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Carrie Lam

Revamped government think tank to get HK$120 million a year and ‘make impact’, Carrie Lam says

Chief executive to elaborate on plan for new version of the Central Policy Unit in a coming editorial piece for the Post

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 9:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 November, 2017, 10:51pm

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has suggested that a revamped government think tank would get an annual funding of about HK$120 million a year to do its job and “make a more visible impact”.

The chief executive also promised that the Central Policy Unit, to be renamed the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office, would be an “action-oriented” team.

The office would be a high-level agency where researchers would have opportunities to “interact and exchange views with the chief executive” and ministers, according to Lam.

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Modelled after the original unit, the think tank was not expected to “come under any policy bureau” and would report “direct to the chief executive”, she said.

Lam was elaborating on her plan to reform the Central Policy Unit in an editorial piece for the South China Morning Post.

The online version will be available on Friday, while the print version will be published on Saturday.

The reform is a key initiative mentioned in her election manifesto earlier this year, to encourage more young people to participate in politics.

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In her editorial piece, Lam wrote that one of the functions of the new office would be to offer secretarial support for the new Chief Executive’s Council of Advisers on Innovation and Strategic Development, and to “carry out evidence-based policy research under the steer of the council”.

In her policy address on October 11, Lam announced the creation of the new high-level council that would comprise leaders from different sectors.

She said that she would “personally chair” it to map out Hong Kong’s strategic position in the global economy and guide the city’s development to maintain its competitiveness. The council has yet to be formed.

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Lam also said in the policy address that she aimed to recruit 20 to 30 young people to join the new think tank. Last Friday, the government launched a three-week recruitment exercise for the posts of senior policy and project coordination officer, and policy and project coordination officer.

The handsome pay packages for the jobs raised eyebrows, with the senior officer post boasting a basic monthly salary of between HK$60,000 and HK$95,000, depending on qualifications and experience.

The pay for the officer post is between HK$30,000 and HK$48,000.

The rankings of the two positions in the government hierarchy would be similar to a senior researcher and researcher at the present Central Policy Unit.

But a senior researcher is only paid about HK$49,400 to HK$65,900 a month, while the pay of a researcher is between HK$32,500 and HK$41,600.

Officials said they hoped the new office would be launched as early as next April.