Speech at Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting

Information paper(s) issued since the last meeting

Radio Television Hong Kong

Mr CHAN Chun-ying agreed that the Panel should discuss issues related to RTHK as early as practicable. He noted that members had raised queries on a broad range of issues relating to the work of RTHK. He suggested that the proposed item in the paper “List of outstanding issues for discussion” (LC Paper No. CB(1)389/19-20(01)), “Report on the work of Radio Television Hong Kong”, should be amended in order to reflect a wider spectrum of issues to be covered. The Chairman instructed the Clerk to liaise with the Administration accordingly.


Update on the implementation of full digital television broadcast

Reception of television broadcast

Mr CHAN Chun-ying questioned why Central and Western District was one of the districts from which OFCA received the most number of enquiry/complaint cases on poor TV reception in recent years.

DDG(T) advised that in densely developed urban areas, high-rise buildings might block TV signals from reaching their neighbouring old buildings. In such case, OFCA would arrange for site checking of TV broadcast signals and assist the viewers to improve TV reception by providing technical advice or referring the cases to broadcasters for follow-up. OFCA and free TV licensees had been exploring feasible and cost-effective ways to extend the coverage of their DTT networks as far as possible and where circumstances permit.

Latest position

Members noted that as at March 2020, over 4 700 applications for the Assistance Programme had been received. Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked whether the Administration was confident that all eligible households in need would have applied for the Assistance Programme by the end of its application period, i.e. mid-July 2021.

PS(CCI) commented that according to the latest survey in late 2019, the estimated number of eligible households of the Assistance Programme had dropped significantly from about 160 000 to about 80 000, and some of them might prefer to replace their analogue TV sets by their own means. While application might have slowed due to the spread of COVID-19, there was still ample time before ASO and the application period would not end until seven months thereafter.

CE/HKCSS added that the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (“HKCSS”) had approached target beneficiaries including the elderly through its community service networks, outreach visits and casework services. In response to the latest development of COVID-19, some of the publicity activities involving social contacts had been suspended. HKCSS would monitor the situation closely and resume publicity activities in a timely manner.


Full implementation of Electronic Recordkeeping System

Project cost

Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the Administration had implemented the ERKS pilot programme since 2011 and extended the programme to other B/Ds in 2014. Mr CHAN asked whether the Administration had developed its own dedicated system of software after it had been piloting the programme over all these years. Noting that an estimated cost of $147.83 million was earmarked for hiring contract information technology staff with relevant skills and experience to assist in system design, development, testing and rollout, Mr CHAN asked whether the funding sought was to be used to develop a new system or to improve on the existing system.

Government Chief Information Officer (“GCIO”) elaborated that the Administration had used different market solutions for the ERKS pilot programme. In general, the licenses of the software involved were expected to be costly. The estimated cost would also cover the procurement of computer hardware, software, and implementation services. Riding on the results and experience of the ERKS pilot programme, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (“OGCIO”) would select and purchase the most suitable market solution for customization to suit the government’s needs in accordance with the established procurement procedures of the Government. Specifically, the Administration would clearly stipulate the requirements in the tender document.

Pointing out that there were a substantial number of agenda items still awaiting scrutiny by FC, Mr CHAN Chun-ying was concerned as to whether the funding proposal could be approved by FC in the current legislative session. He was of the view that the Administration should deploy its internal resources to take forward part of the preparatory work, including conducting relevant training before the implementation of ERKS. The Chairman expressed similar views and asked whether there was anything the Administration would start doing in the event that funding approval could not be secured from FC before the end of this LegCo term.

GCIO informed members that the Next Generation GovCloud (“GovCloud”) was expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2020. The Administration would have time to set up the infrastructure of the central ERKS to be hosted on this Government’s private cloud platform. In the meantime, OGCIO would prepare the relevant tender documents for the tendering exercise.

Recordkeeping requirements

Mr CHAN Chun-ying sought elaboration from the Administration on the previous pilot experiences, including records classification, records management practices of B/Ds, and asked how the Administration would apply the experience and best practices to the proposed ERKS where appropriate.

GCIO advised that the implementation of ERKS would dramatically change B/Ds’ conventional operations and practices. At present, B/Ds’ staff would print out emails and electronic documents and file them physically and manually. With the implementation of the proposed ERKS, emails and electronic documents received could be filed into ERKS direct. To facilitate B/Ds’ preparation and implementation work, the Administration had conducted briefings and trainings for B/Ds on government records management and the procedures for reviewing the records classification scheme.

Legislative amendments

Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked whether and when the Administration would introduce any legislative amendments to ensure that relevant statutory requirements, such as presenting the original conveyancing document of property transaction to the Land Registry, would be suitably revised upon the implementation of ERKS. GCIO explained that the proposed ERKS was intended to enhance the management of electronic records and dispense with the print-and-file practice. GCIO and Deputy Director of Administration (1) (“DDA(1)”) affirmed that there would be no change to the principle of recordkeeping in nature, and hence no legislative amendment was required in this regard.