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Government will co-operate with The Ombudsman

     In response to The Ombudsman''s announcement that he will conduct a direct investigation on the access to information regime and the Government''s records management system, a Government spokesman said today (January 4) that both the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau and the Administration Wing will co-operate with The Ombudsman''s investigation.

     The spokesman said, "The Ombudsman has in fact carried out a direct investigation on the effectiveness of the administration of the Code on Access to Information (the Code), most recently in 2009-10, and has put forward 11 recommendations for more effective administration of the Code. These recommendations have all been implemented, except that two public bodies will soon issue their guides on access to information according to their respective work schedules, and one of these is almost ready.

     "The Code provides a framework for the public to access a wide range of information held by the Government. Statistics show that 98 per cent of the public''s requests for information filed to relevant bureaux and departments, and which information is held by the bureaux and departments, have been met, either in full or in part.

     "The Government fully recognises that records are valuable resources to support evidence-based decision making and are essential for an open and accountable government. The Government is also committed to identifying and preserving government records having archival value so as to enhance public awareness of Hong Kong''s documentary heritage.

     "Administrative measures are being adopted to regulate records management within the Government. The Government Records Service is tasked with overseeing the overall management of government records and ensuring that government records are properly managed and those with archival value are selected for preservation and public access.

     "The Government will continue with its best endeavours to identify room for improvement, with a view to enhancing public access to information and effective government records management."

     The spokesman added, "The Government will examine carefully the findings and recommendations which may arise from The Ombudsman''s direct investigation, and consider whether and how the prevailing administrative arrangements should be improved further."

Ends/Friday, January 4, 2013