With new recruits reporting for duty throughout the year, the number of civil servants employed by the Department had reached 7 343 by the end of March 2009. In addition to catering for the staffing requirements of new initiatives, facilities and services, the majority of this additional manpower has been deployed to replace the non-civil service contract (NCSC) staff positions identified in the special review of employment situation of NCSC staff in all government bureaux and departments conducted by the Civil Service Bureau in 2006.
Year 2009-10 will further expand the Department's workforce to meet new service demands and enhance existing services, with the net creation of about 200 new posts.
Employment Situation for NCSC Staff
The LCSD needs to periodically employ NCSC staff under the ambit of the NCSC Scheme to meet service and operational requirements.
A special review conducted by the Civil Service Bureau at the end of 2006 identified some 800 NCSC positions to be replaced by civil servants. By March 2009, the Department had replaced about 670 of these NCSC staff with civil servants. The remaining 130 are expected to be phased out in the coming two financial years having regard to the end-dates of the existing employment contracts of the concerned NCSC staff and the lead-time for filling the replacement civil service posts.
Recruitment of Civil Service Staff
Since the resumption of the open recruitment of civil servants in 2007, the Department has conducted recruitment exercises for its departmental grades, including Assistant Leisure Services Manager II, Amenities Assistant III, Artisan (Beach/Swimming Pool), Assistant Librarian, Assistant Manager, Cultural Service and Assistant Curator II (History), to fill existing vacancies, to fill new posts created to cater for new initiatives and services, and to replace the aforementioned NCSC positions. About 530 new departmental-grade recruits reported for duty in 2008-09.
Staff Training and Development
The Training Section organised and provided a wide range of training programmes in 2008-09 to serve Departmental objectives and the training and development needs of our staff.
|Department lifeguards gained the opportunity to receive practical training and exchange work experience during overseas training in Xiamen.|
To cope with increased public concern over tree conservation and management, enhanced training was provided to staff to strengthen their arboriculture knowledge and skill. Professional accreditation was also arranged for 17 staff, who have now become Certified Arborists after sitting the International Society of Arboriculture's Certified Arborist Examination. In addition, about 20 Leisure Services Managers and 20 Amenities Assistants attended an Arboriculture Training Course delivered by tree experts from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Other staff members received arboriculture training in the UK and obtained related UK arboriculture qualifications, including the National Certificate in Arboriculture and the Tree Surgery Craftsmen qualification.
|A trainee practising a tree climbing technique during an Arboriculture Training Course for Amenities Assistant Grade staff delivered by tree experts from the University of Melbourne in Australia.|
To enable staff to strive for service excellence, we gave our full support to the provision of customer service training in our Leisure and Cultural Services Branches. During the year, we designed and produced a video entitled 'Best Practices in Customer Service', which has been used as the core teaching aid in five training courses to further enhance the skill and knowledge of the frontline staff who serve our valued customers. In addition, to up-skill our library staff, we launched the third phase of our Customer Service Enhancement Training Programme. A number of other courses, including Effective Communication Skills, an Interpersonal Communications and EQ workshop and Helping People with Disabilities training workshops, were also arranged throughout the year.
|The Training Section provided a Vocational Induction Training Programme for newly recruited Assistant Librarian Grade staff at the Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village.|
To build good working teams, achieve better service results, and enhance team synergy and internal communication, a tailor-made team-building training programme was organised for staff of two performing arts venues.
In late 2008, we organised a session to discuss the experience gained in the implementation of the District Council Review. This provided a valuable platform for Leisure Services district staff to talk together, learn from one another and share solutions to the common operational difficulties encountered by the 18 districts.
The Training Section also provided a number of regular programmes covering various Leisure and Cultural Services disciplines, in addition to knowledge and skill training in general and supervisory management, language and communication, computer software application, and information technology.
To promote better health and safety at work and to respond to the Government's increased emphasis on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), the Training Section worked closely with the Branch Safety Officers to provide OSH training programmes aimed at minimising work injuries. This year, we started a new course entitled 'Safety in Driving Transporters' to raise the occupational safety awareness of frontline staff who operate transporters in various venues. We also continued to provide competency certificates for district and venue safety officers, including the Certificate of Competency in Display Screen Equipment Assessment and the Certificate of Competency in Manual Handling. In addition, the Training Section also organised courses on manual lifting and handling, working on slippery floors, preventing the overuse of soft tissue, tool and machine handling, outdoor work and weather forecasting, fire fighting, the prevention of violence at work and stress management to raise general OSH awareness amongst staff.
In light of staff members' tight work schedules, the Section also promotes self-learning through the production of self-training videos and web courses. For example, a video entitled the 'Operation of Public Libraries' DYNIX Computer System' was launched at the end of 2008, and two web courses, namely, 'Tree Care' and 'Law Enforcement' were also produced to supplement regular staff training and allow staff members the flexibility to refresh their job knowledge and skill anytime, anywhere in their own time and at their own pace.
