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CE: New philosophy for strengthening governance
     Delivering her inaugural Policy Address today (October 11), the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, set out her philosophy of governance and outlined an expanded role for the Government to play in striving for a better Hong Kong.

     She identified good governance as a top priority for her political team.

     "Good governance is vital, whether in discharging the responsibilities of the Government as a 'service provider' or a 'regulator', or in taking up the new roles of the Government as a 'facilitator' and 'promoter' that I advocate," Mrs Lam said, adding that the Government will take concrete actions to resolve problems for the people, following the principles of being "Innovative, Interactive and Collaborative".
     "In taking up the role of a 'facilitator', the Government should be visionary, scrutinise existing policies and measures pursuant to policy objectives, remove obstacles for our industries, and strengthen co-ordination and co-operation across government bureaux and departments and provide ‘one-stop’ consultation and services as far as practicable, with a view to maximising the benefits for the community."

     To tie in with the Government's new role as a "facilitator", the Central Policy Unit will be revamped as the Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Unit. The new office will be responsible for policy research and innovation, co-ordination across bureaux and departments, enhancing public participation and rendering assistance in co-ordination work for cross-bureaux policies selected by the senior leadership of the Government.

     The Efficiency Unit will be transferred from the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office to the Innovation and Technology Bureau to enhance operational efficiency and provide improved public services through the application of innovative technology, and further promote innovation and technology development within the Government.

     "Furthermore, government officials should place more emphasis on the role of the Government as a 'promoter'. By strengthening the links between the HKSAR and the Mainland as well as other countries, elevating Hong Kong's status as Asia’s world city, attracting both Mainland and overseas enterprises and talent to Hong Kong and, in collaboration with relevant organisations and trade representatives, proactively conducting 'government-to-government' interactions and lobbying, we seek to further expand Hong Kong's external relations."

     The current-term Government will encourage greater public participation and engagement in formulating policies and recruit top talent from different sectors, notably the younger generation, Mrs Lam said.

     The Government will recruit young people who aspire to be engaged in policy research as well as policy and project co-ordination to join the Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Unit proposed to be established as non-civil service contract staff so that they could make a contribution in shaping the future Hong Kong.

     "I have called upon all policy bureaux to uphold the principle of meritocracy and cast their net wide in scouting for talents. Anyone with ability and the commitment to serve the community will stand a chance to join various statutory and advisory bodies and tender advice to the Government.

     "To further encourage public participation, the Government will introduce a pilot self-recommendation scheme to recruit young members as a priority target."

     She said the Government had identified five advisory committees as the first batch for accommodating self-recommended young members, including the Youth Development Commission to be established, the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education, the Committee on Innovation, Technology and Re-industrialisation, the Environmental Campaign Committee and the Action Committee Against Narcotics.

     The Chief Executive also announced the setting up of a new civil service college to continue to strive for excellence through enhanced training, as well as deepen civil servants' understanding of the relationship between the Central Authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and international affairs.

     "I propose to establish a new civil service college with upgraded training facilities so as to further enhance training for civil servants in the areas of leadership development, interaction and communication with the public, innovation, use of technology, etc."

     To demonstrate the Government's commitment to openness and inclusiveness, Mrs Lam announced that the East Wing Forecourt of the Central Government Offices would re-open before the end of this year.

     "We will resume the arrangement for members of the public to make applications for holding public meetings or processions at the East Wing Forecourt on Sundays and public holidays. Relevant departments are making preparation for the re-opening of the East Wing Forecourt and details will be announced later."

     In order to ease the increasing stress and workload on civil servants, the Chief Executive said she plans to increase the overall size of the civil service establishment by not less than 3 per cent in the 2018-19 financial year. She also proposed delaying the retirement age on a voluntary basis for officers who joined the civil service between June 1, 2000, and May 31, 2015, to 65 (for civilian grades) or 60 (for disciplined services grades). This is in line with the retirement age for officers joining after May 31, 2015. 
Ends/Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Issued at HKT 13:40
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