“Panel urges NGO transparency of public money”

The Hong Kong Standard recently posted the following article:

“The Legislative Council’s Public Accounts Committee has expressed ‘grave concern and dissatisfaction’ about the Social Welfare Department’s failure to effectively monitor the work of non-governmental organizations.

The committee acknowledged that NGOs have an indispensable role in providing a wide range of services to the community, and that the government’s lump sum grant subvention system gives them the autonomy and flexibility to allocate resources.

But the committee noted that some NGOs ran persistent deficits, and others piled up too much reserves. It also noted that the Social Welfare Department had failed to ensure NGOs meet the requirement for them to disclose the remuneration of their most senior staff.

In the financial year 2016 to 2017, HK$12.5 billion in lump sum grants had been allocated to 165 NGOs. The committee chairman, lawmaker Abraham Shek, said subsidized NGOs should be closely monitored:

‘Given the substantial public resources involved and the importance of NGOs’ work to Hong Kong, the committee stresses that there should be a proper and transparent accountability mechanism for the Social Welfare Department and the public to monitor LSG subvention from a value for money perspective,’’Shek said.

The committee also expressed grave concern and dissatisfaction about the Social Welfare Department’s ‘slow and inadequate’ actions to tackle the problem of a high turnover rate of social work personnel in NGOs, saying that could compromise the quality of services provided to the community.

The committee saidthe department needs to propose measures to improve the monitoring of NGOs, review their pay scales and staff remuneration policy, and devise long-term manpower planning to ensure sustainable development of the sector.”




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