Bureaux, departments and subvented organisations have adopted a variety of measures to bring about the productivity savings. These measures have one thing in common: achieving savings without affecting the quality of service. Some of these measures are described below.
Re-engineer work process
- The Environmental Protection Department streamlines enforcement work processes through an Integrated Enforcement programme at its Local Control Offices.
- The Architectural Services Department strengthens co-ordination between day-to-day maintenance works and planned maintenance works so that non-essential and non-urgent minor repairs will be included in planned maintenance programme.
- The Census and Statistics Department enhances field work productivity by designating one or two officers to collect economic data from some large establishments instead of asking different sections to approach the same establishment for different types of data.
- The Government Laboratory streamlines operating procedures, re-engineers testing methodologies and uses more widely automatic instrumentation to reduce staff input.
Re-organise structure and re-distribute duties
- The Trade Department merges three separate registration offices to form a Central Registration Office.
- The Inland Revenue Department merges the Field Audit Group with the Investigation Unit to achieve better utilisation of staff resources.
- The Judiciary takes the opportunity of the refurbishment programme at South Kowloon Magistracy to redistribute cases amongst the Magistracies to achieve greater cost-effectiveness.
Adjust level of service in line with demand and utilisation
- The Treasury re-organises its Postal Remittance Office in view of the continuous drop in settlement of government bills by mail.
- The Hong Kong Police Force rationalises service of the Inspector Training Division and the Auxiliary Training Division subsequent to the reduction of recruitment intake.
- The Customs and Excise Department re-adjusts the manpower of the Office of Dutiable Commodities Administration and the Trade Licensing Investigation Bureau in response to the declining trend of cases involving import and export of left-hand drive vehicles and goods with false origin labels.
Reduce expenditure in various allowances
- Overtime allowance and acting allowance are two major spending items in personal emoluments after salary. Reduction in overtime allowance and acting allowance is made possible through re-arranging work shifts, streamlining working process, compensating overtime work by time-off in lieu instead of paying overtime allowance and sharing the work of officers on-leave, etc. In total, we estimate that about $90 million of productivity gains are quoted from reduced expenditure on various allowances.
Use in-house staff to absorb work where appropriate
- The Hong Kong Observatory maintains and enhances some aviation meteorological systems by its own staff instead of contracting them out.
- The Education Department develops web-based teaching and learning materials and curriculum models for schools by its own professional staff rather than out-sourcing.
- The Territory Development Department reduces employment of temporary clerks by re-allocating duties to its permanent staff and enhancing their productivity.
Contract out where it is more cost-effective
- A number of departments hire private security service instead of using property attendants who are civil servants.
- The Department of Health hires private cleansing contractors for its clinics.
- The Civil Service Training and Development Institute commissions outside institutes or part-time trainers to conduct more training courses where it is feasible and less expensive.
- The Marine Department hires commercial passenger launches and tug boats instead of continuing to own and maintain at higher costs the existing fleet of launches and tug boats.
- The Fire Services Department contracts out the provision and maintenance of portable fire fighting equipment in Government buildings hitherto provided by firemen.
Make greater use of IT and equipment
- The Planning Department procures a computer system for viewing 3-dimensional images of aerial photos which will facilitate the assessment of unauthorised development.
- The Education Department optimises the use of electronic means of communication for issue of divisional circulars and educational issues between the Department and schools.
- The Registration and Electoral Office saves postage and printing expenditure by participating in the Government's Electronic Service Delivery Scheme to enable the public to submit their applications for registration as electors and change of address notices via the Internet.
Reduce maintenance costs for equipment
- Both the Civil Aviation Department and the Marine Department review their existing equipment maintenance programme and draw up new maintenance schedule with reference to the actual wear and tear of the equipment and the most optimal mode of carrying out maintenance work.
- A number of departments including the Government Laboratory, the Radio Television Hong Kong, the Government Land Transport Agency and the Government Property Agency negotiate a more favourable maintenance contract with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund (EMSTF). This is made possible partly because of the market competition and partly because EMSTF reflects its EPP savings in the pricing of services.
Spend less on office expenses
- Various measures have been adopted to reduce expenses on paper, electricity, duty visits, entertainment, overseas telephone calls, accommodation, car rental, stationery and furniture, etc.
Safeguards for Quality Service
- In implementing the above measures, Controlling Officers have to confirm and satisfy themselves that these measures will not undermine their respective policy objectives and that sufficient safeguards are put in place to preserve the quality of service. Some of the safeguards are highlighted below.
Step up monitoring of services
- The Civil Engineering Department puts in place a quality management system which improves the checking process and efficiency. This system allows them to systematically monitor non-conformity, achievement of targets and performance measures.
- The Information Technology Services Department enters into Service Level Agreements with major user departments to facilitate the surveillance of its performance by users.
- The Census and Statistics Department steps up validation checks and sample quality checks by supervisors through computer systems.
Monitor the performance of contractors where the services are outsourced
- The Marine Department stipulates the service standard in the service contracts when hiring private security service for the Government Dockyard and monitors the contractor's performance.
- The Architectural Services Department sets up the Technical Assurance Audit Teams to ensure and maintain uniformity of standards in the supervision and control of the work of contractors.
- The Government Property Agency has regular meetings with its contractors and requires them to submit monthly management reports. It also requires Property Managing Agents to meet regularly with the users.
Provide suitable training and guidance to staff
- The Customs and Excise Department organises refresher courses for the staff who are tasked to take up assessment work of trade declarations as a result of the re-shuffling of duties.
- The Correctional Services Department organises seminars on new corporate culture.
Put in place adequate support for staff
- The Independent Commission Against Corruption sets up specialised sections to provide computer forensic, financial investigations and other support services to front-line investigators to enable them to concentrate on investigative work.
- The Rating and Valuation Department establishes its own computer Help Desk to maintain personal computers and related computer equipment.
The above are only some examples of EPP measures and safeguards for quality service.
We have put full details of the EPP plans of bureaux, departments and subvented organisations as well as those of the Trading Funds on Finance Bureau's web site at http://www.fstb.gov.hk/tb/.
Interested parties are invited to visit the web site to browse through the details. They are also welcome to approach Finance Bureau or relevant bureaux, departments and subvented organisations to obtain hard copies of these