'Lost' Housing Society looks for new direction in private sector

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 January, 1999, 12:00am

The Housing Society may hive off estate management, bid for private architectural jobs and even adopt a new name in an ambitious overhaul to stretch its wings to the private sector.

The proposals aim to build a new role for the society after an 'identity crisis' with the scrapping of its sandwich class housing scheme.

A report on the society's special meeting last month said it was undesirable for it to be a public body as it resulted in 'higher customer expectation'.

It also made the society more prone to 'attacks in this political climate', the report said.

The report, a copy of which has been seen by the South China Morning Post, also said the society was prevented from making quick decisions because of its 'public nature of business'.

It said it lacked clear long-term strategy and vision.

Last month's strategic planning meeting was called by Executive Councillor and society chairman Chung Shui-ming to review the society's role.

The report rated revising the society's role and its corporate identity as being among its top priorities.

A senior society source said: 'I would not say it is an identity crisis. But it is a right time to review our role. There is little left for us to do now and we have to think of something else to do to develop ourselves.

'We do not want to compete for resources with the Housing Authority but we can explore the possibilities of playing a bigger role in the private sector.' Sources said one option was to bid for private architectural or surveying projects.

Another was to hive off estate management and allow staff to bid for outside property management contracts.

It is understood some members also have proposed changing the name of the society, which was created under the Housing Society Ordinance.

A Hong Kong People's Council on Public Housing Policy spokesman warned any change should not be done at the expense of needy families.