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Home > Administration of the civil service >> Pay and Allowances
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Our Ref. : BP 6/25
24 March 2005

Dear Colleagues,

Development of an improved
pay adjustment mechanism for the civil service :
Conduct of a pay level survey

I am writing to inform you of the Government's decision to conduct a pay level survey for the civil service in 2005.

In November 2004, we launched an extensive consultation on the Phase One Consultant's proposals regarding the methodology of the pay level survey and the Civil Service Bureau (CSB)'s proposals on the general approach for the application of the survey results. The proposals under consultation have taken on board many of the views put forward by the staff side members of the Consultative Group on Civil Service Pay Adjustment Mechanism (please see Annex A for details).

Following the close of the consultation period on 7 January 2005, we have received a total of 91 written submissions. The main views contained in the written submissions and the respective responses of the CSB and the Phase One Consultant are summarised in Annex B. In the light of the consultation feedback, the Phase One Consultant has further refined his recommended survey methodology (a summary is at Annex C and the full version of the Consultant's Report on the Refined Recommendations has been uploaded to CSB's homepage at

Taking account of the Phase One Consultant's recommendations, the outcome of the recent extensive consultation and other relevant considerations, the Administration has decided to conduct a pay level survey in 2005 for the civil service using the methodology as recommended by the Phase One Consultant and further refined following the consultation. It has also decided that with the conduct of a pay level survey in 2005, there is no need to conduct a pay trend survey for 2004-05 (please see the Brief for the Legislative Council, which has been uploaded onto the CSB's homepage, for details.).

We shall commence the survey field work of the pay level survey as soon as possible with a view to capturing the pay adjustments in the private sector up to 1 April 2005. We envisage that the survey field work will comprise the following two key work steps -

(a) First, a detailed job inspection process to identify suitable civil service benchmark jobs and private sector matches for the purpose of obtaining private sector pay data; and

(b) Second, the collection of pay data and other relevant specified information from the private sector organisations included in the survey field as well as analyses of the private sector pay data collected.

We shall, in accordance with the established procedures for the Government's procurement of consultancy services, select and appoint a professional consultant (Phase Two Consultant) to carry out the survey field work.

The pay level survey is essentially a technical, fact-finding exercise to ascertain the differences, if any, in the pay levels between the civil service and the private sector. To safeguard the credibility of the survey results, it is important that the Phase Two Consultant carries out the survey field work in a professional and independent manner. Staff representatives at different levels (including staff side members of the Consultative Group, staff side members of Departmental Consultative Committees, staff unions/associations and holders of representative posts in the civil service benchmark jobs) will participate at various stages of the job inspection process.

As regards the application of the pay level survey results, the Government's decision will have to await the conclusion of the appeal proceedings in respect of the judicial review applications concerning the Public Officers Pay Adjustment Ordinance and the Public Officers Pay Adjustments (2004/2005) Ordinance. These appeal cases will be heard in the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) in June this year. We shall take account of the CFA's ruling in considering the application of the pay level survey results and its implementation, and will further consult colleagues in due course. Meanwhile, the proposals as contained in the Consultation Paper of November 2004 remain our position at this stage.

In the months ahead, as the field work of the pay level survey progresses, the Phase Two Consultant and the CSB will continue to seek the views of staff through appropriate channels. I look forward to your continued support and shall keep you posted on further developments of this important exercise.

Yours sincerely,

The signature of SCS, Joseph W P Wong

(Joseph W P Wong)
Secretary for the Civil Service

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