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LCQ9: Auxiliary Medical Service and Civil Aid Service

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon Joseph Lee in the Legislative Council today (March 28):


     The Audit Commission published the report on the results of value for money audits in October 2011, which pointed out that the Auxiliary Medical Service is deficient in managing duty attendance, it had not conducted any review of emergency stores for nearly 20 years, with some of the items being overstocked, having expired or being damaged, and the ambulances were even used for delivering first aid stores and equipment.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the present number of this type of auxiliary forces in Hong Kong, and the policy bureaux responsible for managing the various auxiliary forces;

(b) of the respective numbers of full-time staff and voluntary workers in the various auxiliary forces in the past three years; the annual expenditure on the salaries for such staff and the total annual expenditures of the various auxiliary forces;

(c) of the details of the authorities' monitoring mechanism on auxiliary forces at present; whether they regularly review the auxiliary forces' operation and use of funds, or request the auxiliary forces to submit work reports on a regular basis; if they do, of the details; if not, whether consideration will be given to conducting a comprehensive review of the operation of the various auxiliary forces;

(d) whether the authorities had assessed the inadequacy of the various auxiliary forces in administrative management or allocation of resources in the past three years; if they had, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(e) whether the authorities had offered any recommendation or assistance to the various auxiliary forces in the past three years in relation to their operation so as to improve or enhance the efficiency in their administrative management and allocation of resources; if they had, of the details; if not, whether consideration will be given to making such offers in the future?



(a) The Civil Aid Service (CAS) is the other auxiliary service with functions and organisation similar to those of the Auxiliary Medical Service (AMS).  Both CAS and AMS are under the Security Bureau (SB).

(b) The number of full-time staff and volunteers, the expenditure on salary and the total annual expenditure of AMS and CAS in the past three years are at the Annex.

(c) The Chief Staff Officers and Staff Officers of both AMS and CAS attend meetings chaired by the Secretary for Security regularly to report and discuss matters relating to the administration and operation of the Services.  In addition, as Controlling Officers of departmental expenditure and estimates, the Chief Staff Officers of AMS and CAS are required to submit a Controlling Officer's Report annually to account for all expenditure under the Heads for which they are controlling officers, including the analysis of financial and staffing provision and operating account.  The Report should explain the programmes on which the resources are to be spent and the targets to be achieved.  The Controlling Officers will assess whether the targets are met and the cost-effectiveness of meeting the targets in terms of unit cost or performance indicators.  In the course of preparing the Report, AMS and CAS will submit the contents of the Report to the SB for comment.

(d) and (e) Under the mechanism of the Resource Allocation Exercise, both AMS and CAS conduct an annual review on their various equipment, human resources, general administration and computer systems etc.  If so required, a proposal and an application for allocation of provision will be submitted to the SB.  In vetting the proposal, the SB will assess its effectiveness and feasibility to ensure an effective use of public resources before submitting an application to the Government.  After the application is approved, the SB will monitor the proposal appropriately to ensure that it is implemented as scheduled and that the expected effects are achieved.  In addition, AMS and CAS may submit a proposal to the SB for application for allocation of additional provision to meet the shortfall arising from specific unforeseen circumstances.  The SB will assess and scrutinise the application in the manner stated above.

     In the past three years, through the established mechanism of the Resource Allocation Exercise, the SB assisted AMS and CAS in implementing various projects to improve management and enhance efficiency.  These projects included the development of a computer management system for the Cadet Corps and members in AMS, so that AMS can closely monitor members' duty and training rate as well as their personal training records; the creation of two posts of Operations and Training Officer and one post of Clerical Assistant to implement projects related to the Cadet Corps; the implementation of the Security Risk Audit and Assessment Service for AMS; the installation of the Remote Access to Confidential Mail System for AMS; and the upgrading of the server systems.  The SB also assisted CAS in the creation of one post of Analyst/Programmer II to support the development of information technology in CAS; the development of the Human Resources Management System for CAS to manage and monitor the attendance and training records of members and the needs for manpower resources; the upgrading of the hardware and software of the information technology systems; and the undertaking of CAS information technology security audit and risk assessment.  In addition, the Audit Commission will, from time to time, carry out value for money audits on government departments and make value-added recommendations to help them enhance their governance, accountability and cost-effectiveness.  The Commission has just conducted a review on the AMS in which a series of recommendations are made to improve its management and enhance the efficiency in resource allocation.

Ends/Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:44


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