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LCQ10: Non-civil service contract (NCSC) staff serving in Security Bureau

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, to a question by the Hon Mrs Regina Ip in the Legislative Council today (March 19):


     Some non-civil service contract (NCSC) staff employed by the Security Bureau (SB) have relayed to me that SB has been renewing their employment yearly on one-year contracts for a period as long as nine years.  Notwithstanding that their job duties include handling of sensitive information as well as the provision of engineering and technology related support, which are similar to those of civil servants of comparable ranks, their remunerations are less than the starting salaries of those civil servants by one third to 50 per cent, resulting in low morale among them and a brain drain as well as a prolonged manpower shortage of SB.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of NCSC staff members currently employed by SB; among them, the number of staff members who have been employed for five consecutive years or more, with a breakdown by job position;

(2) whether SB has specific plans to assist those NCSC staff who have relatively long service years and whose positions are related to long-term service needs to be appointed as civil servants; and

(3) of the specific solutions of SB to resolve the aforesaid problems relayed by NCSC staff, including different pay for the same work, brain drain and prolonged manpower shortage?



(1) At present there are 17 non-civil service contract (NCSC) staff serving in the Security Bureau (SB).  Among them, four have been employed for five consecutive years or more.  They include two Contract Technical Officers, one Contract Centre-in-charge and one Contract Programme Officer, whose length of service is less than seven years at their respective positions.

(2) Civil service and NCSC appointments are two distinct types of employment.  Their purposes and circumstances of employment are entirely different. Direct comparison between them is not appropriate as their terms of employment and pay adjustment mechanisms are not the same.  As to the proposal of appointing NCSC staff as civil servants, it is the Government's established policy to select the most suitable persons for civil service vacancies through an open, fair and competitive recruitment process. As the circumstances and nature of the employment of NCSC staff are different from those of civil servants and the entry requirements as well as selection process for NCSC positions may differ from those of civil service posts, it is not appropriate to accord priority to employing NCSC staff as civil servants.  Nevertheless, NCSC staff who are interested in civil service posts may, in accordance with the Government's established policy, apply through open recruitment exercises.

(3) NCSC staff are employed by the SB to promptly respond to service needs which are time-limited, or attend to tasks where the mode of service delivery is to be reviewed or likely to be changed.  As far as certain service needs are concerned, there are no comparable civil service ranks performing the required tasks.  In determining the terms and conditions (including entry pay and pay upon contract renewal) for the employment of NCSC staff, the SB follows the guidelines issued by the Civil Service Bureau, that the terms and conditions should be no less favourable than those provided for under the Employment Ordinance (Cap 57) and no more favourable than those applicable to civil servants in comparable civil service ranks or with comparable levels of responsibilities (where they exist).  Furthermore, a host of factors such as the employment market's prevailing condition, recruitment results and the cost of living will be taken into account and gratuities will be offered to ensure that the pay is set at a rate that remains competitive with the market level and that the SB is in a position to recruit or retain suitable NCSC staff.  The SB also regularly reviews the pay of NCSC staff and make adjustments accordingly.  Upon expiry of contracts or departure of NCSC staff, the SB will prudently review the continued needs of the tasks or services and decide whether to proceed with contract renewal or recruitment in the light of the circumstances.

     The SB is reviewing the service need of the relevant tasks.  As there may be changes to the contract positions of Contract Centre-in-charge and Contract Programme Officer mentioned in Part (1) above, creating civil service posts for such services at this juncture may not be appropriate.  The major duty of the Contract Technical Officers mentioned in Part (1) above is to provide basic technical support services without involving the handling of sensitive information.  As the contract positions only involve basic technical work, for which there is an abundant supply of employees in the market and as newly-recruited staff can pick up the work quickly, there is no question of prolonged manpower wastage or shortage.

Ends/Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:41


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