Our Ref. : BP 6/25
29 June 2012
Today is my last working day as Secretary for the Civil Service. It also marks the conclusion of my career in the public service for nearly four decades. On 1 July, I will revert to being a civil servant and proceed on leave before joining the ranks of retired civil servants.
I feel deeply privileged and honoured to have had the opportunity to work with you and many of your predecessors in serving the people of Hong Kong, first as a civil servant for some 32 years and then as Secretary for the Civil Service – a member of the politically accountable team – for the last six plus years.
During the past 38 years, I have served in a number of bureaux and departments. A more recent posting was in the former Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau, where I worked between 2002 and 2006. It was during this period that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) hosted the World Trade Organization’s Sixth Ministerial Conference. To prepare for this mega event, my colleagues and I worked shoulder to shoulder, tirelessly coping with mountains of work and resolving myriads of thorny problems. What touched me most was that thousands of civil servant colleagues from different bureaux and departments volunteered their time and expertise to help in the preparations. We were united as one in the single mission of pulling off a smoothly- and effectively-conducted international conference in Hong Kong; and we did it. To this day, laurels are still being bestowed on the HKSAR for hosting an extremely successful Ministerial Conference.
Before 2002, I worked in the former Finance Branch and the former Finance Bureau at different periods of time for more than a decade. My main responsibility then was to facilitate the work of bureaux and departments through the public finance angle. Maybe because of this, I felt number crunching was the order of my day.
My feeling as Secretary for the Civil Service is very different. In this position, I must be people-focused and serve with a caring heart. Not only do I have to understand and meet the manpower needs of different departments, I also have to sustain morale in the Civil Service. I need to enhance communication and interaction with colleagues, taking heed of their words not just with my ears but more importantly with my heart. Every decision I make has to comply with the law and must be reasonable and rational.
As Secretary for the Civil Service, my saddest moments are when I receive reports of civil servants sacrificing their lives or suffering serious injury in the course of duty. My most reluctant yet imperative decisions are the dismissal of those civil servants found guilty of serious misconduct. My most challenging work is striking the appropriate balance between upholding the public interest on the one side, and improving civil servants’ benefits and safeguarding their individual rights on the other. My greatest satisfaction comes from words of praise from members of the public on the performance of the Civil Service.
From the 20th to the 21st century, in good and in bad times, I have witnessed a consistent display of professionalism, commitment to duty, and devotion to serving the public among civil servant colleagues of all ranks. I have seen them making their best efforts to stay abreast of times, keeping pace with changes in society, and responding proactively to rising public expectations. I am confident that the Civil Service will continue to walk the extra mile and serve the community with a caring heart.
The Civil Service is the backbone of the HKSAR. It plays a pivotal role in maintaining effective governance as well as the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong. The rule of law, honesty, integrity, objectivity, impartiality, political neutrality, dedication, professionalism, diligence, and accountability for decisions and actions taken are the core values of the Civil Service. I firmly believe that colleagues will uphold these core values at all times, strive forward from strength to strength, and provide services of the highest quality to the community.
However far a ship has travelled, there comes a time when it must dock. However unwilling, the time has come for me to bid farewell to you all. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere and heartfelt gratitude for your forbearance and support over all these years.
Finally, I wish you and your family good health and happiness.
(Miss Denise YUE)
Secretary for the Civil Service