In the last issue in September, we
reported that a one-off Voluntary Retirement (VR) Scheme was launched
for application by eligible officers of 59 designated grades where there
was identified or anticipated staff surplus problem. In the past three
months, we had finished the processing of applications under the Scheme
and all applicants were informed of the results of their applications
on 12 December 2000.
Departure of VR takers
Out of about 11,000 applications received,
about 8 900 were approved and some 1 200 were held in abeyance pending
the outcome of further management reviews by the Food and Environmental
Hygiene Department on alternative and effective modes of delivering
their services. Some 250 were disapproved due to operational reasons
and another about 650 were withdrawn before 12 December 2000. Except
for a few departments which require a longer period, say two to three
years, to release the successful applicants, the majority of the VR-takers
will be released from duties for retirement under the Scheme in 2001.
As the VR-takers will be leaving in phases, and that approval is subject
to exigencies of services, we believe that the provision and quality
of public services will not be unduly affected.
Benefits of the VR Scheme
In view of the positive response to
the VR Scheme, we envisage that the staff surplus problem in the majority
of VR grades could largely be reduced or will become manageable. The
implementation of the Scheme has also helped bring about long term savings
to the Government because the same number of posts will have to be deleted
following the departure of VR takers from the Civil Service and departments/grades
can introduce more cost-effective initiatives in the delivery of public
service. Allowing for the necessary cost to be incurred for alternative
modes of service delivery where the services are still required, it
is estimated that we can achieve a net savings of $977 million per annum.
The amount thus saved could then be redeployed for the provision of
other essential services for the benefit of the entire Civil Service
and community at large.
Following the departure of VR-takers,
it is important to provide training and necessary assistance to staff
remaining in the service. We will pay particular attention to this group
of staff in our three-year Training and Development Programme to be
launched from 2001/02. Meanwhile, with the departure of officers of
longer service and higher seniority, we expect that staff who remain
in the service will have a better promotion prospect overall.
Staff who will soon retire under Voluntary
Retirement Scheme may continue to approach the Staff Resource Centre
set up at the Civil Service Training and Development Institute at the
North Point Government Offices for information and related assistance
on job-transition and other learning opportunities.
Civil Service Bureau