There are different layers of problem on EGRIN. The most obvious one is the quiet EGRIN discussion forum. We can ask what for, and if it is not delivering, why not just scrap it. Still we need to have a better alternative.
Another layer is the entire EGRIN platform which aims at solving a bigger problem: the communication among EOs, not just on the specific post-related matters but as a member of the grade. This requirement has been noted and pursued from the beginning of time. We are proud of the result in the form of the tight network of EOs, fellow EOs, and the backbone of the civil service. However, the modern knowledge-based society and the fast pace of IT networking make the old way fast becoming obsolete. The paper network, grapevine network and one-to-one telephone network are being replaced by the IT communication platform and this is a worldwide trend.
GGO did not lag behind too much and the EGRIN platform was created to address this. I must say EGRIN is quite successful in its role as an information dissemination centre of grade matters. It is still a step behind in elevating itself to an interactive and multi-channel information sharing centre. The EGRIN discussion forum is central to this important upgrade and is therefore worthy of nurturing.
GGO is not the only party to be blamed for the lack of two-way communication in EGRIN. There is also the culture of EOs -> civil servants -> Hong Kong citizens. But GGO has a leading role in promoting change, at least within her own house and within her capability. She is now trying, although IMHO the actions are not effective. There are many easy ways which she hasn’t tried. I think one of the major barrier is the deep fear of GGO in getting her policies and actions challenged in public (not too public as EGRIN is a closed site). We all learned that the best way to clear misunderstanding is open communication. But fear is sometimes irrational.
The suggestion on the publication of Keep In Touch is excellent. Many modern publications have migrated to a website, and the mode of presentation changed from a plain 2D cold media to interactive information centre with multi-dimension links. This transition will be difficult for GGO, not because of the technology which can be easily outsourced, but because of the way content and information are managed. There is also the dilemma of opening up the site to the public, and retirees, in that order.