Hong Kong’s minorities poorly served on community projects, audit report reveals
The disabled, people with special needs, ethnic minorities and new arrivals from mainland China largely bypassed despite district councils receiving HK$361 million to fund events
People with disabilities and special needs were poorly served on community projects despite district councils receiving HK$361 million in funding to cater for them, the Audit Commission revealed on Wednesday.
They accounted for less than 2 per cent of 6,900 projects in total last year, while only 0.1 per cent of 15 million participants were new mainland Chinese migrants or ethnic minorities.
The commission found that project evaluators also tended to exaggerate the number of people taking part in such projects and events that drew a low turnout were rated as “very satisfactory”.
Only 32 projects, 0.5 per cent of the total, were specially designed for women, while 133 projects (1.9 per cent) were aimed at the disabled or those with special needs. Forty-nine projects (about 0.7 per cent) were dedicated to ethnic minorities.
The findings on district council spending for the 2015-16 financial year showed that HK$146 million was also spent on arts and cultural activities, recreation and sports, and festival celebrations.
The number of ethnic minorities and new mainland migrants taking part reached 19,000 and 15,000 respectively, accounting for 0.1 per cent of the 15 million participants.
“Audit considers that there is room for organising more events that cater for the needs of specific groups (e.g. ethnic minorities) as well as promoting diversity and inclusiveness in the community,” the report said.
The commission also noted that despite higher funding every year, the number of projects and participants had been declining.
For the period 2011 to 2015, the expenditure of community projects had increased by 17 per cent from HK$272 million to HK$320 million, but the number of projects catering for all members of the community had dropped 3.3 per cent from 39,127 to 37,827.
The number of participants fell by 13.3 per cent from 21.49 million in 2011 to 18.63 million in 2015.
According to government guidelines on the use of funding for community projects, district councils should have an evaluation system in place to monitor their effectiveness.
However, of the four councils examined by the auditor, one had stopped using any evaluation system for six years from 2011 to 2017, and there were cases of results being exaggerated.
In one project, the rating for the number of participants was “very satisfactory” while the turnout rate was only 33 per cent of the expected number.
Also, of 38 projects examined by the commission in 2015-16, in 79 per cent of projects the audience size was played up as higher than recorded, showing a difference of up to 323 per cent.