Advisory and Statutory Bodies
In maintaining a system of Advisory and Statutory Bodies, the Government's policy objective is to facilitate it to obtain the best possible advice on which to base decisions or to perform statutory functions by consulting interested groups and individuals in the community. Through these bodies, a wide cross-section of the community and relevant organisations can participate in the initial stage of policy-making and public service planning.
Functions and Composition of Advisory and Statutory Bodies
Advisory and statutory bodies give advice to the Government or perform public functions which otherwise would be performed by government departments. Their areas of activities are wide-ranging. Some of the advisory bodies, such as the Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries, deal with the interests of a particular industry. Others advise on a particular area of government policy interest, including the Transport Advisory Committee. On the other hand, statutory bodies perform their functions according to the relevant legislation. Some of them, such as the Hospital Authority, perform executive functions.
Government officials and members of the public are represented on these bodies. About 4 200 members of the public have been appointed to serve on about 490 bodies, and some serve on more than one.
Principles of Appointments to Advisory and Statutory Bodies
The Government makes appointments to advisory and statutory bodies on the basis of the merit of individuals concerned, taking into account a candidate's ability, expertise, experience, integrity and commitment to public service and with due regard to the statutory provisions of statutory bodies, functions and nature of business of the bodies concerned. While upholding the principle of appointment by merit, the Government has established the following guidelines and principles for appointments to these bodies to ensure that members of the public have equal opportunities to participate in public affairs through services on these bodies -
"Six-year Rule" means not appointing a non-official member to serve on the same body in any one capacity for more than six years to ensure a healthy turnover of members of advisory and statutory bodies (Relevant figures).
"Six-board Rule" means not appointing a person to serve as a non-official member on more than six advisory and statutory bodies at any one time to ensure a reasonable distribution of workload (Relevant figures).
In January 2004, the Government set the "25% gender benchmark" as an initial working target, meaning at least 25% of appointed non-official members of advisory and statutory bodies should be of male or female. The working target was achieved in December 2005 in overall terms for all advisory and statutory bodies. The Government raised the target from 25% to 30% with effect from June 2010 and has achieved the revised 30% target in May 2011 in overall terms for all advisory and statutory bodies. To further enhance the participation of women in advisory and statutory bodies, the Government further raised the target from 30% to 35% with effect from April 2015. Like the previous gender benchmark targets, the new 35% target is to be applied in overall terms for all advisory and statutory bodies with Government appointed non-official members with flexibility having regard to the circumstances of respective advisory and statutory bodies, and the principle of appointment by merit prevails. As at June 2017, the women's participation rate of advisory and statutory bodies with Government-appointed non-official members was 31.8% (Relevant figures).
The Government regularly keeps in view the composition and
operation of the advisory and statutory bodies to ensure that
they meet the needs of the community. A reasonable turnover
of membership is generally maintained to ensure the inflow
of new ideas. At the same time, these bodies adopt a number
of transparency measures, including issuing press releases,
holding press briefings and opening up meetings, so as to
promote the public's understanding of their work. The membership
lists of all these bodies are also uploaded onto the Internet
as the Civil
and Miscellaneous List to facilitate public inspection
of the relevant information.
To secure public views and participation, the Government
has been encouraging the public to participate in the work
of these bodies. Relevant information has been uploaded on
the website of this Bureau. Interested individuals can indicate
their willingness in participation by downloading and filling
in a curriculum
vitae form and subsequently mailing their personal information
to the Government for inclusion in a centralised database
which contains the membership records of non-official members
serving on these bodies as well as the personal data of those
interested individuals. The database serves as a useful reference
for relevant Bureaux/Departments when appointing members to
the advisory and statutory bodies under their purview. Apart
from this, we also invite members from various organisations,
such as social service agencies, professional bodies, commercial
or industrial associations, educational institutions and women
organisations to indicate their interest in service on these