The department follows the Government’s efficiency guidelines on outsourcing non-core activities to the private sector. Major services outsourced include cleaning, security, horticultural maintenance, and facility management. As at March 2013, the department was managing 107 outsourced contracts for major services at a total value of $3,811 million. These contracts covered both leisure and cultural facilities.
The department’s outsourcing practice follows these principles:
- •Contracts must be commercially viable,
- •Service standards must not be reduced,
- •Services must be cost-effective, and
- •Staff should not be declared redundant.
To deliver quality services to the public more cost-effectively through the private sector, up to March 2013 the department had contracted out the management of the following 14 sports centres: the Jockey Club Tuen Mun Butterfly Beach Sports Centre, the Quarry Bay Sports Centre, the Chun Wah Road Sports Centre, the Cheung Sha Wan Sports Centre, the Chuk Yuen Sports Centre, the Choi Hung Road Sports Centre, the Wo Hing Sports Centre, the North Kwai Chung Tang Shiu Kin Sports Centre, the Ap Lei Chau Sports Centre, the Fa Yuen Street Sports Centre, the Wong Chuk Hang Sports Centre, the Hiu Kwong Street Sports Centre, the Yeung Uk Road Sports Centre, and the Tin Shui Wai Sports Centre.
In addition, the department contracts out the management of several cultural facilities, including the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, the Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum, the Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery, and the Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery cum Heritage Trail Visitors Centre.
The department closely monitors its service contractors, paying special attention to safeguarding the wages and benefits of non-skilled workers. The department also maintains a computerised appraisal system, which gives an overview of the performance of its contractors. Contractors’ past performance may be taken into account when the department evaluates future tender offers. Regular meetings are held between the department’s contract management team and contractors’ senior managers to discuss contract management issues, to keep lines of communication open, and to remind contractors that the department does not condone exploitation of non-skilled workers.