A Review of the Civil Service Reform in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: Lessons for Asian Public Policy Makers
Peter K. W. Fong (Hong Kong Public Administration Association)
After becoming a Special Administrative Region of China under “One Country, Two Systems” on 1 July 1997, Hong Kong faced severe financial difficulties during the Asian financial crisis in 1998. The Chief Executive of the new administration, Mr. Tung Chee-hwa, launched an Enhanced Productivity Programme in 1998 and a Civil Service Reform in 1999. Both aimed at reducing public spending and civil service head counts so as to secure sustainable improvement in public sector productivity. At the macro level, policy management reforms, including financial management, human resource management, institutional, and operational reforms were introduced through privatization, corporatization, marketization, and commercialization. Of all the reform programmes, the civil service reform was the most significant and has brought wide-range impacts on public administration and public service provision in Hong Kong. This paper will review and analyze the rationales, objectives, principles, processes, and initiatives of the civil service reform undertaken by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Government. An evaluation of its issues, changes, outcomes, goal achievements, and implications to the public service will be made. Finally, the paper will conclude with lessons learned form the Hong Kong experience and recommend some critical success factors for other Asian public policy makers who wish to launch new reforms to improve civil service productivities in their own political and administrative jurisdictions.
THEME B: Human Resources and Social Capital for Sustainable Development
Empowering Governance Stakeholders for Quality Public Service