CHINA'S working committee on Hong Kong's transitional matters will set up a study group on civil servants in an effort for closer ties with the 180,000-strong administration. The decision was taken in response to demands from civil service unions for a formal channel for communication with the Preliminary Working Committee (PWC), said Leung Chun-ying, local co-convener of the PWC's political affairs sub-group. He said the duties of the group were ''to conduct in-depth study, collect information, listen to opinions and make reports on the stability of the civil services' system and its team''. Mainland co-convener Xiao Weiyun said Hong Kong's prosperity hinged on the stability and continuity of the civil service. The 15-member group, chaired by a Hong Kong member, will be composed largely of members from the territory. They will report to the political sub-group. China has accused the Government of being hostile to the PWC because of its refusal to hold formal discussion with government officials on transitional matters. Mr Leung said he had not discussed seeking government co-operation for the work of the study group. ''We very much hope to listen to civil servants' views, but if they do not or cannot express their opinions, that is something the PWC cannot change.'' Seven civil service bodies put forward the idea in PWC meetings held in Hong Kong in May, he stressed. Among the first to join the study group was Wilfred Wong Ying-wai, a former deputy secretary for the civil service and a political sub-group member. Mr Wong conceded that the group would have difficulty in inviting incumbent civil servants due to the Government's ban on direct contact with the PWC, but he did not think their absence would hinder the group's work. The necessary information could be obtained not only through formal meetings but through private contacts with individual members, he said. Mr Wong said it was not suitable for representatives of civil servant bodies to be members of the group because that would create a conflict of interest.