general grade's management, departmental administration;

  2. advising the senior directorate on all establishment and organisational matters and management reviews including the operation of the Departmental Establishment Committee and serving as the secretary to the Committee;

  3. formulating staff relations and staff consultative strategies and action plans, and serving as a member/adviser/observer of the Departmental Consultative Committee, IO Grade Consultative Council and the Association of Government Information Officers;

  4. overseeing the provision of administrative support to the department, including office organisation and procedures, building management, office equipment, transport, clerical and secretariat services; and

  5. managing all general and common grades staff in the department.

Enclosure 6 to EC(97-98)

Financial Implication for the Creation of Posts

I. Creation of PostsNAMS
Full Annual
Staff Cost
1.1 DIS (D6)1,951,8003,563,927
2.1 AOSGB (D3)1,580,4002,740,884
3.1 PEO (D1)1,144,2001,935,720
Sub-total : 3 posts4,676,400 8,240,531
II Deletion of Posts
1.1 DIS (D5)1,849,8003,400,618
2.1 AOSGB1 (D4)1,795,200 3,097,164
3.1 CEO929,2201,500,960
Sub-total : 3 posts4,574,2207,998,742
Additional Cost102,180 241,789