The Chief Executive is the head of the Government of the HKSAR. The Chief
Secretary for Administration, the Financial Secretary or the Secretary
for Justice are to deputise for the Chief Executive during his temporary
There are currently 11 bureaux, each headed by a Director
of Bureau, which collectively form the Government Secretariat. There are
64 departments and agencies whose heads are responsible to the Directors
of Bureaux for the direction of their departments and the efficient implementation
of approved policies. The exceptions are the Audit Commission, the independence
of which is safeguarded by having the Director's report submitted directly
to the Legislative Council; and the Independent Commission Against Corruption
and the Office of The Ombudsman, whose independence is safeguarded by
having the Commissioner's and The Ombudsman's reports submitted directly
to the Chief Executive.
Following the implementation of the Accountability System for Principal
Officials on July 1, 2002, the Chief Secretary for Administration,
the Financial Secretary, the Secretary for Justice and the 11 Directors
of Bureaux are no longer civil servants. They are directly responsible
to the Chief Executive and accountable to him for matters falling within
their respective portfolios as assigned to them by the Chief Executive.
They are appointed to the Executive Council. Together with five non-official
members of the Executive Council, they assist the Chief Executive in policy-making.
The Government has conducted a review of the Accountability System for
Principal Officials one year after its implementation. The review
concluded that, in overall terms, the implementation of the Accountability
System is an important step forward in constitutional development in Hong
Kong and a step in the right direction. However, the Government recognises
that its first year of operation was not entirely smooth. The system will
take time to evolve and develop.
The Chief Secretary for Administration is the leading Principal Official
of the HKSAR Government. He is the most senior among the three Secretaries
of Departments available to deputise for the Chief Executive.
The Chief Secretary for Administration assists the
Chief Executive in supervising the policy bureaux as directed by him and
plays a key role in ensuring harmonisation in policy formulation and implementation.
This is particularly important in areas which cut across policy bureaux.
The Chief Secretary for Administration also covers
specific priority areas of the Chief Executive's policy agenda, and is
responsible for forging a closer and more effective working relationship
with the Legislative Council and for drawing up the Government's legislative
programme. The Chief Secretary for Administration exercises statutory
functions vested in him by law, such as those concerning certain public
bodies and the handling of appeals.
The Financial Secretary reports directly to the Chief Executive. Working
closely with the relevant Directors of Bureaux, he oversees policy formulation
and implementation in financial, monetary, economic, trade and employment
matters. He also chairs several important committees, including the Exchange
Fund Advisory Committee and the Banking Advisory Committee.
The Financial Secretary is responsible under the Public
Finance Ordinance for laying before the Legislative Council each year
the Government's estimates of revenue and expenditure. In his annual budget
speech, he outlines the Government's budgetary proposals and moves the
Appropriation Bill, which gives legal effect to the annual expenditure
proposals contained in the Budget.
The Central Policy Unit provides advice on policy issues to meet the
special requirements of the Chief Executive, the Chief Secretary for Administration
and the Financial Secretary, and reports direct to them.
The unit consults widely with business and professional
circles, political organisations and concern groups and the academic community.
It undertakes in-depth examination of complex policy issues, analyses
options, takes soundings of community feedback and recommends solutions
for the Government's internal consideration. The unit is responsible for
coordinating the annual Policy Address exercise. It also provides secretariat
support for the Commission on Strategic Development, which is chaired
by the Chief Executive.
The Efficiency Unit reports directly to the Chief Secretary for Administration
and is tasked with pursuing the Government's commitment to transforming
the management and delivery of public services so that the community's
needs are met in the most effective and efficient manner. The unit works
in partnership with client bureaux and departments across the Government
to identify opportunities for performance enhancement, design practical
solutions, develop compelling business cases, and secure effective implementation.
The unit has played a major role in many important
reform initiatives: the creation of trading funds; customer service improvements,
including the development of the performance pledge programme; and the
design and implementation of an integrated call centre. Other major aspects
of the unit's work include greater involvement of the private sector in
delivering public services, for example, through outsourcing and public
private partnerships; and the undertaking of major re-engineering projects
particularly where this is required to make real gains from the adoption
of new technology and best management practice. All the work of the unit
is focused on enhancing the quality of public services at the same time
as seeking greater efficiency in the use of limited public resources.
The Sustainable Development Unit, established under the Chief Secretary
for Administration's Office, promotes sustainable development in both
the Government and the community, and provides secretariat support to
the Council for Sustainable Development.
The council was appointed by the Chief Executive in
March 2003 to promote sustainable development in Hong Kong.
One of the unit's major tasks is to implement a sustainability
assessment system within the Government to facilitate the integration
of sustainability considerations in the decision-making process. All bureaux
and departments are required to conduct sustainability assessments of
their major initiatives and programmes, and explain the sustainability
implications in their submissions to the Executive Council.
The unit also provides secretariat support to the
Sustainable Development Fund.