budget allocations 2004-05
The Management Board on 16 April agreed to recommend the
proposed allocations for 2004-05 for the Council's approval via the
Finance Committee. Budgets for 2004-05, it has recommended, will be distributed
based on the 2003-04 original level, with a number of adjustments:
a reduction of teaching
budgets because of the conversion of some UGC-funded programmes to
self-financing mode in 2004-05;
an adjustment of departmental
budgets in line with the Civil Service salary cut (3% plus 3% in January
2004 and January 2005 respectively);
a 2% overall reduction
in departmental budgets (academic departments offset by 2% Research
Assessment Exercise reinforcements); and
a 5% to 20% cut in institutional
The Board also recommended
some budget policy changes, one of which is that budget controllers are
allowed to carry forward all unspent balances in their institutional budgets
at 30 June 2004 to 2004-05. Existing arrangements for departmental budgets
however remain unchanged, ie. departments are allowed to carry forward
their unspent funds to 2004-05.
The two universities have started talking about deep collaboration
in early March, according to Prof H K Chang, President.
A working group co-chaired by the deputy president of each institution
will look into possible areas of collaboration, in the first instance,
as pilot tests. Four sub-groups, two on academic areas, two on non-academic,
have been impanelled for some preliminary findings by early May. CityU
and PolyU, the President said in the February issue of Linkage,
have a lot in common, or "complementariness" in terms of our
history, physical location, current academic strengths and applied focus.
In the short term, Prof Chang said, we have to find out if there are new
or synergistic initiatives that could provide better educational quality
and value to the community¡Xnew or joint taught postgraduate programmes,
for example. These initiatives, he hopes, would be eligible for some support
from a special fund the University Grants Committee has recently set up
to promote collaboration.
The Management Board on 16 April agreed to recommend
the new salary scales and pay raise system for Council's approval via
the Staffing and Conditions of Service Committee, effective 1 July 2004.
The proposal to create the titles of Senior Instructor I and II, however,
will be revised. In the 14 April Open Forum on the issues, organized by
the Human Resources Office, staff members urged the University to set
up "clear" and "transparent" guidelines for the implementation of
the merit-based pay-raise system. In the current proposals, a new pay
raise system will be introduced on 1 July 2004, based on the budgetary
situation of the University and taking into account "good" and "outstanding"
performance of the staff. Half or one increment of the salary scale may
be awarded. Staff members would like to see a clearer definition of what
"good" and "outstanding" means for different ranks and grades of staff.
A total of 105
applications have been approved. The University is expected to fork out
a total of HK$56 million in ex-gratia payments, using central fund. Departments
will have to pay for staff members' untaken leave. The University is
expected to achieve budget savings from the departures within a period
of two years.
help redress the current imbalance between academic and residential accommodation
on campus, the Management Board on 15 March resolved to convert Floor
3 of Cheng Yick Chi Building into classrooms to meet the demand for larger
classrooms, in anticipation of a changing landscape in self-financing
programmes. It also decided to convert the postgraduate students and senior
staff quarters in To Yuen Building into offices. Minimum structural changes
will be carried out to allow them to be restored to their original purpose,
if need be. The cost for conversion will be significantly lower than the
current cost of renting offices in Festival Walk.
of staff quarters
will partner with commercial property agencies to lease vacant quarters
to non-university personnel, subject to approval of the District Lands
Office. This is necessary as the number of vacant quarters is likely to
increase due to decreased demand. Fewer new staff eligible for housing
benefits will join the University, while some existing staff will leave
at the end of their service. More eligible staff in the past few years
have opted to purchase their own property instead of renting. The Value
for Money Audit Reports of the Audit Commission in 2003 highlighted that
UGC-funded institutions should consider partnering with property agencies
to lease out vacant quarters more efficiently.
PTA and HFA rates
In line with the Civil Service reviews, the rates of Private
Tenancy Allowance (PTA) and Home Financing Allowance (HFA), effective
1 April 2004, will be revised downward by 12.5% to 15% for PTA and downward
by 12.1% to 12.2% for HFA.
The University has fully matched the "floor" amount
of HK$45 million stipulated by the University Grants Committee. A major
portion of the donations and the Matching Grant were secured by the Faculty
of Science and Engineering.
Dr Xue Quan , Associate Professor of the Department of
Electronic Engineering, has been appointed Principal Technological Specialist
of the State 863 IC Design Base, Chengdu Sub-base, under China's Ministry
of Science and Technology, effective from April 2004 to April 2006.
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