Government is committed to enhancing productivity in the public service. As user of public funds, we must ensure that we meet the community's expectation for higher economy in the delivery of public services.
The Financial Secretary announced in the 2001 Budget Speech Government's
estimate that the establishment of the civil service would be reduced
to around 181 000 by 2002-03. We aim to keep a lean and fit civil service,
and at the same time maintain the level of our services to the public.
We will also provide for greater extent of private sector participation,
and use other new methods to raise the standard of our services.
What have we achieved
To keep up the momentum we introduced the Civil Service Voluntary Retirement
scheme in June 2000. With the approval of the Legislative Council's
Finance Committee of total funds of $2.8 billion, we provide a fair
package and an option for officers in 59 grades to leave the service
without having to stay until their normal retirement age. The benefits
are mutual - departments can take a fresh look at how best services
can be provided to the public under a more compact organisation structure;
staff have a choice to take on a new path in life that suits their own
Some 10 000 colleagues have taken up the option. Some 8 000 will depart
in 2001, another 1 000 in 2002, and the rest thereafter. Up to end June
2001, 3 600 colleagues have departed. As Government has committed to
the Finance Committee, we will not refill the 10 000 posts left vacant
in at least the next 5 years. The posts will be deleted and departments
will make use of the resources so released to bring in services through
new ways and means.
The challenges ahead
The effort towards a lean and fit civil service means
a lot of changes to those who stay. Some of us have to take on new roles
and responsibilities, or work in new organisational and operational
environment. At the same time we must continue to improve our services
to meet the community's expectation. We do not underestimate the challenge
ahead of us. Dedication, mutual understanding and a will to excel shall
drive us through. We count on the support of everyone in the service
to make this happen.