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LCQ20: Civil service entry system

Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Man-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Miss Denise Yue, on civil service entry system in the Legislative Council today (February 20):

Question:

On June 1, 2000, the Government implemented a new civil service entry system under which recruits joining basic ranks in civil service grades would be appointed on three-year probationary terms, to be followed by three-year agreement terms (commonly known as the "3+3 model"), before they can be considered for appointment on the prevailing permanent terms. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the up-to-date number, broken down by grade (excluding the teaching grade), of employees appointed under the 3+3 model who have completed the three-year probationary period and three-year agreement period and, among them, the respective numbers of those who have been and those who have not been offered further appointment on permanent terms, as well as the reasons why some of them have not been offered further appointment on permanent terms;

(b) of the up-to-date number of teachers appointed under the 3+3 model who have completed the three-year probationary period and three-year agreement period and, among them,

(i) the number of those who have been offered further appointment on permanent terms, together with a breakdown by their current rank and the type of schools (i.e. secondary school or primary school) in which they are teaching;

(ii) the number of those who have not been offered further appointment on permanent terms, the reasons thereof and their current remuneration package; and

(c) whether it will comprehensively review the impact of the 3+3 employment model on attracting talents to join the civil service and retaining staff; if it will, of the review proposal; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply :

Madam President,

Under the new civil service entry system implemented on June 1, 2000, new recruits at basic ranks are normally appointed on three-year new probationary terms (Note 1), to be followed by three-year new agreement terms (referred to as the "3+3" system(Note 2), before they can be considered for appointment on new permanent terms. Departments will consider whether further appointment on new permanent terms should be offered to the officers concerned, having regard to the established criteria, including service need, the availability of vacancies on the permanent establishment to accommodate such officers and their work performance.

In the light of the above, my reply to the question is as follows:

(a) A breakdown by grade (excluding the teaching grade) of civil servants who have completed the three-year probationary period and the three-year agreement period as at December 31, 2007 is at Annex 1. Among the 677 civil servants on new terms who have completed "3+3" years of service, only four have not been offered further appointment on new permanent terms. As regards reasons for not offering permanent terms, one was due to the absence of long term service needs, or where such needs are under review, and three were due to unsatisfactory performance/ conduct.

(b) In 2001 and 2002, the former Education Department recruited teachers under the new entry system in the ranks of Assistant Education Officer, Assistant Primary School Master/Mistress and Certificated Master/Mistress. As at September 1, 2007, the Education Bureau (EDB) was employing 304 teachers who had served their probation and completed service on new agreement terms for three years. Of these teachers, 126 were appointed on new permanent terms, and the remaining teachers were employed on new agreement terms with the same remuneration package as that before renewal of agreement. Please refer to Annex 2 for a breakdown of the number of teachers by rank and type of school.

In 2007, EDB was not able to offer new permanent terms to all teachers concerned as there was then a projected surplus of teaching staff in government schools in the longer term. EDB continues to employ on new agreement terms those teachers who could not be offered permanent terms. It also reviews its manpower projections on an annual basis, with due regard to all relevant factors, including new education initiatives, student population projections and natural wastage, to ascertain whether adequate permanent posts are available to allow government school teachers appointed on new agreement terms to be offered permanent terms.

(c) To provide greater flexibility in the civil service appointment system and to allow for better quality control of staff, the Government implemented a new entry system in 2000. New appointees to the civil service have to demonstrate their suitability in all aspects before they are considered for appointment on the prevailing permanent terms, and those who are unsuitable will not be offered further appointment. Since the implementation of the new entry system, the Civil Service Bureau has kept in view the recruitment and retention of staff in various grades. We consider that the new system has been effective in achieving an appropriate balance between stability and flexibility. We will also continue to monitor the overall appointment of civil servants to ascertain whether it would be necessary to review the existing civil service appointment system.

Note 1: New recruits are normally required to complete a three-year probationary period. For officers who have served in the civil service holding similar ranks or assuming similar duties, the appointment authority may, having regard to the nature of duties, reduce the probationary period for such new recruits by no more than half of the probationary period required for the new office.

Note 2: Individual grades are allowed to propose to the Civil Service Bureau and the Public Service Commission variations to the basic entry system to meet management needs and operational requirements. For example, for reason of stability, new recruits joining all disciplined services grades will be offered appointment on permanent terms after satisfactory completion of the three-year probationary period.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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