Attendance figures for community activities aimed at building an audience base for the performing arts have been questioned by the Audit Commission, with passers-by being incorrectly counted as participants. The latest audit report on the Leisure and Cultural Services Department also slammed its Music Office for failing to keep tabs on expenditure, saying training class quotas for performers had not been filled according to requirements and training facilities had been grossly underused. Six offices and sections under the department are tasked with promoting the performing arts and film by means of audience building and venue management. One of them, the Audience Building Office, has organised more than 1,000 activities with arts groups and educational institutions. WATCH: Best of Clockenflap 2015 Arts groups reported a total turnout of 155,000 for community activities such as exhibitions, performances and theatre workshops in the 2015-16 financial year, but the audit watchdog was sceptical of that number. “Many activities were free and conducted in public areas or venues open to the public ... Many participants appeared to be just passing by, or only stayed at the activities briefly,” the report said. In one case, a free concert held at a shopping mall this June reported an audience of 300 people. But auditors at the scene found participants were generally passers-by, while the size of the audience fluctuated between 30 and 50 people. The commission urged the LCSD to provide clear guidelines to arts groups on counting the number of participants, and to implement measures to ensure such figures are accurate. Many activities were free and conducted in public areas or venues open to the public ... Many participants appeared to be just passing by, or only stayed at the activities briefly Audit Commission report The Music Office, established in 1977, remains at the forefront of the government’s push to promote music in the city. It spent HK$37.5 million last year on providing training classes. But auditors found five classes had only one student rather than the five to 10 in a standard class. Five music centres were found to be operating at just 29 per cent of capacity in the past three financial years. Fifty-three music officers only dedicated 36 per cent of their working hours to delivering these courses, with the rest spent on administrative and clerical work. The commission urged the LCSD to review the role of the office in promoting the arts and music and to implement necessary organisational and staff changes to be more cost-effective.