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Resolution on the registration of the Social Workers Registration Board as a voter for the Election Committee Subsector

[27/07/2021]

The Social Workers Registration Board (“Board”) is specified as one of the bodies eligible to be registered as voters in the Social Welfare Sub-sector of the second sector of the Election Committee (“Committee”) under the "Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Ordinance 2021" (“Ordinance”). The Board has discussed and exchanged different opinions about this matter before and after the enactment of the aforesaid Ordinance.

Members who support the registration pointed out that this move can gain and exert influence within the governing institution. Through participating in the Committee, it is beneficial to the social welfare sector to reflect its opinions and demands more directly and effectively to candidates of both the Chief Executive and Legislative Councilors, and it also allows the Board to reflect its views over regulatory and disciplinary control of social workers and impact the development of relevant aspects, fitting well the statutory role of the Board; furthermore, the Board is one of the important stakeholders in the social welfare sector, it should consider the full spectrum of factors in order to deliver its social responsibilities. They also believe that this move can realize balanced political participation, improve governance capabilities and standards, and benefit the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Members who oppose the registration believed that the "Social Workers Registration Ordinance" only empowers the Board to deal with registration of social workers and disciplinary control of the professional activities of registered social workers, and for related matters, it does not endow the Board with other functions and powers irrelevant to the aforesaid, that participating in political elections would be beyond its statutory mandate, and as the Board does not have a role to play in political elections, this new function should not be agreed to be accepted. Some members even believe that the legislative amendments have transformed the membership of the Committee from previously being elected by registered social workers to an appointment mechanism, making it no longer legitimate and the move is indeed shameful.

Lastly, by voting with a simple majority, the Board rejected the registration of the Board as a voter in the sub-sector of the Committee in the special voter registration arrangement. If the voter registration would reopen in future, the next tenure of the Board may reconsider whether to register as a voter by then.
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