Government is committed to enhancing productivity in the public service. As user of public funds, we must ensure that we meet the community's expectation for higher economy in the delivery of public services.

Our target

The Financial Secretary announced in the 2001 Budget Speech Government's estimate that the establishment of the civil service would be reduced to around 181 000 by 2002-03. We aim to keep a lean and fit civil service, and at the same time maintain the level of our services to the public. We will also provide for greater extent of private sector participation, and use other new methods to raise the standard of our services.

What have we achieved

We have already reduced the civil service establishment from 198 000 in end March 2000 to 190 000 in end March 2001. This achievement is the result of the effort of the management and staff of all departments and bureaux in taking the initiative to find alternative measures to meet service needs, rather than through expanding the establishment, thus releasing some 8 000 vacancies and newly funded posts in the past year.

To keep up the momentum we introduced the Civil Service Voluntary Retirement scheme in June 2000. With the approval of the Legislative Council's Finance Committee of total funds of $2.8 billion, we provide a fair package and an option for officers in 59 grades to leave the service without having to stay until their normal retirement age. The benefits are mutual - departments can take a fresh look at how best services can be provided to the public under a more compact organisation structure; staff have a choice to take on a new path in life that suits their own circumstances.

Some 10 000 colleagues have taken up the option. Some 8 000 will depart in 2001, another 1 000 in 2002, and the rest thereafter. Up to end June 2001, 3 600 colleagues have departed. As Government has committed to the Finance Committee, we will not refill the 10 000 posts left vacant in at least the next 5 years. The posts will be deleted and departments will make use of the resources so released to bring in services through new ways and means.

The challenges ahead

The effort towards a lean and fit civil service means a lot of changes to those who stay. Some of us have to take on new roles and responsibilities, or work in new organisational and operational environment. At the same time we must continue to improve our services to meet the community's expectation. We do not underestimate the challenge ahead of us. Dedication, mutual understanding and a will to excel shall drive us through. We count on the support of everyone in the service to make this happen.

Finance Bureau
July 2001




Web Accessibility Conformance