Speech at panel on Public Service

Review of the selection and appointment mechanism for senior levels of the civil service and performance management in the civil service

The new selection and appointment mechanism for senior levels of the civil service

Mr CHAN Chun-ying enquired about the measures to be taken by the Administration to identify and attract the most meritorious and suitable persons to fill the directorate posts. They were concerned as to whether the remuneration packages were competitively attractive to recruit the right persons.

The Administration advised that the review of the selection and appointment mechanism for senior levels of the civil service was conducted on the basis of upholding the principle of meritocracy and ensuring the stability of the civil service. As providing a structured career ladder and maintaining a fair and credible promotion system were crucial to the recruitment and retention of talents in the civil service, a majority of directorate posts would still be filled by internal promotion in the future. However, for some directorate posts which required general capabilities for public administration more than professional ability, and those with succession difficulty and lacked competition in the promotion process, consideration might be given to including them under the new mechanism. It would provide appropriately attractive terms of appointment and arrangements to attract serving civil servants and talents from outside the civil service to apply for the opened-up posts.

Recruitment of Director of Information Services

Regarding the enquiry about the recruitment of the Director of Information Services, the Administration advised that as the post-holder needed to have extensive experience in the Government and substantial knowledge of its organization and operation, it would be more appropriate for a senior civil servant conversant with the Government’s operation to assume the position. The Administration had conducted an in-service appointment exercise and widened the pool of candidates for selection. Applicants whose substantive ranks were at D2 level or above or equivalent with at least 10 years of administrative/managerial experience in a directorate position in the Government and met other entry requirements could apply for the post.

Enhancement of training and development for civil servants

Question was raised as to whether attending national studies programmes in the Mainland would be a prerequisite for the promotion of senior-level civil servants. The Administration advised that its target was to raise the percentage of directorate officers who had attended such programmes to 100%, and it was important for officers at a senior level to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the country and its major policies. The training programmes and exchange activities in the Mainland would be resumed once the epidemic situation had been stabilized.

Post-training recognition and assessment

There was a suggestion that the Administration should recognize the training hours that the civil servants earned at the web-based learning portal so as to encourage them to learn online. The Administration advised that the online training resources had been enhanced during the pandemic and there was a significant increase in the number of page views of the College’s web-based learning portal. The monthly online talks of the “National Foreign Affairs series” jointly launched with the OCMFA, which were delivered on-line, were a case in point. The Administration added that on-line quiz might be incorporated in suitable on-line programmes, as exemplified by the “Tsinghua Lecture Series” (which was a series of prerecorded lectures in collaboration with Tsinghua University) in which participants were required to complete an online quiz after attending the online lectures.