Speech at Policy briefing-cum-meeting of Panel on Public Service

III. Briefing by the Secretary for the Civil Service on the Chief Executive’s 2022 Policy Address

Strengthening the reward and punishment systems

On strengthening of the management of sub-standard performers, Mr. Chan Chun-ying pointed out that some management staff did not truly reflect the performance of sub-standard performers in the performance appraisal reports. They enquired about the criteria for assessing as “sub-standard” performance, the target time for removing sub-standard performers from the service and the reform directions concerning the management of sub-standard performers.

The Administration advised that at present, the procedures for handling persistent sub-standard performers in accordance with section 12 of the Public Service (Administration) Order were complex. The Administration would review and streamline the relevant procedures without undermining fairness, with a view to shortening the processing time and achieving more effective management of sub-standard performers. Meanwhile, the Administration would remind the management to properly handle staff management issue and truly reflect the performance of civil servants in their performance appraisals so as to maintain and improve the performance of the civil service.

Strengthening civil service training and providing advancement opportunities

Mr. Chan Chun-ying enquired about the specific arrangements and timetable for the civil service exchange programmes with the Mainland and the details of the two-year Master’s Degree in Public Policy Programme jointly organized by CSC and Peking University, including the number of participants, their respective ranks and departments. There were views that the duration of the thematic visits/seminars/programmes on the Mainland organized by the Administration for civil servants was relatively short. Participants were unable to have a clear understanding of the Mainland’s administrative systems, principle of governance, culture and so on. To this end, the Administration could arrange senior civil servants to attach to the Mainland authorities for a certain period of time for in-depth exchange and better understanding of the administrative systems of the Mainland.

The Administration responded that it would resume the exchange programmes and arrange senior civil servants to attach to the Mainland authorities for exchanges, as long as the normal traveller clearance between Hong Kong and the Mainland resumed. On the two-year Master’s Degree in Public Policy Programme jointly organized by CSC and Peking University, the inaugural programme was launched in September this year and 14 senior civil servants selected from various ranks, including Administrative Officers, Executive Officers, Architects and disciplined services staff, joined the programme. Among these participants, D2 was the highest rank. Apart from attending the programme organized at Peking University, participants would be given three opportunities to conduct field work during holidays in different areas of the country including Southwest, Northwest and Northern China. It was believed that participants would be given ample opportunities to broaden their horizons and understand the development of the country. As for attachment to the Mainland authorities, senior civil servants would mainly be attached to the authorities in the Greater Bay Area at this stage.

Enhancing the existing mobilization protocol

Questions were raised on the definition of major incidents and how the Administration would support the emergency response teams in handling major incidents, such as whether the Administration would issue guidelines, strengthen cross departmental team building efforts, arrange team building training for the teams or set up the School of Disciplinary Training dedicated to the provision of disciplinary training. The Administration advised that major incidents included natural disasters, air disasters, public health incidents and incidents requiring deployment of considerable manpower. Departments had put in place own contingency plans for handling different emergency situations, and could collaborate with different departments in major incidents on the basis of their contingency plans. The Administration would enhance the Government’s mobilization protocol for coping with major incidents and conduct drills. Also, CSC had all along been providing training for civil servants to enhance team spirit.