As it is our objective to keep the public informed of the progress of implementation of EPP, we have arranged for three departments to meet the press in early March 2000, after the publication of the 2000-01 Draft Estimates, to talk about their respective EPP plans and achievements.
The Treasury had accomplished the 5% EPP target in one go, reducing its recurrent baseline expenditure by $16.86 million in 2000-01. Congratulations!
At a press conference, the Director of Accounting Services, Mr Shum Man-to, told the media that the department had embarked on a range of cost-cutting measures since 1999-2000.
Those EPP initiatives undertaken included adjusting services according to demand and usage; more effective use of technological know-how; re-engineering and reviewing work process and work procedures and streamlining and reducing expenses of overtime allowances.
As a result, a total of 49 posts, representing about 6% of the departmental establishment has been deleted - through natural wastage or staff redeployment.
Despite having achieved the target, Mr Shum said that EPP was not a one-off exercise for the department. The Treasury will continue to strive for greater productivity to ensure optimal cost-effectiveness in government spending.
Correctional Services Department
The Correctional Services Department had achieved savings of $25.82 million in 2000-01, equivalent to 1% of its annual recurrent expenditure.
The Deputy Commissioner of Correctional Services, Mr Pang Sung-yuen, said the Department achieved that without any staff redundancy or deterioration in quality of service. We were particularly impressed that the correctional services staff union had commended the department for consulting adequately with staff in its EPP endeavours.
Mr Pang told the media that the two main areas of savings were re-engineering at the Staff Training Institute (downsizing it from 115 posts to 77 posts) through re-assessing the training needs and re-focusing; and adjusting the training resources to match demand.
The Deputy Director of Marine, Mr TSANG Man-ching, told the media that 81 posts would be deleted in the next three years under EPP. But he stressed that no one would be sacked and the cut would be achieved by natural wastage. By contracting out certain work and by streamlining operations, the department aimed at saving $48 million in three years.