Message from the Chairman

In recent years, there have been several occasions when work undertaken by former directorate civil servants after they leave government service was the subject of interest of the public and the media. This is understandable as it involves the protection of the public interest and the protection of an individual's right to work. Last year, the public expressed grave concern over the approval given to Mr Leung Chin-man, a retired directorate civil servant, to work for a particular private developer. In response, the Chief Executive appointed an independent Committee on Review of Post-service Outside Work for Directorate Civil Servants (hereafter referred to as 'the Review Committee') in September 2008 to review the existing policy and arrangements.

Public interest embodies, among other things, good governance, public trust as well as integrity and impartiality of civil servants. At the same time, another crucial facet of public interest is an individual's right to work which, although enshrined in our laws, should not be taken as absolute. Indeed, the Review Committee shares the view of most respondents to our public consultation that protection of the public interest takes precedence over protection of an individual's right to work. This necessarily gives rise to the question whether the existing policy and arrangements strikes an appropriate balance.

In addition to several public forums and briefings, the Review Committee held a total of 24 meetings to examine not just the existing policy and arrangements but also to discuss frankly and extensively views expressed by different sectors of the community as well as views of Members themselves. This contributed much to the deliberations of the Review Committee in arriving at the 23 recommendations covering different aspects of the control regime which is part of the Report to be submitted to the Chief Executive. There are several recommendations where the Review Committee was not unanimous but it was not due to the lack of effort. Nonetheless I am comfortable that this will not detract from the main thrust of our recommendations which we believe will in some instances improve the control regime and in others mitigate suspicion or perception of impropriety.

In conclusion, on behalf of the Review Committee I would like to thank everyone who has given us their valuable views as well as to those members of the Civil Service Bureau who have assisted us in our work. On a personal note, I would like to thank each and every Member of the Review Committee for their valuable contribution and time, including many Saturday mornings and the occasional evenings, without which we would not have been able to complete our task within a few months.


Ronald ARCULLI, Chairman
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