The EAA is committed to maintaining high standards of corporate governance and strives to maintain a high level of accountability, credibility and transparency, which in turn fosters public confidence in the EAA.
EAA Board and Administration
The EAA Board is the highest decision-making authority. It sets all major strategies and policies for the EAA, including its work plan and budget, and guides and monitors the performance and activities of the Administration. All Board Members are appointed by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR. The Board consists of members from various sectors of the community, including the estate agency sector and the Housing Bureau.
There are five standing committees to oversee various aspects of the EAA work. The Board may also from time to time set up panels and work groups to deal with specific issues and may appoint to the committees, panels or work groups, other persons (Board-appointed Members) who are not members of the EAA Board.
To maintain public confidence in the integrity of Board Members and the impartiality of their advice, the EAA adopts a two-tier reporting system. Board Members and Board-appointed Members are required not only to register their interests with the EAA upon their appointment to membership and annually thereafter, but also to declare their interests at all EAA meetings in any subject / matter under consideration by the EAA, and any conflict of interest or any potential conflict of interest they may have with the EAA. The register of Members’ and Board-appointed Members’ interests is available for public inspection upon request.
Regarding the interests related to land and property, all EAA Board members and Board-appointed members are required to declare any such beneficial interests they have in Hong Kong or overseas, without disclosing details of the addresses of such land or property. Registrable interest includes land or property owned by a Member in his/ her own name, or held indirectly through another company or person. It also includes land or property which a Member has a right over its disposition or has any pecuniary interest deriving from it. All managerial officers of the EAA Administration also adopt a similar requirement in declaring their interests.
Accountability and transparency
To reinforce the culture of accountability, a Corporate Authorisation Manual for the EAA was also formulated by the Board, specifying in detail the Board’s delegation of authority to its standing committees, working groups/panels and the EAA Administration, to ensure that a comprehensive framework of checks and balances is in place. The EAA has also a set of performance pledges for its services to the public and level of attainment of the pledges is reviewed regularly.
The EAA has also come under the jurisdiction of The Ombudsman with The Ombudsman Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 1) Order 2009 as ordered by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR Government taking effect in October 2009.
To increase the transparency of the EAA’s work, the EAA furnishes to the Secretary for Housing an annual report every year, which is also laid before the Legislative Council. Members of the public are kept abreast of the EAA’s regulatory affairs through various channels. Moreover, the EAA regularly organizes press briefings and issues press releases on issues related to its work and of public interests. This enables the community to have a good understanding of the EAA’s initiatives.
All Board Members and employees of the EAA are considered “public servants” for the purpose of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.
Checks and balances
To facilitate the public access information about the EAA and the services it provides, the EAA has designated the Director of Services and Professional Development as the Access to Information Officer who is responsible for ensuring that requests for access to information under the EAA’s Code on Access to Information are properly dealt with in accordance with specific procedures.
Under the Estate Agents Ordinance, licensees or licence applicants may appeal against the EAA’s decisions concerning refusal to grant or renew a licence, or its disciplinary sanctions by writing to the Secretary for Housing. The Secretary for Housing is required to appoint a panel of persons for the purpose of hearing such appeals. The appeals are determined by a tribunal, the members of which are appointed by the Chairman of the panel from members of the panel.