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LCQ15: Alleviating workload of correctional staff
     Following is a question by Dr Hon Elizabeth Quat and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, in the Legislative Council today (May 31):
     In his speech at the annual press conference held in February this year, the Commissioner of Correctional Services indicated that the Correctional Services Department (CSD) "is still undergoing a peak period of staff wastage and the phenomenon will last for another few years". In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the respective wastages of various ranks of staff members in CSD in the past three years, and their percentages in the total numbers of staff members in the relevant ranks;
(2) given that the number of persons in custody (PICs) being transferred to Accident and Emergency Departments for medical treatments due to acute illness or accidental injuries, or admitted to outside hospitals or sent regularly to outside clinics for specialist treatments due to illness has remained high in recent years, and the related medical escort duties have greatly strained CSD's manpower, whether the authorities will allocate additional resources to CSD for employing additional manpower to cope with such duties; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(3) as some CSD staff members have relayed to me that they are required to work in rotating shifts and as the rest periods between the first and second shifts are shorter than normal when they have to "catch up with the previous shift", they prefer to stay in the staff common rooms during such rest periods, instead of travelling a long distance to return home (given that most of the correctional institutions are located in remote areas), and yet those common rooms are small with insufficient number of beds and facilities, whether the authorities will make improvement in this respect; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and,
(4) of the authorities' measures in place to mitigate the serious wastage of CSD staff; whether they will consider improving the remuneration packages for such staff members, adjusting their hours of work or adopting other measures; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(1) The wastage figures and wastage rates of staff in different ranks in the Correctional Services Department (CSD) in the past three financial years are listed as follows:
Officer rank
Financial year Natural wastage Other wastage Total Wastage rate
2014-15 48 5 53 5.0%
2015-16 50 14 64 5.9%
2016-17 62 11 73 6.7%
Total 160 30 190 /

Rank and file
Financial year Natural wastage Other wastage Total Wastage rate
2014-15 155 83 238 5.0%
2015-16 217 84 301 6.3%
2016-17 194 113 307 6.5%
Total 566 280 846 /

Note: Natural wastage refers to retirement, while other wastage includes resignation, transfer, dismissal, death, etc.

(2) The Escort and Support Group (ESG) of CSD is responsible for the daily duties of escorting persons in custody (PICs) to public hospitals for medical consultations and admission to hospitals for medical treatment. CSD also deploys officers on duty in correctional institutions to perform the aforesaid medical escort duties when necessary. In view of the increasingly heavy workload in this area in recent years, CSD increased 27 posts in its establishment in 2016-17 specifically for performing escort duties. Moreover, CSD reviews the staff deployment from time to time and has deployed some staff to ESG in order to lessen the impact on the manpower of individual institutions caused by deployment of internal staff to perform escort duties and to enhance the overall safety of operations. 
(3) In view of CSD's operations and the shift work arrangement of its staff, accommodation facilities are provided at all correctional institutions to enable correctional staff to perform sleep-in standby duty to meet the operational and urgent needs. CSD is required to provide accommodation and other basic facilities (such as rest rooms, messes, etc.) for correctional staff in accordance with the Accommodation Regulations. CSD reviews the level of provision and sizes of accommodation facilities from time to time, with a view to ensuring that relevant facilities suit the actual operational needs of correctional staff.
(4) In order to meet the continuous demand for manpower resources and provide quality custodial and rehabilitation services, CSD has adopted various measures in recent years to attract and retain talent. Relevant examples are as follows:
(i) on recruitment, CSD has expedited the recruitment process of the Assistant Officer grade by shortening it from nine months to approximately five months in recent years, so that new appointees can receive induction training and assume duty as early as possible.  Besides, the number of recruitment exercises for Assistant Officer II has been increased to two times a year. In the meantime, CSD has employed staff under the "Non-Civil Service Contract Staff Scheme" or the "Post-retirement Service Contract Scheme" to carry out non-core duties, with a view to alleviating the workload of correctional staff;
(ii) on working hours, CSD is seeking to pilot the five-day work week through changing the shift arrangement as far as practicable, with the Cape Collinson Correctional Institution designated as a pilot institution with effect from February this year. With the implementation of the five-day work week, colleagues would have more consecutive leave days, which promotes better work-life balance and reduces overall commute time, under the principle that there would be no reduction in the conditioned hours of service. Nevertheless, as the management, operation, schedules and custodial arrangements of PICs at various correctional institutions are different, CSD could only implement further flexible shift arrangements where the operation and security of correctional institutions would not be affected and relevant factors have been carefully considered; and
(iii) on housing benefits, in addition to the staff quarters for CSD at Tin Wan and the Quarters for the Disciplined Services in Kwun Tong currently under construction, CSD has been proactively studying various options to increase the supply of quarters, including redeveloping existing married quarters and reallocating vacant quarters, etc., with a view to maximising the supply of flats while optimising the use of resources.
     CSD will continue to closely monitor the workload of staff, review the manpower situation, and deploy and bid for necessary resources according to established mechanisms in a timely manner.
Ends/Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:53
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