In 2008-09, the Department continued with a Government initiative to offer temporary jobs to youngsters, and organised three schemes accordingly ------- the Swimming Pool Trainee (SPT) Scheme, the Beach Trainee (BT) Scheme and the Library Assistant Trainee (LAT) Scheme. Under the SPT and BT schemes, the Training Section provided 90 youngsters with four to six months of training. More than 93 per cent passed the required examinations and gained lifeguard qualifications. These graduates were then able to join the labour force and find jobs in public and private aquatic venues. Some of those who graduated from the SPT/BT schemes even applied to join government service as civil service lifeguards.
|Swimming Pool Trainees participating in an Inflatable Rescue Boat Training Course at Tuen Mun New Cafeteria Beach during their six-month training programme. They learned basic skills in manoeuvring these vessels, as well as the techniques used to rescue victims at sea.|
Overall, 2008-09 was a successful year in terms of results. The majority of the training programmes carried out were very effective, as reflected in the excellent ratings given by staff members. Abundant training opportunities and more than 13 000 training places were made available to all grades and ranks of staff, including NCSC and ex-council contract staffs.
Staff Relations and Communication
Our staff are our greatest asset. To meet the Departmental challenges together, we attach the utmost importance to maintaining good and effective relations and communication with them.
|LCSD staff are enthusiastic about contributing to charity, and many of them eagerly participate in the Community Chest's Walk for Millions every year.|
Management and staff have regular contact through meetings of the Departmental Consultative Committee and the General Grades Consultative Committee and through meetings with staff unions. Ad hoc meetings, informal gatherings and briefings are also held as and when necessary to discuss issues of mutual concern. The Director also meets personally with staff and staff union representatives to attempt to better understand their concerns.
The needs of individuals are given equal attention, and the Staff Relations-Staff Welfare Unit is always ready to attend to requests and enquiries from individual staff members regarding their welfare and their concerns. Recreational activities are also organised periodically. The annual karaoke contest, for example, continues to be a popular event, with the winners performing at the headquarters Christmas Party. To enhance staff 'esprit de corps', we organise well-attended special-interest classes on such topics as horticulture and physical fitness. The Departmental Volunteer Team and Sports Teams also encourage staff to use their leisure time for worthwhile pursuits. This year, the Volunteer Team paid a visit to the inmates of a rehabilitation centre and arranged for underprivileged families to attend the annual Hong Kong Flower Show. The 15 Sports Teams also actively participated in various open and inter-departmental sports competitions.
|Staff members exercising under the instruction of an instructor from the Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong, China during a physical fitness workshop.|
|The Departmental Volunteer Team paying a visit to a rehabilitation centre for the mentally handicapped.|
The informative Staff Newsletter published every three months is another effective channel for staff communications.
One of our aims is to build a highly motivated and committed workforce. To this end, we spare no effort in properly recognising staff member contributions. Staff members with service of 20 years or more are eligible for consideration for Long and Meritorious Service Certificates and Long and Meritorious Service Travel Awards. In 2008-09, 169 Certificates of Merit were issued to staff members who had performed commendable acts.
We are also pleased to put forward nominations for commendation schemes beyond the Departmental level. In 2008-09, for example, four members of our staff were awarded commendations by the Secretary for the Civil Service for their consistently meritorious performance in their daily work. We are particularly proud of the two officers who received awards from the Chief Executive at the 2008 Honours and Awards Ceremony in recognition of their assiduous and professional service.
|Ms Chan Yuk-fun, Supervisor of Typing Services, was a recipient of a Commendation from the Secretary for the Civil Service.|
|Cultural Services Assistant Ms Fung Oi-lan, an awardee of the Secretary for the Civil Service's Commendation.|
|Senior Designer Ms Kwan Wai-kan, Winnie, another recipient of the Secretary for the Civil Service's Commendation.|
|Mr Leung Wai-ting, an artisan in the Leisure Services Branch, received a Commendation from the Secretary for the Civil Service.|
Bronze Bauhinia Star
Miss Agnes Tang, Assistant Director
|Former Assistant Director Miss Agnes Tang was a recipient of the Bronze Bauhinia Star.|
Chief Executive's Commendation for Government/Public Service
Mr Yeung Chung-man, Senior Leisure Services Manager
|A Chief Executive's Commendation for Government/Public Service was awarded to Mr Yeung Chung-man, former Senior Leisure Services Manager.|
The Department's Customer Appreciation Card Scheme provides a direct channel for staff to receive feedback from customers. Staff members are also encouraged to develop and improve service standards through the Departmental Staff Suggestion Scheme, Work Improvement Teams and Staff Recognition Award set up in various leisure venues and the Work Improvement Competition in public libraries.