The legislature is considering whether to tweak its system of panels that monitor government policy in light of the government's reorganisation of bureau portfolios. However, big changes are unlikely. With the next election just 16 months away, changes to the panels' membership could affect the balance of power between political parties. Miriam Lau Kin-yee, of the Liberal Party, the chairwoman of Legco's House Committee, said the Legco secretariat had been asked to study whether the present panel system can cope with the reorganisation of government bureaus from July 1. 'Problems could arise if some panels have to deal with too many different ministers or permanent secretaries overseeing different policy areas,' Ms Lau said. At present, Legco has 18 panels, each with specific terms of reference, to monitor and discuss government policy areas. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen announced on Thursday that instead of 11 bureaus there would be 12, with the addition of a development bureau. Only two of the bureaus will see no change in their responsibilities. This prompted questions about whether Legco's panels needed to change to make it easier for legislators to monitor government policy. But Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, of the Liberal Party, said major change was unlikely given the present makeup of panels reflected political parties' balance of power in the legislature. 'It is too late now to redistribute the membership of panels because Legco will have its election next year. But it is time for us to consider new terms of reference for the panels in preparation for the next Legco term.' While Mr Tsang has revealed the governnment's new structure, he has not said who will head the policy bureaus, and speculation continues to grow about which of the current ministers will be dropped and who will be brought into the cabinet. Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan was asked about rumours that John Tsang Chun-wah, director of the Chief Executive's Office, might stay on in the post, which would be upgraded to ministerial rank with a minister's pay. Mr Ho said it was understandable that the chief executive would keep someone he could trust to be his chief of staff. But Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, leader of the Civic Party, could think of no reason to upgrade the post and raise John Tsang's monthly salary from HK$180,000 to HK$298,115.