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Enhancement of legal aid services through innovative use of information technology (Legal Aid Department)

The Legal Aid Department (LAD) commits to providing quality customer-oriented legal aid services. Aiming to improve service efficiency and provide prompt response to customers, LAD has developed new online services with the latest information technology to keep legal aid services abreast of the times. Service 1: EFFECTIVE USE OF QR CODES The pamphlet entitled How Your Financial Resources & Contribution are Calculated published by LAD contains calculation examples of different scenarios. However, as the rates of personal allowances and financial eligibility limits for legal aid are adjusted oftentimes, the calculation examples in the pamphlet require frequent updates, which are effort and time demanding but ephemeral. Resources were squandered consequently. To resolve the difficulty, LAD has added in the pamphlet relevant QR codes, through which members of the public can access the latest calculation examples on LAD’s website. When there is any adjustment to the calculation examples, it is necessary to update only the information on the website but not the pamphlet. Not only does this help protect the environment, but printing costs and staff resources could also be saved. Service 2:  MOBILE VERSION OF MEANS TEST CALCULATOR Since means assessment involves many factors concerning a legal aid applicant, LAD introduced in December 2008 an online Means Test Calculator, which provides a convenient way for members of the public to find out whether they are likely to be eligible for legal aid on means. The mobile version of the Means Test Calculator was subsequently introduced for easy access by mobile devices anytime anywhere. Service 3: ENHANCING SERVICES BY INSTANT TRANSLATION SYSTEM To overcome the language barrier faced by people of diverse race in making legal aid applications and the shortage of interpreters, LAD has developed an instant translation system, which can display and read out questions in languages commonly used by people of diverse race. The system also connects to an online translation programme which can translate the answers provided by legal aid applicants of diverse race in their own languages into English. LAD staff may then identify and provide suitable information to them to facilitate their legal aid applications. (For more details, please visit Sevice Excellence Website)

The pilot scheme of Tuen Mun Park inclusive play space (Architectural Services Department, Leisure and Cultural Services Department)

The Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) have introduced the first inclusive playground in Hong Kong at Tuen Mun Park with two natural elements of “water” and “sand” in the design. This playground aims at providing a well-designed environment which allows children of different ages and abilities to equally enjoy a variety of physical, sensory and social play experiences. Children can take up challenges commensurate with their ability and interact with others while enjoying themselves in this playful environment. COMMUNITY DESIGN AND USER-ORIENTED APPROACH To respond to the demand for inclusive play spaces, ArchSD and LCSD swiftly implemented the winning schemes of the Inclusive Play Space Design Ideas Competition. Only a month after the competition, ArchSD had already completed the master layout plan and worked closely with LCSD on this project through exchange of ideas and inter-departmental design workshops. ArchSD and LCSD believe that the playground should be user-oriented. Stakeholders of various sectors were invited to join a series of focus group workshops and potential users’ views were collected. School children from Tuen Mun were invited to contribute ideas on the design of the sensory walls and the floor pattern of the water play area. The amazingly creative ideas of the children were gathered and seamlessly incorporated in the final design. The Tuen Mun District Council was also consulted and a swing area with feature swings were introduced to address the requests of the local community. COLLABORATE CLOSELY TO CATER TO DIFFERENT NEEDS To strike a balance between safety, enjoyment and inclusiveness, ArchSD and LCSD adopted an innovative approach to the design and management of the playground. Through collaborative team meetings and training workshops throughout the design and construction stages, the two departments discussed the management and maintenance arrangement of the playground, and all front-line staff were familiar with the inclusive design concept as well as the maintenance standard of the play equipment. ArchSD also customised suitable tools and accessories to facilitate the safe and effective work of LCSD’s team. Besides, ArchSD and LCSD had invited school children and professional bodies to join the experiencing workshops and trial play sessions, which not only promoted the project but also served as trial runs. Both departments could also observe the usage, survey users’ opinions, and conduct evaluation for the continuous improvement of the playground facilities and management. SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT AND SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION The playground has been very popular and well received by the public, with extensive media coverage and shares on social media platforms. The concept of inclusive play has been successfully promoted in Hong Kong through this pilot project. It has won Gold Award 2018 presented by the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects, the Special Architectural Award – Inclusive Design presented by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, and the Annual Design Award presented by ArchSD, and has gained recognition from various government departments as well as committees on children and barrier-free affairs. Frequent site visits to the Park were held to share the experience gained. (The video is provided by Development Bureau) (For more details, please visit Sevice Excellence Website)

New gear to save lives (Civil Aid Service)

