Further Development of District Administration
Regarding district administration, the Government has all along maintained close liaison with various district stakeholders (including District Councils and other district organisations). In order for the Government to leverage the experience and power of communities as well as to enhance the efficiency of district administration, local personalities are encouraged to play an active role on district affairs.
To enhance local engagement, the Government introduced the Signature Project Scheme (SPS) in 2013. Under the SPS, a one-off grant of $100 million was reserved for each district to implement one to two projects which would address local needs, and have a visible and lasting impact on the community. All the SPS projects are proposed, discussed and agreed by the District Councils following consultation with local residents and organisations before they are put to implementation. A total of 27 projects have been implemented by the 18 districts.
In light of the latest situation of the Sixth Term District Councils (DCs), the role of DCs in implementing projects under the Community Involvement Programme and the District Minor Works Programme (DMWP) has been suspended since October 2021. Under the revised arrangements, in respect of the Community Involvement Programme, the Home Affairs Department / Districts Offices (DOs) and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will either allocate the relevant funds direct to relevant organisations, or will organise projects featuring local characteristics and popular festive celebrations as well as cultural, artistic and recreational activities to promote district harmony. In respect of the DMWP, DOs will collect views from the community through different channels with a view to identifying minor works projects for the benefit of the local community.
The District-led Actions Scheme (DAS) has been implemented in 18 districts since 2016-17. DAS has been well received by the local communities since its implementation. It provides the District Management Committees chaired by the DOs with the decision-making power to tackle the management and environmental hygiene problems of some public areas in the districts.
The annual recurrent provision for DAS has been increased from $63 million to $80 million from 2020-21 onwards to address long-standing problems and capitalise on opportunities in the districts. The District Management Committee in each district, taking into account the views of stakeholders, has rolled out DAS projects on improving environmental hygiene and managing public spaces, for instance, handling shop front extensions, enhancing anti-mosquito efforts and clearing illegal bicycle parking, etc. There are also projects, which aim to capitalise on local opportunities for enhancing the living quality of residents and community facilities in response to the unique circumstances and needs of respective districts, such as promoting and improving the fire safety of the buildings.