Further development of district administration
Regarding district administration, the Government, District Councils (DCs) and local communities will continue to forge a closer partnership to take forward the concept of “addressing district issues at the local level and capitalising on local opportunities”. 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 has been reserved for each district to implement one to two projects. All the projects are proposed, discussed and agreed by DCs. 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 and/or non-works in nature, or a mixture of both. DCs may partner with non-profit-making organisations, business organisations, statutory bodies or government departments to deliver these projects. In addition, 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.
An additional $20.8 million per annum has been injected to the Community Involvement (CI) Programme since 2013-14 to strengthen the support for DCs to promote arts and culture in the districts. To further enhance DCs’ support for promoting arts and cultural activities, an additional annual funding of $20.8 million has been provided for five financial years from 2015-16 to 2019-20. This would enable DCs to play a more prominent and pro-active role at the district level in this area. DCs may use the additional funding to provide better planning and support for arts and cultural activities organised by them and their committees, district organisations or relevant government departments (such as the Leisure and Cultural Services Department). This will help arts and culture further take root in local communities. Furthermore, from the 2017-18 financial year, an additional $100 million has been provided to the CI Programme, bringing its annual funding to $461.6 million. This can enable the 18 DCs to further enhance the implementation or sponsorship of community involvement projects.
Based on the success of the“District Administration Pilot Scheme” in Sham Shui Po and Yuen Long which was concluded in August 2015, the Government introduced the “District-led Actions Scheme” (DAS) to take forward the concept of “addressing district issues at the local level and capitalising on local opportunities” starting from 2016-17. An annual recurrent funding provision of $63 million has been allocated for 18 districts to roll out over 40 projects. 18 District Offices, in collaboration with DCs, local communities and related government departments, are pressing ahead DAS projects in the areas of improving environmental hygiene and managing public spaces, for instance, handling shop front extensions, enhancing anti-mosquito efforts and clearing illegal bicycle parking, etc. On the other hand, there are 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. The projects, for example, include preparing the community to tackle surge in dementia population.