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District Administration

The policy objective of the Home Affairs Bureau in district administration is to promote community development to nurture civic responsibility and a sense of belonging. To this end, the District Administration Scheme has been implemented since 1982. The main elements of the Scheme are the District Councils (formerly known as District Boards) and District Management Committees. Through the scheme, the Government promotes public participation in district affairs and fosters among the people of Hong Kong a sense of belonging and mutual care. The scheme also helps to ensure that the Government is responsive to district needs and problems.

District Councils

The fifth term District Councils (DCs) commenced their operation on 1 January, 2016. In addition to the 431 elected members, there are 27 ex officio members (i.e. Rural Committee chairmen in the New Territories), making a total of 458 DC members. Their term of office is four years from January 2016 to December 2019.

The main function of DCs is to advise the Government on matters affecting the well-being of the people living and working in the districts as well as on the provision and use of public facilities and services within the district. The Government also consults these bodies on a wide range of issues.

Each district has a District Management Committee (DMC), chaired by the District Officer, comprising the Chairman, Vice Chairman and committee chairmen of the DC and representatives of departments providing essential services in the district. This Committee serves as a forum for inter-departmental consultation on district matters and co-ordinates the provision of public services and facilities to ensure that district needs are promptly met.

In 2014 Policy Address, The Chief Executive announced the introduction of a pilot scheme in Sham Shui Po and Yuen Long between April 2014 and August 2015 to provide the DMCs with the decision-making power to tackle the management and environmental hygiene problems of some public areas. The DCs advised on the work priorities. In light of the success of the scheme which responded actively to public aspirations and was well received by the local communities, the Government will rename it as "District-led Actions Scheme" and implement in all 18 districts starting from the current DC term to take forward the concept of "addressing district issues at the local level and capitalising on local opportunities" as advocated by the Chief Executive.

DCs are provided with funds each year to implement district minor works projects and community involvement projects in the districts. In 2019-20, a provision of $360 million and $461.6 million has been provided for DCs to implement district minor works projects and community involvement projects respectively. Of the $461.6 million for community involvement projects, $41.6 million is designated funding for further strengthening the support for DCs in promoting arts and cultural activities in the districts. To enhance local engagement, the Government introduced the Signature Project Scheme (SPS) in 2013. Under the SPS, a one-off grant of $100 million has been reserved for each district to implement one to two SPS projects. DCs are responsible for advocating and deciding the SPS projects, as well as spearheading their implementation. The DC must be satisfied that the projects would address the needs of the district and have visible and lasting impact in the community. An SPS project may be works or non-works in nature, or a mixture of both. DCs may partner with non-profit-making organisations, statutory bodies or government departments to deliver these projects. Apart from this, the Government has also set aside $200 million to finance the preparation work before the SPS projects are submitted to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for funding approval and other support services.

Area Committees

Area Committees were first set up in 1972 to support the 'Keep Hong Kong Clean Campaign' and 'Fight Violent Crime Campaign'. The present functions of Area Committees are to encourage public participation in district affairs, help organise community activities and Government campaigns, and advise on issues of a local nature. There are now 63 Area Committees.

Mutual Aid Committee

Mutual Aid Committees are building-based resident organisations, established to improve the security, cleanliness and general management of multi-storey buildings. As at November 2019, there were 1,692 Mutual Aid Committees providing a two-way communication channel between the Government and residents.

Home Affairs Enquiry Centres

Twenty Home Affairs Enquiry Centres, attached to the District Offices, provide a wide range of free services to the public. These services include answering general enquiries on government services; distributing government forms and information; administering declarations for private use; and referring cases under the DC members' meet-the-public scheme, the Free Legal Advice Scheme and the Rent Officer Scheme. The Home Affairs Enquiry Centres and the Telephone Enquiry Centre served a total of 2.2 million clients in 2017.

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