Audit Commission

A proven way to cut road deaths

Taxi drivers on average commit speeding offences 51 times more often than bus drivers and eight times more often than minibus drivers.

Value-for-money reports by the Audit Commission measure the performance of government departments and public bodies against objectives. This can help prompt action by officials to meet public expectations. The latest report raises questions about road safety - in particular speeding and drink-driving. It found that taxi drivers on average commit speeding offences 51 times more often than bus drivers and eight times more often than minibus drivers.

Monday, 22 April, 2013, 1:58am

Hong Kong government Wi-fi slammed for slow and weak connection

An internet cafe in Hong Kong. Photo: SCMP

The government's free Wi-fi coverage, which has so far cost taxpayers HK$212 million, was criticised by the Audit Commission yesterday.

Its signal was weak outdoors, connection speeds were slow and it was little wonder people could not be bothered to use it, a survey by the government's financial watchdog concluded.

18 Apr 2013 - 10:17am 2 comments

Housing set to gobble up Hong Kong's open space

A view of Causeway Bay and Tai Hang, with Victoria Park (centre) and Victoria Harbour. Photo: Edmond So/SCMP

Open space almost equal to the size of Victoria Park is set to be lost as part of the government's quest for more housing land. This was shown yesterday in an Audit Commission report quoting figures provided by the Planning Department.

18 Apr 2013 - 9:36am 1 comment

Good governance depends on well-kept records

In 2011, then legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee moved a motion in the Legislative Council on enacting an archives law. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

For issues that are neither on the government's agenda nor on the public's radar, it may take months or years to see any progress. Public records management is probably one of them.

22 Feb 2013 - 4:04am 2 comments

Gesture politics gets Hong Kong nowhere

Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung's filibuster is opposition to the government for its own sake. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Politics in Hong Kong has become depressing just when a new administration needs all the support it can muster for doing what is right, and all the constructive opposition when it is not. Opposition gestures devoid of positive demands are tedious and bring representative government into disrepute.

16 Dec 2012 - 3:35am 7 comments

Letters to the Editor, November 23, 2012

Barack Obama with Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon. Photo: AFP

Strengthen accountability commission

The Department of Health has come under fire for its failure to adequately regulate private hospitals.

The latest report of the Audit Commission revealed that the department had not conducted inspections of private hospitals promptly and had failed to maintain proper documentation of checking performed.

23 Nov 2012 - 2:21am

Lessons learnt from hospital's land use

Union Hospital (left) and the adjascent luxury residential property, Hill Paramount, in Sha Tin. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

The latest report of the Director of Audit describes how a luxury residential development came to be built on land granted for a hospital in Sha Tin when, according to a government estimate, the district was short of nearly 900 hospital beds. The government usually grants land on favourable terms for private hospitals.

20 Nov 2012 - 8:49pm 1 comment

Auditor slams Hong Kong's efforts to tackle pollution

Victoria Harbour sits under a pea-soup sky in August this year. Photo: Sam Tsang

Hong Kong's proposed air quality standards are not tough enough to protect public health, while existing measures to curb harmful emissions are ineffective, inadequate or stalled by red tape, the Audit Commission says.

27 Apr 2015 - 3:30pm 1 comment

Civil Service Bureau revealed by Audit Commission to not obtain tenders

Prisoners working at the Chi Ma Wan prison. Photo: Martin Chan

For the second time this year government agencies have been criticised by the audit watchdog for avoiding public tenders by breaking down their purchases into sums below HK$1.43 million.

The Civil Service Bureau was singled out for rebuke this time. In the previous audit report, issued in April, the Correctional Services Department was flagged up for the practice.

15 Nov 2012 - 4:12am

Health Department asked to step up controls over private hospitals

The Health Department has been asked to step up controls on private hospitals after an audit report showed that written warnings for serious irregularities were not issued.

15 Nov 2012 - 4:33am

Union Hospital built luxury homes on its land

Union Hospital (left) in Sha Tin turned part of its land into Hill Paramount luxury residential development (right). Photo: Sam Tsang

A private hospital built luxury housing on part of a piece of land it was granted for health-care use, the Director of Audit has found.

15 Nov 2012 - 4:35am 4 comments

Customs criticised for pursuit of outdated CD and VCD piracy

Customs' piracy fight stuck in the past.

Despite a plunge in the number of factories making optical CD or VCD discs, the customs department is maintaining the fight against piracy in this declining medium, according to the Audit Commission's report.

15 Nov 2012 - 4:32am

Audit chief has to prove critics wrong

The public owe a lot to the Audit Commission for its professionalism and independence in ensuring that the misuse of taxpayers' money will not go uncensured. Over the decades, the department has stood out as a public-spending watchdog with credibility and support.

8 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Lai See

It's definitely time for some 'clear the air' talks

The Environmental Protection Department had a letter published in yesterday's South China Morning Post in which it sought to 'clarify' some of the air quality issues that we've raised over the past few months. The letter's initial point is that 'improving air quality sits at the heart of the government's environment policy'.

25 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

Blatant waste of taxpayers' money

Our civil service is often hailed as one of the world's finest. But cases of misspending unearthed by government auditors suggest otherwise. In its latest value-for-money analysis, the Audit Commission has exposed a string of blunders and negligence that saw tens of millions of taxpayers' money wasted. The performance of some departments still leaves much to be desired.

21 Nov 2011 - 12:00am