The Civil Service in Hong Kong

The Civil Service in Hong Kong

AHMED SHAFIQUL HUQUE
GRACE O.M. LEE
ANTHONY B.L. CHEUNG
Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 200
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jc6rj
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  • Book Info
    The Civil Service in Hong Kong
    Book Description:

    The civil service has made significant contribution to the development of Hong Kong. Over the years, this institution has been exposed to challenges emanating from the rapidly changing environment. The preparation for Hong Kong's integration with China was a major accomplishment for the civil service. Immediately after the transition, new problems and issues are emerging, and the civil service is expected to assist in dealing with them under the changed circumstances. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the organisation, problems, issues and prospects of the civil service in Hong Kong. It examines the origin and development of the civil service, efforts to deal with the changes before and after the transition, and the process of managing public services with reference to its changing role and responsibilities. The book will be of interest to academics, civil servants, professionals and students, as well as researchers interested in the role of civil servants in changing societies, and can be used for teaching courses on public administration and Asian Studies.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-074-6
    Subjects: Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE (pp. vii-viii)
    Ahmed Shafiqul Huque, Grace O.M. Lee and Anthony B.L. Cheung
  4. ABBREVIATIONS (pp. ix-x)
  5. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION (pp. 1-14)

    One of the most significant political events of the twentieth century has been the reintegration of Hong Kong with the People’s Republic of China in 1997. The case of reversal of sovereignty was watched closely by the international community. Expectations of a smooth transition increased and declined as the negotiations proceeded and as the numerous areas that needed attention before and after the handover emerged over the period of negotiation. The wide range of issues that needed to be sorted out before the reintegration included the nature of the government to be established in Hong Kong, its relationship with the...

  6. CHAPTER 2 THE CIVIL SERVICE IN PERSPECTIVE (pp. 15-26)

    Under the colonial administration, the civil servants in Hong Kong gradually emerged as a distinguished class or a ruling elite, who were not merely ‘public servants’ but also ‘political masters’ (Lee, 1995: 40). Considering the preeminent position of the civil servants in administering Hong Kong, it is evident that this group will have to play a key role in leading the territory through new phases of development as well as in the process of transition. This chapter discusses a number of issues related to the role of the civil service and its influence in the society; the characteristics of the...

  7. CHAPTER 3 THE CHALLENGE OF TRANSITION (pp. 27-54)

    In the process of change of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the civil service institution must have counted as a major legacy from British colonial rule. For China as the incoming sovereign, the civil service has always been regarded as an important stabilizing element for good administration, which needs to be preserved despite the political change. Indeed she would like to retain the kind of administrative state dominated by senior administrative civil servants in the name of an ‘executive-led’ system. For the departing British administration, the civil service, together with the judiciary, stood as the embodiment of the ‘Britishness’ of Hong...

  8. CHAPTER 4 PREPARING FOR CHANGE (pp. 55-82)

    Hong Kong civil servants, due to their position and the nature of the functions they perform, occupy a prominent position in Hong Kong’s political life. They are involved, directly or indirectly, in the formulation and implementation of policies as well as their subsequent evaluation. The civil servants of Hong Kong have always been considered as an important group of political actors in the executive-led system where public officials have a crucial role to play in public affairs. Senior civil servants bear the major share of responsibility for policy formulation and resource allocation. Article 99 of the Basic Law stipulates that...

  9. CHAPTER 5 MANAGING SUCCESSION (pp. 83-96)

    Effective government, more than we commonly realize, depends on precedent, past experience and accumulated wisdom. Continuity and confidence borne of the ability to draw on reservoirs of experience are central to the efficiency and ethos of a mature civil service, and are part of a country’s cultural and administrative capital. Experience brings wisdom, and both contribute to the pride and esprit de corps which again are characteristics of the best government machines. All these are intangible assets built up over generations. They are usually taken for granted until continuity is challenged by rapid or unexpected changes in personnel, in circumstances...

  10. CHAPTER 6 MANAGING AND REWARDING PERFORMANCE (pp. 97-124)

    A high-performing civil service which is always ready for self-renewal has been a persistent objective of the administrative regime in Hong Kong. Towards the final years of the transition, the civil service had embarked on an ambitious programme of Public Sector Reform (Finance Branch, 1989) which ultimately aims at an overhaul of the civil service culture — from a rules-oriented administrative culture to a more cost-conscious and value-seeking managerial culture. One of the principal themes of reform is ‘Managing for Performance’ (Efficiency Unit, 1995a). In his maiden Policy Address to the Provisional Legislative Council on 8 October 1997, the first...

  11. CHAPTER 7 MANAGING THE PUBLIC SECTOR (pp. 125-140)

    It is becoming increasingly difficult to define the public sector. Over the years, the boundary between the private and public sectors has become blurred, and functions and operations overlap, making the distinction much more difficult. Lane considered various approaches to the definition of the public sector. He highlighted ideas related to governmental activities and their consequences, and listed several characteristics of the public sector to be borne in mind, such as high levels of bureaucracy, concern with planning, dealing with public resource allocation, public distribution of income, public ownership, and public employment (Lane, 1993: Ch 1). The management of the...

  12. CHAPTER 8 THE FUTURE ROLE OF THE SENIOR CIVIL SERVICE (pp. 141-158)

    On 11 December 1996 the Selection Committee formed by the China-appointed Hong Kong SAR Preparatory Committee selected Tung Chee-hwa as the first Chief Executive of the SAR. Since Tung had repeatedly emphasized, during his campaign, his intention to exert strong leadership as Chief Executive and the need to maintain an executive-led political system in the post-1997 governance of Hong Kong, there was much speculation as to whether his stewardship of Hong Kong would significantly deviate from that of British governors during the colonial era.

    While the past does not always predict the future and it would be oversimplistic just to...

  13. CHAPTER 9 CONTINUITY AND CHANGE (pp. 159-170)

    An examination of various aspects of the Hong Kong civil service reveals interesting findings. It is obvious that a large number of changes have been taking place in the last three decades, both within the civil service as well as in its relationship with the external environment in which it operates. The changes encompass a variety of issues and areas. The civil service has to anticipate, respond and provide crucial support to lead Hong Kong in its march to prosperity. Changes are evident in the scope of activities of the government and public administration, development and implementation of public and...

  14. APPENDIX A GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS (pp. 171-172)
  15. APPENDIX B STANDARD TRAINING PROGRAMMES (pp. 173-176)
  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 177-184)
  17. INDEX (pp. 185-190)

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