|Report details way forward for further development of Political Appointment System
The Government today (October 17) released the Report on Further Development of the Political Appointment System to set out the way forward on the creation of two additional layers of politically appointed officials - Deputy Directors of Bureau and Political Assistants to Directors of Bureau.
"The HKSAR Government hopes that we can provide the team of Principal Officials with stronger support in carrying out political work in the pursuit of people-based governance, and in leading an outstanding, permanent and politically neutral civil service to meet the objective of effective governance," the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, said in his statement to the Legislative Council.
"We have a broader objective, which is to widen and groom the pool of political talents, to broaden the avenues for those who wish to serve Hong Kong by pursuing a career in politics. We believe that the additional political appointments will enable more political talent to gain public administration experience and play a part in the governance of Hong Kong. This is shared by many of the views we have received," Mr Lam said.
Mr Lam said further development of the Political Appointment System would pave the way for implementation of universal suffrage for returning the Chief Executive, and the candidate who won could have sufficient room to nominate and appoint his team of Principal Officials and their deputies.
The report, released today, summarises the views collected during the earlier public consultation period, and sets out the Government's proposed way forward after taking into account these views. The key proposals include the following :
(a) that one position of Under Secretary at the rank of Deputy Director of Bureau and one position of Political Assistant to Director of Bureau be created in each policy bureau (except the Civil Service Bureau);
(b) that the main duties and responsibilities of the Deputy Directors of Bureau and Political Assistants to Directors of Bureau should be refined with a view to achieving a clearer delineation with the civil service;
(c) that an Appointment Committee chaired by the Chief Executive (CE) and comprising the Secretaries of Department, the relevant Directors of Bureau and the Director of the CE's Office should be set up to consider nominations and appointments of potential candidates to fill the new political positions;
(d) that Deputy Directors of Bureau and Political Assistants to Directors of Bureau should be appointed and removed by the CE on the advice of the Appointment Committee;
(e) that, in respect of remuneration package:
(i) the level of remuneration for Deputy Directors of Bureau should be pitched at a range equivalent to 65% to 75% of the remuneration package for a Director of Bureau; and
(ii) the level of remuneration for Political Assistants to Directors of Bureau should be pitched at a range equivalent to 35% to 55% of the remuneration package for a Director of Bureau;
(f) that one position each of Political Assistant to Chief Secretary for Administration and Political Assistant to Financial Secretary, both at the rank of Political Assistant to Director of Bureau, should be created; and that they should be subject to the same appointment, remuneration and other arrangements as Political Assistants to Directors of Bureau;
(g) that the "Code for Principal Officials under the Accountability System" should be adapted as the "Code for Officials under the Political Appointment System" and applied to all political appointees;
(h) that people filling the new positions, if selected from the body of serving civil servants, should leave the civil service before taking up political appointments (no "revolving door" arrangement);
(i) that all the positions of Administrative Assistant and Press Secretary in the private offices of the Principal Officials should be filled by civil servants on posting; and
(j) that given the unique role of the Secretary for the Civil Service (SCS), he should continue to retain his civil service status and not be obligated to resign or retire from the civil service before taking up the position, and that he may return to the civil service at his original rank after leaving the office of the SCS, if he has not yet reached the retirement age specified for civil servants.
Copies of the Report are available at District Offices. The Report has also been uploaded onto the website of the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (http://www.cmab.gov.hk). Interested parties may also browse through the website for public views and discussion summaries contained in Appendices I and II to the report respectively.
Ends/Wednesday, October 17, 2007