THE working relationship between the Government and the Jockey Club has never been smooth, according to civil servants who have been involved in projects funded by the club. While the Jockey Club emphasises the intimacy of consultations it has had with the Government on the disposal of its charity money, government staff describe club officials as arrogant and imposing. They conceded that while the relationship at the top - between the Chief Secretary and the Chief Executive - may be amicable, there were always a lot of argument among those at the working level. At present, apart from larger projects, such as the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology construction plan and the redevelopment of the Hong Kong Stadium, the civil service is in frequent contact with club officials on smaller-scale plans contained in the Governor's shopping list to the club. While the club provides funds for Government recommended projects undertaken by non-government organisations, follow-up work in checking progress of the various schemes fell to civil servants. They had to compile reports to the club, said government sources. The sources said former chief secretary Sir David Ford met club Chief Executive Major-General Guy Watkins more often than incumbent Anson Chan Fang On-sang does. Sir David and General Watkins had met about once every three months and at the peak of some of the larger projects such as the third university, contacts were more frequent. But now Mrs Chan has no regular session with General Watkins and they meet only when the need arises. 'There is no set procedures on how that [sponsorship of large projects] happens,' a source said. For instance the third university came along because of the policy to expand tertiary education and the redevelopment of the stadium probably was because of Rugby Sevens. 'They [the club] seem to regard the money [surplus from betting] as their own money,' a source said. Compared with the expenses on the larger projects, sources said donations were negligible. The Governor sends off the public's wish list to club headquarters twice a year. But unlike funding for large projects, requests for outright charitable donations go through a more formalised procedure with the Health and Welfare Branch serving as the co-ordination centre. Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare Donald Chen Yee said that this year the club had earmarked $70 million for shopping list projects. Mr Chen said the list included small to medium-sized projects which directly benefited the public. It included things such as buying a bus to promote organ donations or setting up a youth hotline service. Innovative pilot projects also stood a high chance of being recommended as many of these projects might not fall within existing government policies and the club's donations could help launch these projects, he said. While the club generally sponsored projects with capital commitment, in some cases the club might provide for recurrent expenditure for a short period of up to three years, said Mr Chen. He said if the pilot projects proved successful, the Government would then provide for recurrent funding to allow them to continue. 'It does offer a bit of flexibility,' he said. Normally, said Mr Chen, the branch would call for applications from non-governmental bodies via the relevant policy branches in the middle of very year and the applications would be assessed by an internal government vetting committee chaired by the Secretary for Health and Welfare.