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NGOs in welfare sector implement Best Practice Manual to enhance governance and move with the times (with photos)

     The Social Welfare Department (SWD) today (September 15) launched the Envisioning Programme on the Best Practice Manual (BPM) and held the first symposium to facilitate the implementation of the BPM by non-governmental welfare organisations (NGOs) receiving the Lump Sum Grant (LSG). The Programme provides a platform for the sharing of experience and knowledge on the challenges and opportunities arising from increased transparency and accountability in corporate governance.

     At the opening of the symposium, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "To accommodate the ever changing pace of society, there is a call for greater flexibility in the management of subvented welfare services so that NGOs may respond to the service demand swiftly and effectively."

     The Labour and Welfare Bureau appointed the LSG Independent Review Committee (IRC) in 2008 to assess the overall effectiveness of the LSG Subvention System. The IRC made 36 recommendations for improvement. The first recommendation was to draw up the BPM for NGOs on financial management, human resources management, corporate governance and accountability. The BPM has been implemented since July 1, 2014, with the purpose of providing a common framework for NGOs receiving the LSG to enhance their communication with stakeholders, disclosure of related information and transparency of governance.

     Mr Cheung said, "I am pleased to see that NGOs are taking a serious approach to implementing the BPM. The welfare sector has showed its willingness to co-operate and improve corporate governance. As the logo of the Envisioning Programme suggests, the welfare sector is a flourishing plant. Through the joint efforts of the management and governing boards of organisations, staff, service users and the Government, the sector will enhance governance and move with the times to build a better future together. Thanks to these efforts, the seeds planted in corporate governance by welfare organisations today will surely thrive and grow."

     The Dean of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, Professor Gabriel Leung, delivered a keynote speech at the symposium and said, "The BMP enables co-workers as well as organisations to work together to review and enhance organisations' transparency and strengthen their sapiential authority."

     In delivering her welcoming speech, the Director of Social Welfare, Ms Carol Yip, said, "The SWD has launched a hotline and a designated webpage since the implementation of the BPM and has visited all the 169 subvented NGOs. The organisations concerned have started their reviews according to the BPM and are formulating appropriate policies and procedures.

     "The SWD launched the Envisioning Programme today with more than 700 representatives from the subvented NGOs participating in the event. We are grateful for the support of the stakeholders in reaching consensus on the BPM, and with the sector's co-operation the BPM can be implemented smoothly and with the desired effect."

     The Programme also comprises four seminars and workshops on financial management, human resources management, corporate governance and accountability, giving members of the welfare sector the opportunity to exchange and share ideas, taking corporate governance to a higher level. The seminars and workshops will be held from November 2015 to March 2016. Board members and senior management of the NGOs are welcome to participate in order to enhance corporate governance together.

     Five guests attending today's symposium were Legislative Council Member Mr Cheung Kwok-che; the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS), Mr Chua Hoi-wai; the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, Dr Rosanna Wong; the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong, Dr Roy Chung; and the Chief Executive of the ABM Hong Kong Swatow Baptist Church Community Service Association, Ms Chang Siu-wah. They shared their experiences and views on corporate governance from different perspectives. Also attending today's launch ceremony were the Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Miss Annie Tam, and the Vice Chairperson of the HKCSS, Mr Kennedy Liu.

Ends/Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:14


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