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Chief Executive’s Report

 

 

Last year is an extraordinary year of the Society. Apart from holding events to celebrate our 60th Anniversary, the Society has been continuing to bid new services and revamp existing ones.

Social Rehabilitation Service

Consolidation of integration is the key mission of the Social Rehabilitation Service last year. Where it involves the change in opening hours of service centres, with the support of Social Welfare Department (SWD), local consultations were conducted, which were largely smooth. Meanwhile the Funding and Service Agreements (FSAs) of the Integrated Service Centres (ISCs) were developed to refine the service output, as well as service outcome indicators. Besides the ISCs, services under the FSA of Services for Ex-offenders and Discharged Prisoners, including Hostel, Court Social Work, Community Education and Crime Prevention, Pre-Release Preparation, Short-term Rental Assistance and Employment Development Services etc. will also have their FSAs be reviewed, in order to align with these services’ new development and to reflect the emphasis and impact of them.

Social Rehabilitation Service continued to become more diversified in the last year. Apart from the collaboration project with The People's Procuratorate of Shenzhen City on the Scheme of Conditional Non-Prosecution and other Discretionary Non-Prosecution cases of Hong Kong residents, the Society has been partnering with the Hong Kong Police Force New Territories South Regional Headquarters to operate the “Project Hope” to receive referrals of elderly arrestees who have caught petty crime. Over the early intervention, it was identified that quite a portion of these elderly exhibited early signs of mental health problems. Also, the Society partnered with The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong to apply funding from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to operate a project to provide support for young children from families with their parents who have been in conflict with the law.

There was steady progress in the Society’s social housing project SoUk. On top of the 2 SoUk units situated at Yau Ma Tei and San Po Kong, had already started to admit residents last year, A Taoist organization, namely Tao Kwong Toa Teh Association Ltd initiated cooperation with the Society to operate the third SoUk unit, which is just adjacent to the first SoUk unit in Yau Ma Tei. The renovation work of this SoUk unit would be covered by donation from the Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation and overseen by the volunteer architect and designer, who had offered assistance on the first SoUk’s interior design, which was expected to be completed for admission by September of this year. Meanwhile, the Society has closely liaised with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service to select suitable flats under their Social Housing Programme for operating more SoUk units in other parts of the urban area.

Following the integration of Social Rehabilitation Service, the Society has been upgrading the ORSIS system since its installation and commencement of operation last year. The enhanced ORSIS would cover other related services, like Court Social Work, Employment Development Service and Hostel Service, and provided upgraded functions in analyzing data and generating more useful statistical output. Moreover, a similar tailor made ORSIS system has been under preparation for our Mental Health Service, thus accelerating the data management of the Society.

Mental Health Service

Mental Health Services (MHS) of the Society are mainly SWD subvented services. Besides meeting service standards and FSA requirements, MHS emphasizes much on innovation on service model, partnership with stakeholders and riding on strengths of recovered service users to create greater service impact.

With SWD’s gradual enhancement of subvention allocation to the services of Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness (ICCMW), which included regularizing the establishment of Peer Supporter and adding on Community Coach Team, service coverage and intensity of ICCMWs were further strengthened. Besides outreaching to those hidden prospective service users, deepened involvement of recovered service users to deliver psychoeducation to community groups from various background and age. To enhance mutual understanding, combat discrimination and promote harmonious social integration were major focus of both ICCMWs of the Society.

Since the beginning of this year, the Society started discussing with the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) on an innovative project to provide a co-living environment for those discharged youngsters aged 18 or above from the Children’s Home and recovering ex-mentally service users who are living in halfway house. The idea of the project is to demolish the existing Shau Kei Wan House to make way for a new 22-storey building to be built on the same site. While the existing Shau Kei Wan House will be re-provisioned at the first 4 floors of the new building, the 5th and above floors will be co-living space for the youths with provision of facilitative, interactive and collaborative activities. The new building will be a modern facility promoting recovery of residents of Shau Kei Wan House on the one hand, and on the other, to enhance these discharged youths who may not have favourable family environment to receive further training to build up mature characters for a self-dependent and law abiding adulthood in a supportive and nurturing environment. With the support of SWD, the Society successfully acquired a grant of about HK$0.24 billion from HKJC to rebuild Shau Kei Wan House and to financially support the project, tentatively named as “Project Cheery Bay” for 3 years.

Employment Service and Social Enterprise.

With the support of the Correctional Services Department (CSD), as well as having the Sunlink Holdings (H.K.) Ltd. to provide concessional rental for the shop’s premises, the SoBakery of our Bright Services Company Limited (BSCL) started to have trial run at the shopping mall (which is still under renovation) of Hing Man Estate in Chai Wan of Hong Kong Island. SoBakery is a new attempt of Bright Services in food and beverage business to serve local residents. It would also take corporate orders for bakery products, as well as snacks and drinks for parties and company functions. While the business model is relatively simple, SoBakery is opened with an objective to provide job placements and training for newly discharged young ex-offenders, who have received basic training on bakery when they were serving sentences. Upon the completion of renovation of the Hing Man Shopping Mall, the business of SoBakery is expected to become more stable.

