There could be a surge in the ranks of senior aides under the Government's proposed new ministerial accountability system, the Secretary for Civil Service warned yesterday. But legislators strongly criticised expanding the top end of the civil service amid the current down-sizing push, saying it would be 'unfair' to junior staff. In a meeting of the Legco public service panel yesterday, Civil Service Secretary Joseph Wong Wing-Ping said they might need to create more senior posts to assist ministers when the proposed accountability system was launched later this year. 'If the Government has a number of accountable bureau heads, they might need private secretaries. If they have cars they might need drivers. Some might also need high-ranking personal assistants. We will have to study that,' he said. 'But we will have to first assess whether there are needs for the posts before asking Legco to establish them.' But Democrat Cheng Man-kwong said: 'This would give you an excuse for expansion, because each new bureau chief would need a new office. 'This is not in line with the economic situation.' Legco's cross-party coalition has laid down conditions for the Government on directorate-grade posts in a bid to maintain the current level in the coming year. The Government must delete a similar grade post before creating a new one. Mr Wong said a high-level group comprising the Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary and a number of senior officials would be convened to study proposed directorate-grade posts. But he stopped short of promising not to create more senior jobs or reduce the current number of 1,433. Legislators also urged officials to address the problem of civil servants receiving advantages and having connections with triads. The Government last year received 188 complaint cases referred by the Independent Commission Against Corruption relating to accepting advantages and breaches of integrity. Deputy Secretary for Civil Service Jennifer Mak Yee-ming said guidelines for civil servants would be reviewed.