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SCS's opening remarks at LegCo Finance Committee special meeting
     Following are the opening remarks (English translation) by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mrs Ingrid Yeung, at the special meeting of the Legislative Council Finance Committee this afternoon (April 11):
     Among the matters related to the Civil Service Bureau in the 2023-24 Draft Estimates of Expenditure, I would like to focus my introduction on three items.
     The first item is the civil service establishment. To strengthen fiscal discipline, the Government has maintained zero growth in the civil service establishment for two years in a row, so as to ensure the sustainability of public finances. In 2023-24, we will continue to strictly control the growth of the civil service establishment and maintain the target of zero growth. It is expected that as at end-March 2024, the civil service establishment will remain at about 197 000 posts (including permanent and time-limited posts). Bureaux and departments will take forward the Government's various new policies and initiatives through reprioritisation, internal redeployment, streamlining of work processes and enhancing of effectiveness and efficiency.
     The second item is about civil service training. The Chief Executive put forward initiatives in the 2022 Policy Address to enhance training for civil servants. We have set aside resources for such initiatives. The estimated expenditure related to civil service training is around $220 million in 2023-24. With the full resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland, the Civil Service College (the College) will resume a series of national studies programmes and exchange activities to be held on the Mainland this year. It will also further strengthen civil service training in understanding the country's development strategies and national security, broadening global perspectives and building a service culture. Since its establishment, except for the creation of the post of the Head of the Civil Service College, the College has been operating on the organisational structure and establishment inherited from the former Civil Service Training and Development Institute. To promote the development of the College, there is a need to restructure its organisation and strengthen its manpower. The Budget has also earmarked funding for the increase in manpower. The Civil Service Bureau will consult the Panel on Public Service this month on the creation of directorate posts in this regard.
     The third item is about medical services and dental services for civil servants. In the coming financial year, we have also reserved a provision of over $2,758 million for providing serving civil servants, pensioners and other eligible persons (CSEPs) with medical services, dental services (including the pilot scheme on provision of dental scaling services to some CSEPs via private dental organisations and procurement and replacement of dental equipment such as dental chairs), as well as for payment and reimbursement of medical fees and hospital charges. Over $1,092 million out of the said provision is for providing Families Clinic services and dental services. Also, we have reserved about $1,666 million for the payment of expenses on reimbursement of medical fees, which are not entirely predictable.
     The Civil Service Bureau will make better use of existing resources and manpower to implement other policy measures. For example, we will launch the "Chief Executive's Award for Exemplary Performance" to give recognition to exemplary teams or individuals on a regular basis, with a view to encouraging civil servants to constantly strive for excellence. The list of awardees for the first round of the Award will be announced in second quarter of 2023. We will openly publicise the good stories of the awardees to showcase more clearly to the public the excellent performance of the civil service. The Chief Executive also put forward the introduction of the "government-wide mobilisation" level in the 2022 Policy Address to enhance the mobilisation protocol and to conduct drills. We will continue our work on this front. The resources required for implementing these initiatives are to be absorbed by existing provision and manpower.
     Chairman, this is the end of my introduction. I would welcome questions from Members.
Ends/Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Issued at HKT 16:53
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