Totally after some 4 years of operation, our social enterprise restaurant “MJ”, which was rebranded from the Korean franchise “Chef’s Noodle” closed by the end of last year. To enter into the Food and Beverage business has proved to be a really challenging attempt to our Social Enterprise Bright Services Company Ltd. Over the last 4 and a half years, members of Bright Services, from frontline staff to board members, as well as the Society’s committee members have been making serious efforts to generate the greatest social impact on the one hand, to strive for financial stainability of the restaurant on the other. While facing the very stringent operation conditions, Bright Services did take a bold step to revamp the business model, yet it did not help much and the social enterprise restaurant was closed to reduce financial burden to its mother company with its ex-offender employees be deployed to the other business of Bright Services. Though not being successful, the experience of operating Chef’s Noodle and MJ did bring the Society invaluable insights and learning.

Nowadays youths have different ideas on their career life. Sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the Society started to operate a 3-year project, namely Jockey Club YouChallenge Programme to foster active involvement, enable positive experience and exposures for disadvantaged youths, who could thus identify their own strengths essential for life planning. Participating youths will be awarded for achieving short-term goals set for themselves through completing quests of the mobile application. Employers, professionals and volunteers would be invited to assist to create quests, offer opportunity or experience, sponsor rewards, and interact with the youths to share experience and professional skills. The Project would take referrals from CSD and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) running outreaching and young night drifter services. The Programme is not a conventional type of employment service, but to break the inertia of youths and stimulate them to think and explore their lives are also crucial steps for preparing youths for their career development

Crime Prevention and Community Education Service

Some HK$10 million grant by the AIDS Trust Fund was acquired by the Society to continue operating its Mercury III – Intensive Support and Prevention Programme for AIDS and Blood Borne Diseases (Project M3) for another 2 years. Apart from the injecting drug users and sex workers, additional programmes are developed to serve men who have sex with men, and VTC tests are also provided to them. With the support of CSD, project workers would deliver regular AIDS prevention talks in the penal institutions and promote the Society’s services for inmates.

The Mock Trial Justice Education Project has been running for 11 years. The Project would receive grant from the Beat Drug Fund to operate justice education with a theme on drug prevention in the coming year. Also, the Project will partner with Junior Police Call and the Tai Kwun, the newly replenished heritage supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, to conduct Mock Trial at their venues and to incorporate Mock Trial as their regular educational programme. Unlike other moot court activities that focus on debating techniques, the Society’s Mock Trial is more on instilling proper value of law abiding citizenship through a variety of educational activities, including that “image truth” court hearing competition events.

The “STAR Theatre” of the Society staged its crime prevention drama twice over the last year. One being was the first performed “Cocoon Angel”, and the other one was “Musical Theatre—Heroes” performed the second time. Both shows earned positive feedback from the audience. Besides, a new book titled as “Six Awakening Life” written by Ms WONG Ming-lok telling life stories of six actresses of “Cocoon Angel”. And a press conference on result of a study on female abusers was conducted on the new book release event to arouse public concern on plights faced by female drug users.

Central Administration

Since 2018, the Performance Based HR System has been in full implementation to foster a culture of striving for excellence among all staff members. Whereas salary review (including additional salary increase or lower increase rate) and contract renewal arrangement will be based on the work performance of staff, thus actualizing the principle of fairness on staff reward. In parallel, to ensure the objectivity and fairness in assessment of staff performance, the Society has set up numerous Assessment Alignment Boards comprising of different combination of service or unit supervisors to initially review and align the overall appraisal grade for all staff of professional or executive or above grade, whilst the Management and Committee Performance Appraisal Boards would review the appraisal reports according to the established mechanism.

To enhance financial management efficiency, the post of Assistant Financial Manager was created; and a series of enhancement practice was adopted to improve the accuracy of financial management and to reduce the delivery time of financial documents through online banking, electronic approval of forms, and setup of Octopus for fee collection. Also, the Society replaced the obsolete financial management system (FMS) with a new centralised FMS within half a year, and the new system is deemed more adapted to the financial management requirements of various funders. It is the objectives of the Financial Division to review its processes, to trim down unnecessary steps and invent innovative measures in order to release service staffs for their core duties of service operation and development.

Up till presently, the Society is still the key NGO in Hong Kong to provide a comprehensive range of social rehabilitation services for ex-offenders. Both local and overseas media, including those from Mainland, would approach the Society for information or exchanges for updated development of ex-offenders services, and the increasing request for contacts did induce much pressure to the Corporate Communications Division of the Society. But fortunately, these contacts do help creating exposure and publicity of the Society’s work and services.

Concluding Remark

Last year saw the 60th Anniversary of the Society. A series of large scale events were held, including the 60th Anniversary Kick-off event “WE Connect” in May last year, the Charity Walk & Run x So HOT Carnival in last October, and the “60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee Gala Dinner” in last December, all enhanced our publicity and networking with diverse stakeholders. Staff morale was well boosted up in the preparation of all these events, in particular the Gala Dinner that led the year-long celebration to the climax. While proceeds were raised during the Gala Dinner, the participation of users, volunteers, staffs and committee members in the Gala Dinner’s programmes gained much appraise from guests and participants of the dinner.

Lastly, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Chairperson and members of Executive Committee, the Chairperson and members of all sub-Committees, Honorary Advisors and Consultants, sponsoring organizations and donors, government departments, benevolent employers, all staffs and volunteers for their support all along. With their participation and contribution, our services on Social Rehabilitation, Mental Recovery and Crime Prevention shall continue to do good for the wellbeing of service users, as well as the continuous prosperity of Hong Kong community.