This paper serves to report on the progress of implementation of the Code on Access to Information (the Code) within the government.


2. Since our last progress report in April this year, the Code was further extended to another seven agencies bringing a total of 82 agencies under the Code's ambit.

Requests received

3. During the period under report, the 82 agencies subject to the Code received an additional 244 requests for information making a total of 1027 Code requests so far. The table at Annex A shows how these 1027 requests were dealt with. Of the additional 244 requests received, only 6 were rejected in full and 5 in part. Of the cases met, all of them were disposed of within the target timeframe.

Grounds for refusal

4. In considering a request for information under the Code, the agency concerned can only refuse access to information in strictly defined circumstances, which must be explained in the event of a refusal. Of the 11 new cases of full or partial rejections, the grounds quoted by agencies for rejection of requests, by reference to the relevant paragraphs of Part 2 of the Code, are set out at Annex B.


5. Since April, only two requests were made for internal review of an initial refusal to disclose information. In both cases, the original decision was upheld after review. As regards the one outstanding COMAC complaint since last report, the case has now been found unsubstantiated. There was no fresh complaint lodged directly with COMAC.

Staff Training

6. During the period under report, the Efficiency Unit arranged another one-and-a-half-day seminar offering hands-on training to some 50 departmental staff directly involved in implementing the Code at the agency level. In addition, a total of 5 briefing sessions were organised on the subject for staff at various levels.

Extension of the Code

7. We have continued to assist the remaining agencies for compliance with the Code. We are still working towards the overall target of achieving full extension throughout the government before end 1996.

Efficiency Unit
June 1996

Annex A

Disposal of Requests

As at 21 June 1996, the 82 participating agencies received a total of 103 oral and 924 written requests for information. Of these 1027 requests,

810 met in full within target response times
23partially met
32 rejected
34withdrawn by applicants
87 referred to other agencies*
24still being processed
4records found missing
13records sought not held by agency

* They included :

26referred to other government agencies not yet subject to the Code at the time of receipt of requests. Of these 26 cases, 22 met in full and 4 withdrawn
26oral requests advised to put in writing
35referred to appropriate sources including non-government agencies in possession of the requested information

Efficiency Unit
June 1996

Annex B

Reasons for rejection of requests

Code Para.

No of times


Law Enforcement, Legal Proceedings & Public Safety

( 3 times )


Management & Operation of the Public Service

( 3 times )


Internal Discussion & Advice

( 2 times )


Premature Requests

( 2 times )


Nationality, Immigration & Consular Matters

( 1 time )


Public Employment, Public Appointments & Honours

( 1 time )


Improper Gain or Advantage

( 1 time )


Research, Statistics & Analysis

( 1 time )


Third Party Information

( 1 time )

* Since more than one ground may be quoted to reject access to information, the total number of cases quoted here (15) exceeds the total number of full or partial rejections (11).

Remarks :

When a request for information is to be refused, the agency concerned must inform the applicant of, as in the 11 cases of full or partial rejections referred above, the reasons for refusal, the avenue of internal review and the avenue of lodging a complaint to COMAC.

Efficiency Unit
June 1996

Last Updated on 20 Aug, 1998