Super typhoon Mangkhut left a path of destruction in Hong Kong last year when it knocked down more than 60,000 trees and caused extensive damage to the city. This year, the Government is readying for the wet season with new equipment and exercises to optimise its emergency response. One such drill, which put the Civil Aid Service’s preparedness for emergency operations to the test, saw service personnel efficiently cut apart a collapsed tree with new high-powered chainsaws in a Tsuen Wan campsite. Civil Aid Service (Department) Operations & Training Assistant Ng Shing-chiu said the new chainsaws are suitable for most scenarios involving typhoons. “The new chainsaw models have much more power and are simpler to use. “Another piece of equipment that has been introduced is the extended pole saw, which can stretch as high as 21 ft to reach broken branches on treetops.” To guarantee the chainsaw operator’s safety, the service also started using two types of protective chaps made of materials that can stop a chainsaw’s rotation, Mr Ng added. Better response Besides tree clearance, the service needs to deal with flooding, casualty evacuation, evacuation of residents and management of temporary shelters. It has introduced different types of specialised equipment to handle such scenarios, such as new and more comfortable life jackets for rescuers and victims. Previously the service only had one size of throwline, but now there are various sizes and lengths for different flood rescue scenarios. The rescuer can throw these throwlines from the shore or use them while they are in the water. Civil Aid Service (Department) Acting Principal Operations & Training Officer Chui Ka-yi said: “The service has seen all-around improvement in terms of equipment, training and relief effort strategies. “We also gained valuable experience from our deployment when super typhoons Mangkhut and Hato smashed into Hong Kong.” The service will hold talks and workshops in Kwun Tong and Sha Tin to introduce measures that residents should take when facing emergencies.” (For more details, please visit News.gov.hk website)

Butterflies add colour to HK (Field Officer II)

Tam Kin-chung joined the Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department in 2012 and is an ecological surveyor in its Butterfly Working Group. The Field Officer is an expert on the winged insects and is well-versed in their behaviour. “The male butterflies usually put in a lot of effort to attract females. They try to find a plant with some special chemicals to convert them into pheromones to attract female butterflies.  “And some other butterflies, the male butterfly, will go to a hilltop. Such behaviour, we call that hill-topping. They go there to wait for a female butterfly to fly across so that they can have the courtship behaviour with them.” Survival skills The intricately detailed Tawny Mime is adept at imitating the appearance of the poisonous Chestnut Tiger to ward off predators, Mr Tam said. “They have a black forewing and a brown hindwing with some pale blue colour, colour stripes on their wings. “It is quite a beautiful butterfly but if you want to find one, it is quite difficult because the adults of Tawny Mime only appear in March and April every year. If you miss it, you will need to wait for another year to see this rare butterfly.” Mr Tam traverses the city to collect information on butterflies and finds it meaningful to help broaden people’s knowledge about the beautiful insects and to share the importance of environmental conservation. “Butterfly survey and investigation is very important to the public because butterflies are a part of our ecosystem. “When there are more butterflies, it means that there are more flowers and the vegetation should be quite good in the surrounding environment. They can support the butterflies, so that they come by. “It is very important for us to protect our environment so that more butterflies and animals can live there.” (For more details, please visit News.gov.hk Website)

T▪PARK – Transformation: Waste-to-Energy (Environmental Protection Department)

To support the concept of “waste-to-energy” and to promote a sustainable waste management strategy, T▪PARK, the first sludge incineration facility in Hong Kong was built in Tsang Tsui, Tuen Mun by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). The facility is capable of processing up to 2,000 tonnes of sludge per day. In the past, sludge was disposed of at landfills, and this new approach has greatly alleviated the burden of depleting limited landfill capacity in Hong Kong. T▪PARK is also the largest and most advanced facility of its kind, combining sludge incineration, power generation, seawater desalination and wastewater treatment.AN INSPIRING AND MODERN DESIGNAt the beginning of the planning stage, EPD gathered the views of the public and later set up the District Liaison Group to strengthen communication with the key stakeholders. Many valuable suggestions, such as the expansion of the education centre and the addition of spa facilities, were incorporated into the design of T▪PARK. From the naming of the facility, the venue design, to the exhibits and the promotional activities, T▪PARK adopted an inspiring and modern design which combines environmental education with lifestyle trends to make it more attractive to the public.The design of the environmental education centre is highly innovative. The most eye-catching parts are the three indoor spa pools with different temperatures, which are maintained by the energy recovered from the sludge incineration process. The pools give the public a taste of the benefits of the “waste-to-energy” concept. The exhibition hall features a 180-degree projector to simulate the sludge treatment process in an interesting and interactive way via the use of sound, films and pictures, and lets the visitors experience what it would be like inside the incinerator. There is also an indoor walkway along the key processing areas where visitors can see the plant operation. T▪PARK features many environmental and conservational elements, including a bird sanctuary and a vegetarian eco-cafe which follows Food Wise, a food waste reduction campaign.WASTE-TO-RESOURCES, AND A FURTHER UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONLocated next to a landfill outside the city centre of Hong Kong, T▪PARK is kept attractive to visitors by incorporating various creative elements in its exhibitions. One of the best examples is the furniture used in the cafe which is crafted from fender wood of the ex-Wanchai Ferry Pier area, showcasing the “waste-to-resources” concept.     Turning Ambition into Reality: Waste-to-energyWAN Gar-ling - Environmental Protection Officer, Environmental Protection Department. (For more details, please visit Sevice Excellence Website)

