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  HAD launches Free Mediation Service Pilot Scheme for Building Management (with photos)

The Home Affairs Department (HAD) today (February 25) signed a co-operation agreement with the Hong Kong Mediation Centre (the Centre) and the Hong Kong Mediation Council (the Council) to launch the Free Mediation Service Pilot Scheme for Building Management (Scheme) to help owners and owners' corporations (OCs) resolve disputes. A total of 132 Resident Liaison Ambassadors (RLAs) and graduates of the Advanced LEAD Programme were also commended.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Betty Fung, said building management covers various expertise and works. The owners, OCs and property management companies may have different views on day-to-day management and maintenance work. Insufficient communication may lead to dispute, influence on the operation of estates or OCs, or even litigation.

Mrs Fung added, "To help resolve disputes, the Government proposed in the Building Management Ordinance consultation document published last November that the HAD would work with the relevant professional bodies on the introduction of mediation services on building management matters. I am glad that our proposal has received staunch support from the professional bodies concerned. A two-year free mediation service pilot scheme will be launched in March. We will arrange volunteer mediators to provide free professional mediation services, with a view to resolving the disputes effectively for the owner and OCs and attaining a win-win solution."

A total of 150 accredited and professional mediators from the Centre and the Council will participate in the Scheme. A team of mediators will separately meet each party concerned to explain the details of the Scheme and the basic principles, concept and procedures of mediation. The team will also analyse the case and advise individual parties how best mediation can settle their disputes, and encourage them to resolve their disputes by way of mediation.

If all parties concerned agree to have mediation, the HAD will appoint another team of mediators to have a preparatory meeting with them to understand the case and their needs. During the formal mediation session, the mediators will invite both parties to present their case respectively, assist them in clarifying, discussing and understanding the core of their disputes, and seek a mutually agreeable solution so as to reach a settlement.

To enhance participants' knowledge of mediation services and the Scheme, the HAD has organised a mediation workshop to introduce the general procedures of the Scheme and look at real cases.

OCs and owners who are interested in the Scheme may contact the District Building Management Liaison Team of respective District Office for details.

After the signing ceremony, Mrs Fung presented certificates to RLAs and graduates of the third Advanced LEAD Programme. She commended the RLAs for their dedication to building management, saying that not only had they acted as a bridge of communication between the Government and the residents, they had also assisted the buildings in forming OCs and had become management committee (MC) members themselves. She also praised the graduates for their passion in learning, encouraging them to continue to put into practice the knowledge acquired in building management and promote good building management to more property owners.

Launched in November 2011 by the HAD, the RLA Scheme aims at recruiting owners or tenants who live in buildings 30 years old or above and without any form of management to be RLAs. RLAs assist in establishing a resident network, handling daily building management matters, enhancing residents' knowledge and interest in building management and facilitating the formation of OCs. At present, 1 665 RLAs have been recruited to help form OCs in 109 old buildings.

The MC members of the OCs that have graduated from the LEAD Programme are entitled to continue with the Advanced LEAD Programme with a view to deepening their knowledge of building management. This enables them to take up the duty of community tutors more effectively in promoting good building management in the future.

Ends/Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:55

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