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The Public Sector in Hong Kong

Ian Scott

Publication Year: 2010

This book describes and analyses the role of the public sector in the often-charged political atmosphere of post-1997 Hong Kong. It discusses critical constitutional, organisational and policy problems and examines their effects on relationships between government and the people. A concluding chapter suggests some possible means of resolving or minimising the difficulties which have been experienced.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xi

Since the retrocession to China in 1997, the public sector in Hong Kong has experienced major problems and undergone significant changes. External pressures, internal civil service reform measures and a political climate very different from that of colonial times have contributed to uncertainty, a loss of direction...

Glossary of Abbreviations and Acronyms

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pp. xiii-xiv

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1. The Public Sector: An Overview

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pp. 1-22

The public sector may be defined as those government agencies and related organisations that are funded by revenue raised from taxes, fees and charges or from the sale of state-owned assets.1 The agencies include bureaus, departments, the judiciary, funded statutory bodies, publicly-owned corporations, and fully or partly-subsidised organisations such as social welfare agencies, schools...

Part I. The Constitution and Political Accountability

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pp. 23-66

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2. The Constitutional Framework

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pp. 25-47

Constitutions are definitive, legally-binding accounts of the rules and principles that govern polities. They describe the powers and functions of the major executive, legislative, judicial and administrative institutions and delineate relationships between them. They provide the authority for the decisions of the government...

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3. Accountability and the Political System

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pp. 49-66

The test of whether a government is politically accountable is not whether the system is representative or democratic but whether external bodies, be they voters, legislatures or a superior level of government, have the power to impose sanctions on office-holders in the event of unsatisfactory......

Part II. The Public Sector and Its Problems

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pp. 67-145

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4. The Civil Service: Structure and Functions

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pp. 69-93

The Basic Law provides only a general framework for the organisation of the Hong Kong government and has even less to say about the public sector beyond the civil service. Article 48 does specify that the Chief Executive shall lead the government and may appoint judges and holders of public office and Article 62...

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5. The Civil Service: Personnel Policies

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pp. 95-118

New public management is the name given to the range of public sector reforms that have been adopted around the world with the aim of reducing the size and cost of the public service, encouraging greater interchange of personnel between the public and private sectors, introducing more private sector practices...

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6. The Public Sector Beyond the Civil Service

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pp. 119-145

Although public sector reform in Hong Kong has focused principally on reducing the size of the civil service, on the pay determination process and on cutting salaries, senior officials have frequently expressed the view that the public sector can benefit from greater entrepreneurialism, more private sector practices in the workplace, and more devolution...

Part III. Policy Formulation and Implementation

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pp. 147-228

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7. Policy and the Budgetary Cycle

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pp. 149-173

One criterion that can be used to evaluate the performance of governments is their ability to formulate and implement sound policies which will deliver collective benefits as efficiently, effectively and economically as possible. Our definition of public policy...

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8. The Policy Process

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pp. 175-200

Definitions of policy are often recognised to be inadequate to cover the range of practical and analytical difficulties that the term encompasses.1 Policy may involve debates over values, establishing an agenda to determine priorities, consultation with the public, negotiations between politicians and stakeholders, and deciding authoritatively on which course of action should be followed...

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9. Policy Implementation

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pp. 201-228

In the previous two chapters, our attention was primarily focused on problems associated with budgeting and with policy formulation. Traditional policy-making models tend to assume that, if financial resources are available, if policy is properly formulated, and if appropriate organisations are in place to achieve...

Part IV. The Government and the People

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pp. 229-306

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10. Efficiency and Responsiveness

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pp. 231-256

What do people expect of their government? How does the government seek to meet those expectations? For any government that is not solely based on the coercive power of the state, these are important questions. In Hong Kong, where the government cannot be removed by elections and where there are few other...

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11. Rights, Complaints and Redress

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pp. 257-288

A regime with a legitimacy deficit may ease its problems by conceding rights to citizens to protect them against illegal action by the government, by dealing with complaints against the unacceptable or corrupt behaviour of its public officials, and by providing channels for the redress of individual grievances...

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12. The Public Sector and Its Future

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pp. 289-306

It is not easy to govern Hong Kong. Aside from the overarching problem of the relationship between the government and its people, there are many specific constitutional, organisational and policy issues which affect the way in which the public sector works. The Basic Law does not function in accordance with its central precept: the executive cannot “lead” and provide...

Notes

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pp. 307-359

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 361-384

Index

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pp. 385-395


E-ISBN-13: 9789888052714
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622091726

Page Count: 412
Publication Year: 2010