Teachers are up in arms over language benchmarking, and public doctors over a new grading structure. When even the pro-business Liberal Party is organising homeowners to protest against 'negative assets', it seems time for the Government to end some of its many rows with various sectors of the community. Officials will naturally deny that its improved financial package for implementing the lump-sum grant scheme for social welfare agencies has anything to do with the fact that it is under attack from many sides. But it is hard to imagine any other reason for officials being so generous when offering more money to entice the 181 non-governmental organisations into accepting the scheme. The Government does not normally relish a fight, but it does not usually give up so easily on principles. And since no one, including the welfare agencies, disagrees with the principles behind the new funding scheme, it is in the Government's interest to quench discontent in the welfare sector if the agencies can be bought over. Although the latest Government offer has not dissuaded social workers from going ahead with a planned protest on Sunday, it appears many agencies will in fact accept the scheme, now that most of their concerns about adequate funding for provident contributions on behalf of veteran staff and to offset insufficient tide-over grants have been met. Yet other obstacles remain. For example, social workers are concerned that newly appointed staff are likely to get a less generous and less well-defined pay package. This is because the scheme seeks to allow welfare agencies to use grants flexibly, rather than spend according to rigid formulas. This stance reflects their deep-seated mentality as quasi-civil servants. But it is not just these agencies which must stop seeing themselves as semi-government departments. For the scheme to succeed, the Social Welfare Department also needs to re-engineer itself, lest it become incapable of supervising the chickens set free from their cages.