LCQ20: District administration

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      â€‹Following is a question by the Hon Paul Tse and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Lau Kong-wah, in the Legislative Council today (November 29):


     A number of District Councillors, members of local organisations and owners' corporations (OCs) in the districts of Kwun Tong and Wong Tai Sin have relayed to me that the greatest hindrance to improving district administration and enhancing community facilities is the shifting of responsibilities among government departments, public organisations and other organisations such as MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) and Link Asset Management Limited (the Link), as well as their bureaucratic practices.  Examples include: (i) the Housing Department (HD), the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Link in respect of the rodent control and hygiene problem in the vicinity of Tsui Ping North Shopping Circuit; (ii) HD and the Link in respect of the responsibility of repairing the communal facilities of Tsui Ping (South) Estate; (iii) HD and the Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited in respect of the responsibility of repairing the gas pipes of Chuk Yuen (North) Estate; (iv) the Lands Department (LandsD), HD and MTRCL in respect of the proposal to retrofit covers for the barrier-free access at the exits of Lok Fu Station and Yau Tong Station; (v) the Highways Department (HyD) and LandsD in respect of the problem that the cover of a covered walkway constructed by HyD outside Fung Chuen Court in Wong Tai Sin being extremely close to the trees, making the OC of the Court being unable to prune the trees; and (vi) the Civil Engineering and Development Department, the Food and Health Bureau and the Hospital Authority in respect of the proposal to build lifts and a footbridge between the United Christian Hospital and the Sau Ming Road Park.  In all these incidents, there is shifting of responsibilities among the parties involved, resulting in indefinite delay in the implementation of proposals for improvement of community facilities.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the policy bureau or government department that members of local communities may approach to seek assistance when they encounter shifting of responsibilities among a number of government departments;

(2) of the long-term policy and measures put in place to resolve the problems of unclear delineation of responsibilities, bureaucratic practices and a lack of accountability;

(3) whether it will consider establishing an inter-departmental organisations to take the lead in resolving problems that involve a number of government departments, public organisations, public utility companies, and organisations such as MTRCL and the Link; and 

(4) whether it has assessed if it should first examine the ways to resolve the problems of bureaucratic practices and shifting of responsibilities among government departments before implementing the proposals to augment the civil service establishment by at least 3 per cent and to establish a civil service college in the financial year of 2018-19 as set out in the Policy Address; if it has assessed, of the details; if not, whether it will conduct such an assessment immediately?
     Having consulted the relevant policy bureaux, our consolidated reply to the various parts of theHon Paul Tse's question is as follows.
     Government departments have been coordinating efforts under various mechanisms, with a view to providing the needed district facilities and resolving district management issues.  Various departments have, on a need basis, established interdepartmental committees or working groups, to coordinate works and efforts of the relevant departments on specific subjects.  At district level, District Councils (DCs) and the committees under DCs will discuss problems of concern to the district (including the district problems involving public organisations and public utility companies) and provide feedback and recommendations to the concerned departments, and the concerned policy bureaux and departments (B/Ds) will follow-up having regards to circumstances of individual cases.  The District Management Committee (DMC) also serves as a forum to discuss and resolve district issues.  DMCs are chaired by District Officers and comprise representatives of B/Ds that have frequent work contacts with DCs, with the presence of Chairmen, Vice-chairmen and Committee Chairmen of the DCs concerned.  In addition, chaired by the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, the Steering Committee on District Administration, comprising representatives from relevant departments, provides a platform for interdepartmental discussion and consultation to enable the departments to make concerted efforts to address district issues such as street management etc.

 If there are problems that could not be resolved, it shall be escalated to the Chief Secretary of Administration for coordinating the relevant bureau and departments to follow-up. 
     Furthermore, each Principal Official (PO) of the current-term Government will visit all of the 18 districts in the first two years after assumption of office to have in-depth discussion with DC Members and enhance their communication with the local community.  These district visits allow POs to directly listen to the views of the community and truly understand districts' needs, thereby facilitating better coordination of efforts by relevant departments.  Following the POs' district visits, District Offices will refer to the relevant B/Ds matters that require follow-up, with a view to facilitating their collaboration and coordination for resolving the problems.  Where needed, the Chief Secretary of Administration will also take part in coordinating and providing steer on how to follow up with the district problems that involve various departments, such as the problem concerning car parking etc. 
     In "The Chief Executive's 2017 Policy Address", the Chief Executive stated that she would ask the Heads of Departments to streamline administration, foster innovation and collaboration, in order to support civil servants to cope with the increasing workload.  The Chief Executive also suggested that a new civil service college should be established to further enhance training for civil servants for equipping them with the necessary skills to tackle new challenges.  These initiatives complement the Government's promotion of better collaboration among B/Ds, in particular in district administration, to tackle issues and take forward public service effectively. The Civil Service Bureau states that, where justified, it will consider augmenting the civil service establishment as appropriate, in order to provide the manpower needed for the collaboration work among B/Ds.

Published on: 2017-11-29

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