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At the invitation of the Administration, the three advisory bodies on civil service salaries and conditions of service agreed to conduct a review of the pay policy and system for the civil service.

The three advisory bodies are the Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service; the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service; and the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service

A Task Force was established in January 2002 to conduct the review in two phases.  It released its Phase One Interim Report in mid-April 2002, followed by public consultation until June 30, 2002.

The three advisory bodies today (September 20) submitted the Phase One Final Report of the Task Force to the Administration. 

The recommendations of the Task Force are mainly conceptual at this stage, with specific areas identified for further study in Phase Two.  The Task Force has also identified some pressing issues which it believes the Administration should address.

In the short term, the Task Force suggests that priority should be given to devising a practical framework and methodology for conducting a pay level survey, and to reviewing the pay trend survey methodology.  The Administration should consider the appropriate interim measures to be adopted for the annual civil service pay adjustment exercise pending the outcome of the above review.

In the medium term, the Task Force suggests that an extensive and critical assessment should be made regarding the staff appraisal system to see what changes are needed in order to pave the way for introducing elements of performance pay and flexible pay ranges to civil servants, preferably the senior tier (directorate level).  Consolidation of job-related allowances should also be adopted as a target, as part of a move towards a "clean wage" policy in the long run.

In the long term, decentralisation of pay administration, as part of the devolution of human resource management, should be adopted as a target after detailed feasibility studies are conducted.  The ultimate objective is to allow departments greater freedom to manage pay arrangements to suit their needs.  A "clean wage" policy with benefits incorporated into base pay should also be adopted as a target. 

While the Task Force pointed out that changes could not be rushed, it also emphasised the importance of taking proactive steps towards its vision of a modern civil service pay system.

The Task Force will consider next the appropriate scope, methodology and timeframe for Phase Two of the review.