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Part 2 of Residential Care Homes (Persons with Disabilities) Ordinance to come into effect on Monday

     Part 2 of the Residential Care Homes (Persons with Disabilities) Ordinance on sanctions for operating a residential care home without a licence or certificate of exemption (CoE) will come into effect next Monday (June 10), following the completion of the vetting procedures of the Residential Care Homes (Persons with Disabilities) Ordinance (Commencement) Notice 2013.

     A spokesman for the Labour and Welfare Bureau pointed out that it will be an offence on June 10, 2013, and thereafter to operate, keep, manage or in any other way have control of a residential care home for persons with disabilities (RCHD) without a valid licence or CoE.

     "The Social Welfare Department (SWD) will take appropriate enforcement action including prosecuting the operator and/or the home manager. The maximum penalty on conviction is a fine at level 6 ($100,000 at present) and imprisonment for two years. In the case of a continuing offence, a further fine of $10,000 for each day may be imposed," the spokesman said.

     By way of background, the Ordinance, except Part 2, has been in force since November 18, 2011. To allow sufficient time for individual RCHDs to put in place suitable arrangements for application for a new licence or CoE and for the SWD to process the applications, a grace period of 18 months has been given starting from the commencement of the Ordinance. During the grace period, no sanction would be imposed on the operation of an RCHD without a licence or CoE. Following expiry of the grace period, Part 2 of the Ordinance will come into operation next Monday.

     "By regulating RCHDs through the statutory licensing scheme and introducing complementary measures, we can ensure the service quality of the residential care service for persons with disabilities on the one hand, and help the market develop residential care homes of different types and operational modes on the other, thereby providing more service options for persons with disabilities," said the spokesman.

     In tandem with the licensing scheme, the SWD has introduced suitable complementary measures, such as encouraging private RCHDs to upgrade their service standards through the pilot Bought Place Scheme for private RCHDs. The SWD has also implemented a Financial Assistance Scheme for Private RCHDs to provide subsidies for private RCHDs to carry out improvement works in compliance with the licensing requirements in building and fire safety.

Ends/Thursday, June 6, 2013
Issued at HKT 11:00


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