Scores of civil servants work fewer than five hours a day or lie about the time they arrive at the office, a government investigation has found. The Director of Audit, Dominic Chan Yin-tat, said checks on staff from the Water Supplies, Census and Statistics and Government Supplies departments showed some were not doing their jobs properly. Checks on 85 water-meter readers on May 27 found that almost half arrived after their official start time of 8.15am. Seven had lied about it in the attendance book. Twenty-two per cent consistently finished work early and 37 per cent took a break of three to five hours. On average, they worked only 4.5 hours a day. The Director of Audit also found that 25 Census and Statistics Department officers who were supposed to interview people face-to-face either did so by phone or not at all. Similar checks on the 90-strong Government Supplies Department delivery team showed 41 were late for work. The revelations came just weeks after Tung Chee-hwa ordered civil servants to improve productivity by five per cent over the next three years. Secretary for Civil Service Lam Woon-kwong last night warned that civil servants found to have breached the regulations could face dismissal. 'On the whole, I think the Director of Audit has pointed to the need for more stringent supervision of the work of our outdoor staff. 'The department heads concerned have all taken follow-up action to see how the system may be improved. 'Where there are proven wrong-doings or breaches of civil service regulations, we would demand that strict disciplinary actions be taken.' The auditor's report called on the Water Supplies Department to review meter-reading routes and improve productivity. It said there should be tighter controls on attendance. The report said Director of Water Supplies Hu Man-shiu had already improved controls on staff and had disciplined those who had lied about their arrival times. The auditor's report also recommended that the Commissioner for Census and Statistics should 'monitor closely the performance of field officers whose performance appears to be unsatisfactory'. The commissioner said he would do so, but did not think irregularities had been involved. The Director of Audit also suggested the 'grace period' for which Government Supplies Department staff could be late for work be cut from 25 minutes to 10 minutes. Public Accounts Committee hearings on the auditor's report covering October last year to September this year have been scheduled for early next month.