"Letter to Hong Kong" Feature Video by Department Representatives

    (For more details, please visit Sevice Excellence Website)

Drops · Livability (Drainage Services Department)

Happy Valley and its neighbourhood are low-lying areas flanked by hills. In the past, heavy rains triggered frequent flooding, which had a significant impact on the public. To protect people from the risk of floods, the Drainage Services Department (DSD) developed an innovative scheme to enhance flood protection in the district. The project team installed a stormwater storage tank underneath the Happy Valley Recreation Ground. During heavy rains, the tank temporarily stores excessive stormwater. Conventional drainage improvement schemes in urban areas are normally upgraded in-situ and in a large scale. In comparison, building a storage tank and storing flood water below ground greatly reduces disruptions to traffic flows and the general public. Movable weir The stormwater storage tank features a movable weir, which is a mechanism deployed by DSD for the first time. The weir’s opening, closing and overall positioning are automatically adjusted according to the real-time information on tidal levels as well as the water levels in the drainage culvert upstream and downstream. This mechanism allows stormwater overflow into the storage tank at the optimal time. Harvesting system collects groundwater and rainwater The tank’s design also incorporates a sizeable water harvesting system that collects groundwater and rainwater. After undergoing some simple treatment, the water can be used for irrigating the Happy Valley Recreation Ground and for toilet flushing, thereby conserving water resources. These features ensure that the project is sustainable and in line with the concept of “Sponge City”. Fan Room and Lawn A stormwater storage scheme requires the construction of support facilities above ground such as a fan room and a pump house. The project team customised the design to make optimal use of the site in the interest of the public. With an environment-friendly design, the ground floor of the fan room is opened up as a public amenity. The pump house is covered by a lawn, providing a comfortable outside area for fun and game watching. Going the extra mile, drop by drop, the project team consolidates stakeholders’ support and the fruit of joint efforts, bringing the project smoothly towards the goal of “Smart Drainage•Green Living”: flood protection and a more livable environment in tandem.     Partnering for innovationCHENG Nga-see - Senior Engineer, Drainage Services Department (For more details, please visit Sevice Excellence Website)

The 100 civil servants commended for their outstanding work performance in 2019 are...

The civil servants commended for their outstanding work performance this year came from 39 bureaux/departments and from various professional and technical grades, disciplined services and general grades as well as Model Scale 1 grades. Here let me introduce you five of the awardees.Senior Dental Officer of the Department of Health Dr So Hon-chingWith over 25 years of service with the Government, Dr So has been dedicating great efforts to promoting oral care services for the elderly. He participated in the formulation of the Outreach Dental Care Programme for the Elderly, which provides free outreach dental services for the elderly residing in residential care homes or receiving services in day care centres. The programme is benefiting about 50 000 elderly persons each year.Assistant Officer I of the Correctional Services Department (CSD) Mr Fida HussainMr Hussain said the CSD's rehabilitation work is very meaningful. In addition to day-to-day duties, Mr Hussain, who can speak several languages, assists the department by acting as an interpreter to explain custodial procedures to non-ethnic Chinese persons in custody and counselling them whenever necessary.Chief Customs Officer of the Customs and Excise Department Ms Lau Wai-manDuring her career in law enforcement and customs clearance spanning 30-odd years, Ms Lau has detected many drug trafficking and smuggling cases. She currently works at Lok Ma Chau Control Point and is responsible for monitoring and ensuring the smooth operation of cargo and vehicle clearance. Her rich front-line experience made her understand that while enforcing the law in a professional manner, Customs officers should treat the public with empathy and spend more time on communication and explanation so as to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding and conflicts.Senior Field Assistant of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Mr Shek Shui-waWith over 34 years of service with the Government, Mr Shek has been tasked with duties related to the conservation of native plants since joining the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Mr Shek has earlier collected from the field a seedling of the rare and precious Westland's birthwort for conservation outside its habitat. With his efforts and persistence, seeds eventually germinated and propagated successfully. He will return the grown plants to nature to assist in the propagation of this rare plant in Hong Kong.Senior Waterworks Inspector Mr Wong Yiu-waiMr Wong has served in different positions in the Water Supplies Department during his 36 years of service and is currently attached to the Water Loss Management Section. With identifying leaking underground water mains in Hong Kong and Islands Region as his main duty, he has to study a lot of data collected from the water mains network every day, and at times carries out leak detection on-site late at night before determining follow-up actions so as to safeguard precious water resources.(The SCS's Commendation Award Scheme was introduced in 2004 to commend colleagues who have achieved outstanding work performance continuously for at least five years. The Scheme has a meticulous selection process which requires nominations from Permanent Secretaries, departmental heads or heads of grades, adjudication by a selection committee and final decision on the awardees' list by the SCS.)