Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ20: Taking up post-service outside work by directorate civil servants

     Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Clement Cheung, in the Legislative Council today (May 18):


     Under the existing requirements, directorate civil servants who wish to take up any outside work during their leave period before they leave office and/or within a specified control period must obtain prior permission from the Secretary for the Civil Service. If they are at Directorate Pay Scale Point 8 (D8) or equivalent, the control period is three years. It has been reported that the former Commissioner of Police (CP) (a post with a pay scale point equivalent to D8) who retired just over a year ago, has recently submitted an application to the Civil Service Bureau for taking up outside work, in order to take up a post of a strategic planning consultant with an annual salary of over $1 million in a private organization. As that person indicated, before retirement, that he would not consider joining the commercial sector after retirement because "even selling vegetables would come into contact with police officers", and he would only consider working for charities that paid him $1 a year, his application has raised eyebrows in the community. Moreover, some members of the public have queried that the taking up of the post by that person may involve the transfer of benefits and deferred benefits, which may embarrass the Government and tarnish the image of the Police Force. Some members of the public have even queried that the private organization will gain certain advantages by employing a former CP. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it will take into consideration the following factors in its decision on whether to approve the application: the queries expressed by members of the public towards the application, the applicant's access to much sensitive information during his tenure as CP and the fact that top-level police duties involve different realms of the society; if it will not, of the reasons for that;

(2) whether it will review, in a timely manner, the arrangements for directorate civil servants to take up post-service outside work, in particular those senior civil servants (e.g. CP) whose scope of duties and power is wide and work nature is sensitive, and devise a clearer and more stringent regulation regime, e.g. extending the control period and specifying the types of outside work that may be approved; and

(3) whether it will consider entering into an agreement with directorate civil servants who will soon leave office for the purpose of specifying the nature of the post-service outside work that they may take up, so as to avoid their taking up new posts which brings embarrassment to the Government and tarnishes the image of the civil service; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     There is an established control regime governing the taking up of post-service outside work by directorate civil servants on final leave and former directorate civil servants in the Government. The objective is to strike a due balance between protection of the public interest and individual's right to work.

     Under the control regime, directorate civil servants are required to submit application in advance before taking up post-service outside work (except for unpaid work with specified non-commercial organisations) during the restriction periods. Restriction periods cover sanitisation period and control period. Sanitisation period lasts for six months (for officers at Directorate Pay Scale Point D1 to D3 or equivalent) or twelve months (for officers at Directorate Pay Scale Point D4 to D8 or equivalent), counting from the cessation of active government duty. Control period lasts for two years (for officers below Directorate Pay Scale Point D8 or equivalent) or three years (for officers at Directorate Pay Scale Point D8 or equivalent), counting from departure from the Civil Service. During the sanitisation period, applications for post-service outside work of commercial nature will normally not be approved.

     All applications will be assessed in a stringent manner against a set of key considerations including:

(a) the posts that the applicant has held and the scope of duties that the applicant has been responsible for during a specified period of time (three years or more) before cessation of his/her active government service;

(b) whether the applicant, while in the above specified period, had been involved in the formulation of any policies or decisions, the effects of which directly or specifically benefited or could directly or specifically benefit his/her own business or his/her prospective employer;

(c) whether the applicant or his/her prospective employer might gain an unfair advantage over competitors concerned because of the applicant's access to sensitive information while in the above specified period;

(d) whether the applicant, while in the above specified period, had been involved in any contractual or legal dealings to which the prospective employer was a party;

(e) whether the applied-for work would have any connection with the assignments/projects and/or regulatory/enforcement duties in which the applicant had been involved while in the above specified period;

(f) whether the applicant's taking up of the applied-for work would give rise to public suspicion of conflict of interest or other impropriety;

(g) whether any aspects of the applied-for work would cause embarrassment to the Government or bring disgrace to the Civil Service; and

(h) whether a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the relevant facts, would conclude that the applied-for work might give rise to reasonable apprehension of deferred reward or benefit.

     Besides, the Advisory Committee on Post-service Employment of Civil Servants provides the Government with independent advice on applications received.

     The existing control regime was formulated by the Government in 2011 after detailed consideration of the recommendations in the reports of the independent Committee on Review of Post-service Outside Work for Directorate Civil Servants appointed by the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council Select Committee to Inquire into Matters Relating to the Post-service Work of Mr Leung Chin-man, stakeholders' views and legal advice. It has been working effectively. Its implementation details are set out in the "Reports on the Work of the Advisory Committee on Post-service Employment of Civil Servants" submitted to the Legislative Council annually.

     We do not comment on individual applications.

Ends/Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:44


Print this page