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LCQ9: Civil service disciplinary procedures

Following is a question by the Hon Tam Yiu-chung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Miss Denise Yue, on civil service disciplinary procedures in the Legislative Council today (July 11):

Question:

Regarding the civil service disciplinary mechanism and procedures, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether civil servants being alleged of misconduct ("the officers concerned") bear the burden of proving their innocence in formal and informal disciplinary proceedings;

(b) whether the officers concerned have the right to request the management to let them peruse all information in relation to their alleged misconduct, including letters of complaint with the complainants' names and other personal particulars obliterated, so that they can grasp all the facts relevant to the allegations and make full preparation for their defence; if not, of the justifications;

(c) whether the management is obliged to disclose to the officers concerned all the evidence relevant to the allegations (including evidence for or against them), and whether the officers concerned are given sufficient opportunities to defend themselves; if not, of the reasons for that; and

(d) of the criteria adopted by the management for determining whether a particular case should be referred to the Police for criminal investigation?

Reply:

Madam President,

Our reply to the four-part question is summed up as follows.

According to the civil service disciplinary procedures, it is the duty of the departmental management to substantiate the alleged misconduct with evidence and to provide the officer concerned with adequate opportunity to defend his case. The officer, on the other hand, has the right to defend himself or furnish justifications to support his claim of innocence to the departmental management.

The officer concerned has the right to ask the departmental management for the materials related to his alleged misconduct. For summary disciplinary action, the departmental management will disclose as appropriate to the officer concerned the relevant materials in support of the disciplinary charge(s) made against him, so as to facilitate the making of his own defence. Where disciplinary proceedings are instituted under the Public Service (Administration) Order, the officer concerned will be provided, at least 14 calendar days before the hearing, with the evidence to be used in support of the disciplinary charge(s) made against him, together with a list of proposed witnesses to be called. In the hearing, the officer may put up a defence or produce evidence before an independent inquiry officer or committee appointed to conduct the disciplinary hearing. He also has the right to question the management’s witnesses, to call his own witnesses, to present evidence and to make statements, etc.

If a disciplinary case reveals suspected crime, the departmental management will refer the case to the Independent Commission Against Corruption or the Hong Kong Police Force for follow up action.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

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