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SWD provides first response to human need

Published on Friday, 05 Aug 2011
The Social Welfare Department handled about 926,000 social security cases in 2010-2011 financial year.
Photo: Felix Wong

The ability to provide quality customer service is among the key requirements for candidates seeking a career with the Social Welfare Department (SWD). 

The social security officer and assistant positions are the core departmental grades for delivering services to the public.

Officers implement policy and lead in the administration of services. They also manage the frontline operation of 38 social security field units under the administration of 11 District Social Welfare Offices and various units.

Assistants are responsible for the delivery of social security services to the general public, receiving, processing and investigating applications and handing out payments under various schemes.

Among the key tasks of the department is administering the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) scheme which provides monetary support for those in need on a means-tested basis, and the Social Security Allowance (SSA) scheme which provides largely non-means-tested allowances for the severely disabled and elderly. At the end of the 2010-11 financial year, CSSA handled 282,732 cases while SSA handled 642,979 cases.

Due to the huge number of cases, the complexity and huge expenditure involved, as well as the ever-rising expectations of recipients and the public, the SWD stresses a high level of competence in its employees.

Social security officers and assistants should have good interpersonal and communication skills. They must display good common sense, strong analytical power and sound judgment, especially in the handling of public inquiries and complaints.

The social security officer also assists in the formulation of strategic plans for the development of the service in response to social and economic developments in the community.

Selection interviews for the officers will be conducted in September 2011. Successful applicants will get a starting salary of around HK$16,855 a month plus the usual civil service benefits. Entry requirements include Chinese and English language proficiency and a pass in two subjects in the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination.

The SWD plans to conduct a recruitment exercise for social security assistant in early 2012. The starting pay for this post is around HK$14,010. Form 5 graduates are eligible to apply.

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