Date of Award


Degree Type

UG Dissertation

First Advisor

Prof. Wong Yiu-chung


1989 was the year Hong Kong echoed to the public-sector reform or New Public Management Reform (NPM-reforms) trend among the Western developed countries. (Cheung 1996a: 31, Lee 2001: 55) Since then, public sector had been injected the ingredient of the private sector management. Citizens started to be treated as paying customers for quality services rather than receiving “one size fits all” services. (Sankey 2001: 3) “Value for money” had been emphasized in this financial management reform launched by the Finance Branch of the Hong Kong Government.

Unlike the above reform, the public sector reform in 1992 had been more fundamental, vigorous and aroused more discussion in society. It was launched by the last Governor, Chris Patten. In response to the civil service reforms in the Britain, Patten adopted the Citizen’s Charter concept in Hong Kong and named it the “Performance Pledges Programme.” (Lee 2001: 57) It was more fundamental because a task force was set up and called the Efficiency Unit in 1992. Since then, the core principles and values of the later reforms have been founded by this unit.

The last Governor had enlarged the extent of reform from solely financial to human resource management. The reform had indeed been succeeded by the first Chief Executive, Tung Chee-hwa. Continuous improvements in public services were launched with the Target-based Management Process (TMP) in 1997, Enhancement Productivity Programme (EPP) in 1998 and last but not least, the Principal Officials Accountability System (POAS) in 2002. (Lee 2001: 58-60)

Although we see the public sector reform was conducted in a continuous manner, there must be a reason to launch a specific policy, especially those reforms bringing fundamental changes to the society. So, the aim of this research is to find out the motive(s) of both Colonial Government and HKSAR Governments on launching the public-sector reform. In the light of Cheung’s study (1996a, 1996b), legitimacy would be used to argue as the main consideration of launching public sector reform.

Recommended Citation

Chan, K. H. (2012). Public sector reforms in Hong Kong in the 1990s (UG dissertation, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from