Auditor's taste of own medicine
The Director of Audit has been advised to save money and boost efficiency in his value-for-money reports.
Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Kam-yuen asked if audit chief Dominic Chan Yin-tat could be more concise in his reports or put details in appendices to be distributed to lawmakers by e-mail. Mr Chan's latest report revealed some civil service staff were working fewer than five hours a day.
'[It] would reduce the use of paper and be more environmentally friendly and efficient,' Mr Tsang said.
Some legislators had complained about the weight of the latest report. 'I am echoing concerns . . . about the volume of papers produced on this occasion. If you remember, the report measured more than a foot high.' Mr Tsang was asked to confirm whether he had criticised the auditor's report at a lunch on Thursday.
He did not deny it, but stressed that the value-for-money study was important. 'I fully support everything the Director of Audit is doing in this respect. And I will encourage him to discover more of these discrepancies.' A legislator, who did not want to be named, said some senior officials were adamant the criticism against them was unfair: 'The feeling is that the Director of Audit is making a mountain out of a molehill.' Secretary for Civil Service Lam Woon-kwong admitted the problems over outdoor work exposed in the report were serious. He accepted some responsibility and agreed there were problems over supervision and structure of work in some departments. There would be more efforts to enhance cost-effectiveness.
Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang said the auditor's report was vital to proper supervision of the civil service.