Plans to privatise government departments have not been scaled down, the Secretary for Civil Service said yesterday. Speaking at a post-Policy Address briefing to legislators, Lam Woon-kwong said officials had set priorities for how to implement the idea. Speculation that plans had been scaled down emerged after the Chief Executive announced in the Policy Address that the Government would concentrate on corporatising the estate management work of the Housing Department. Democrat legislator Cheung Man-kwong said Mr Tung's remarks contradicted those made by the Financial Secretary in his Budget. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said then that the target was to identify two potential departments for corporatisation by next year. Mr Lam argued there was no difference between the remarks made by Mr Tsang and Mr Tung. The target of corporatisation had not been abandoned. 'It is only a matter of priority. Mr Tung's speech is to set the direction of corporatisation policy,' he said. 'The Government only put its emphasis on estate management first. The others will be left to study in detail. Related study and law drafting work is still continuing.' Mr Lam said corporatisation or privatisation was not a new thing. Many departments had partly contracted out work to private companies. The rights of affected staff were protected by law. Mr Lam said the Civil Service Bureau and Finance Bureau had sent guidelines to all departments. They asked departments to make as few staff as possible redundant when cutting costs by encouraging re-deployment to other departments or providing staff with training for new posts. The cost-cutting programme, ordered by the Chief Executive in last year's Policy Address, requires all departments to save five per cent within three years.