During the tea gatherings with our staff associations this year, two of the concerns raised by many colleagues are manpower and office accommodation. As in previous years, we will continue to strive for manpower increase in the civil service establishment and supplementary workforce. In addition, we discussed the need to in parallel look out for ways to streamline procedures to cope with work on various fronts. On office accommodation, in view of the expanding workforce in recent years, we are doing our utmost to optimise the use of current working space while actively identifying and reserving suitable space for office accommodation, all with a view to meeting colleagues’ operational needs. Alongside our endeavours in manpower planning, process streamlining and optimisation of office space, we need to maintain close ties with colleagues to deepen mutual understanding. To this end, I encourage colleagues to express opinions on issues that concern them through existing channels of communication, such as consultative committees and focus groups. Along with exchange and discussion comes enhanced service quality of the Department.
Our colleagues have recently undertaken to make special letting arrangements for the vacant flats in estates announced for redevelopment. This is yet another good example of how proactive colleagues are in supporting our mission to address people’s housing needs. Earlier this year, the Strategic Planning Committee of the Housing Authority endorsed a proposal to refurbish vacant flats at Pak Tin Estate and Mei Tung Estate ahead of their clearance dates two to three years later. Flats upon refurbishment will be let for a tenancy period not less than 24 months to eligible public rental housing (PRH) applicants queuing for flats in the urban district. To flesh out the details of this initiative, our colleagues have put their best efforts to, among other tasks, assess the possible length of tenancy of the vacant flats and mobilise additional resources to refurbish flats in better shape. On top of the normal procedures for PRH allocation, colleagues see to it that tenants under the special letting arrangements are subject to a requirement obliging them to move out by a specified date before clearance to mitigate any potential risks to the redevelopment programme. If applicants decline this special offer, their priority for the next will remain unaffected as allocation of such flats will not be counted as one of the three effective offers. As expected, these urban flats, very popular among applicants, have all been allocated.
Despite the limited supply of flats from this initiative, colleagues’ effort is very worthwhile as the sooner a family is allocated a flat, the sooner their living conditions get improved. We will therefore continue to push hard for more resources to support colleagues for meaningful causes such as this.
Director of Housing