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 Some 250 were disapproved due to operational reasons and another about 650 were withdrawn before 12 December 2000.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.

Days Ahead........

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
January 2001


Web Accessibility Conformance