While welcoming the Administration’s decision to implement a “dual-track” approach for means test, Mr CHAN Kin-por enquired about the factors contributing to the low take-up rate of the WITS Scheme. In his view, the Administration should review the adequacy of the publicity efforts, the effectiveness of the briefing sessions and the application procedures for the WITS Scheme. To enhance the flexibility and accessibility of the WITS Scheme, Mr CHAN asked whether the Administration would consider simplifying the application form and accepting on-line application or collection of completed application forms through post offices.
Secretary for Labour and Welfare advised that the Administration would launch a series of publicity programmes on the enhancement proposals through various channels to bring the message across after it was approved by FC. Regarding the application form and procedures, SLW stressed that the Administration was mindful of the need to make the application procedures user-friendly and simple. Applicants were not required to re submit some supporting information in their subsequent rounds of application.
Commissioner for Labour (“C for L”) added that since the announcement of the enhancement proposals for the WITS Scheme on 31 August 2012, there had been a notable increase in the number of public enquiries between September and October 2012 on the modifications to the Scheme. To further enhance the public awareness of the application procedures, briefing sessions would continue to be held at district level. The Administration would further simplify the application form to reduce the information to be provided by applicants undergoing individual-based assessment. Applicants were only required to complete a three-page application form in the latest design if they opted for individual-based assessment. They could continue to download the application form from the homepage of the Labour Department (“LD”) and apply by post. The aforesaid arrangements would make the application for WITS simpler and easier.