In the Fourth Issue of this Newsletter, we reported, using the example of the Legislative Commission, the rationale behind, the concept and the operation of the One-Line Vote as well as its pilot implementation in five departments. We also reported our intention to fully evaluate the scheme in 2000-01 and extend the One-line Vote to more bureaux and departments from 2001-02. We are most pleased to report in this Sixth Issue that...........
After the pilot implementation of the One-Line Vote (OLV) has been in operation for one full year, we conducted an evaluation to assess whether the arrangement had brought to the pilot departments the various benefits in resource management that we anticipated. The feedback was encouraging. Based on the result of the evaluation, we proposed to roll out the OLV to more departments in the 2001-02 Estimates.
In late June this year, we briefed the Finance Committee on the evaluation as well as to seek their views on our proposed roll-out plan. We were pleased that Members were generally supportive of this initiative and we now have the green light to roll out OLV arrangement to ten more departments in the 2001-02 Estimates. In selecting the departments for the further roll-out, we have invited the policy bureaux to nominate appropriate departments under their purview, and have sought the agreement of the departments concerned.
Together with the five "pilot" OLV departments (which have been endorsed by the Finance Committee to run on OLV on a permanent basis) and the two new departments commencing operation on OLV on 1 July 2000, there will be a total of 17 OLV departments in 2001-02. This represents around one-fifth of all departments/bureaux.
One-Line Vote Experience Sharing Workshop
To assist the new OLV departments to better prepare for the move towards the OLV arrangement, we organised an experience-sharing workshop on 17 July 2000. Invitation to the workshop was not limited to the new OLV departments. Instead, as other bureaux/departments may wish to know more about the OLV arrangement for future application purpose, we extended the invitation to all bureaux/departments.
Participation was very encouraging. Over 160 participants of around 70 bureaux/departments attended the workshop.
The workshop comprised a briefing by Mrs Carrie Lam, Deputy Secretary for the Treasury, on the OLV arrangement, and a presentation by Mr Stephen Selby, Director of Intellectual Property, to share the experience in his department. These were followed by a panel discussion with the two speakers joined by Mr M T Shum, Director of Accounting Services, Mr William Ng, Director, Civil Service Training and Development Institute and Mrs Kitty Cheng, Financial Controller, Hong Kong Police Force.
Mrs Carrie Lam gave a detailed account of what the OLV was and how it worked. In particular she explained the advantages and limitations of operating on OLV, the specific requirements in Estimates preparation and other in-year monitoring and control mechanism. She also pointed out that the ultimate objective was to extend the OLV arrangement to all bureaux and departments, and that the Finance Bureau was ready to revise and adjust the arrangement to best suit the operation of OLV departments with feedback from departments.
Mr Stephen Selby started his presentation by giving an interesting example of how to make use of a facility effectively and creatively - how his mother has used a coat-hanger to fix the toilet system, to function as the radio aerial, etc. He emphasized that in order to make full use of the flexibility given by the OLV, departments should be innovative and seize the opportunity to strengthen the framework and the culture of their financial management.
The workshop reached its climax when attendants joined the panelists to discuss a wide range of EPP issues. Attendants were particularly interested in learning the experience of the five pilot OLV departments, such as whether they had encountered any obstacles in implementing OLV and how these obstacles were overcome; and the major differences in implementing OLV in large departments like Police from other small departments, etc.
To prepare for the 2001-02 Estimates, the Finance Bureau will get in touch with the ten new OLV departments to re-visit the salaries provisions required in the coming year, taking into consideration the staff profile in the departments, turnover rate, likely vacancy levels, likely effect of staff wastage, requirements in subsequent years, etc to suit the purpose of OLV operation.