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The Rating and Valuation Department will accomplish a 5 per cent cut in its recurrent baseline operating expenses in 2001-02, one year ahead of target, with the successful implementation of a series of initiatives under the "Enhanced Productivity Programme (EPP).
 
The Commissioner of Rating and Valuation, Mr Kenneth Pang Tsan Wing, said at a briefing to the media on 5 March 2001 that the department had embarked on a range of cost-saving measures since 1999-2000. This will result in total savings of about $19.5 million by the end of 2001-02, which represents about 5 per cent of the Department's operating expenses. In addition, work performance and productivity have been improved in certain areas.
 
Those EPP initiatives undertaken are as follows:
(1) Reorganisation of rating divisions: combining two rating divisions, thereby consolidating functions, streamlining operations and releasing staff resources to handle additional work.
(2) A specialist division to cope with annual revaluation work: by using manpower released from the reorganisation and enhancing the computer valuation programmes, additional work arising from annual revaluations since 1999 is undertaken by existing resources without new recruitment.
(3) Greater use of information technology: reducing manpower by using the Interactive Voice Processing System (IVPS) to handle a large volume of telephone enquiries, and launching the Electronic Service Delivery Scheme to enable payers to change their name and address and check their account position through electronic means.
(4) Extensive use of personal computers: this enables staff to carry out valuations more effectively, efficiently and with improved accuracy. Electronic communication between staff and with the public through intranet and internet has enhanced work performance and reduced use of typing service and consumables such as paper.
(5) Cost-effective staff deployment: temporary staff employed to undertake ad hoc simple tasks such as vacancy inspection survey so as to sustain high level of productivity on valuation work by limited technical staff resources.
(6)

Work process and system re-engineered to maximise efficiency: examples include adopting single level approval for straight-forward/computer assisted mass appraisal cases, implementing a computerised case management system to track progress and control work flow.

As a result, a total of 32 posts, representing about 3 per cent of the departmental establishment, have been deleted. This has been made possible through natural wastage or staff redeployment, without any staff redundancy problems. Better utilisation of resources, effective communications and enhanced staff commitment resulted in savings in expenditure on staff remuneration and allowance, and departmental expenses.

"In implementing the various EPP measures, the Rating and Valuation Department will ensure there are sufficient measures to maintain the quality of service," Mr Pang said.

"We would provide suitable training and guidance to staff to cope with the revised and streamlined work procedures. The performance of temporary staff will be closely monitored to ensure quality of service while staff released as a result of the implementation of EPP measures will be properly redeployed," he added.

Despite an early achievement of the EPP target of 5 per cent, Mr Pang said EPP is an on-going exercise for the Department. "Indeed, our goal is to achieve the best value-for-money in expenditure while maintaining and improving the quality of services to our customers," Mr Pang stressed.


Rating and Valuation Department
March 2001

 
Commissioner of Rating and Valuation, Mr Kenneth PANG
Extensive use of computers
 

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