To reap early benefits from enhanced productivity, Government departments and subvented organisations take part in a 1999-2000 EPP exercise. They are tasked to provide new or improved services using existing resources or to start reducing their baseline expenditure in 1999-2000. 

Results -- $655 million new or improved services + $163 million reduction in expenditure

In total, bureaux, departments and agencies have quoted $818 million of productivity gains, three-quarters of which (i.e. $655 million) will be used to fund new or improved services and the remaining one-quarter (i.e. $163 million) will be returned to centre as savings. New/improved services include -
(a) in health care, the Hospital Authority will perform 1 300 additional cataract operation a year, and shorten waiting times for first appointments in specialist out-patient clinics;
(b) in social welfare, there will be an additional 48 integrated child care centre places and we will increase the number of elderly in residential care receiving a dementia supplement; and
(c) in employment, we will enhance career advisory services to young people and increase inspections in the workplace to combat illegal employment.

Means -- How do they do it?
Resources made available for funding new/improved services or returning savings to the centre are achieved through a variety of measures -- with the underlying principle that there should be no deterioration to the quality of services provided to the public. 

We wish to share with you measures adopted by various departments to achieve productivity gains. The followings are only a few examples.

Simplify Procedures
  • Government Laboratory reviews all quality control plans to reduce re-testing 
  • Marine Department improves the buoy maintenance programme and rationalises berthing arrangement at the China Ferry Terminal
  • The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance reallocates authorised insurers among different examination teams on a related/affiliated group basis 
  • Finance Bureau abolishes the production of regular internal reports that are no longer essential, saving clerical time
  • Printing Department shortens the job handover time in between the two shifts from 15 to 5 minutes, resulting in an increase in production time
Flexible use of human resources
  • Economic and Trade Offices build up technical support for in-house computer services and reduce use of outside technical support
  • LegCo Commission arranges supporting staff to work in shift to reduce the need for overtime work
Rationalise services
  • Social Welfare Department rationalises services through closing down the Castle Peak Boys Home 
  • Environmental Protection Department puts in place a "one-stop-shop" network for all pollution control licensing services 
  • Intellectual Property Department reorganises its services so that clients can conduct searches, file applications, request printouts, make enquiries and effect payments at the same point for the three registration areas
  • Agriculture and Fisheries Department integrates resources currently deployed for animal control, investigation and regulation of animal traders in Kowloon to provide a better animal control service
Contract services
  • Social Welfare Department contracts out its home help meal delivery service on a pilot basis
  • Department of Health contracts out the cleansing and security services in new and existing clinics 
  • Intellectual Property Department outsources data input for trademark and patent applications and preparatory work for publishing the Hong Kong Front Page for patents
Use of IT and modern equipment
  • Economic and Trade Offices set up websites to handle general enquiries and provide to local communities on-line information on important press releases and business opportunities in Hong Kong
  • Electrical and Mechanical Services Department simplifies vetting procedures of application for registration of electrical workers/contractors through enhanced computerisation of personal data of workers/contractors
  • Bureaux and departments connected with the Goverment Computer Network will be provided with Secure Mail Service to reduce usage of papers and hand-delivery of confidential documents
  • Printing Department installs combination locks with intercom facilities, resulting in the savings of two Property Attendant posts 
Support from Trading Funds, Housing Authority and two Municipal Councils
The short-term achievement under EPP is not confined to bureaux, departments and agencies using government expenditure. Self-financing Trading Fund departments and public organisations like Housing Authority, Provisional Urban Council and Provisional Regional Council, together with their executive arms, are all very supportive of EPP. Trading Fund departments have reflected their productivity gains in the pricing of their services or introduced new services. Housing Authority and the two Municipal Councils together with their executive arms have also identified handsome amounts of productivity gains in 1999-2000.

Details of this exercise are set out in a booklet entitled "Enhanced Productivity Programme : 1999-2000" which is published as part of the 1999 Budget publications. The booklet can be viewed on the Internet at Hard copies have also been distributed to the public. Please write to us if you would like to receive a copy of the EPP booklet.

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