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Provision of documents to Public Accounts Commmittee


In response to media enquiries on the provision of documents to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), a Government spokesman said today (February 6) that the Administration attaches the utmost importance to facilitating the PAC in its deliberations on the Director of Audit's Value for Money audit reports.

"Despite our previous stance that submissions for ExCo and the Chief Secretary's Committee (CSC) or its Policy Groups should be treated as a class "confidential" and should not be disclosed, we have agreed to consider positively the PAC's requests for such documents on a case-by-case and confidential basis," he said.

New arrangements were introduced on December 1, 2001 towards this end.

The spokesman said that the new arrangements would go some way towards enhancing the co-operation between the PAC and the Administration and facilitating the PAC's deliberations. "If, after careful consideration, the Administration feels unable to accede to a particular request for disclosure of certain documents, the Administration will no doubt explain the considerations behind.

"The Administration will continue to fully co-operate with the PAC in its deliberations on the Director of Audit's Value for Money audit reports," he said.

The spokesman added that the Administration did not agree to disclose records of ExCo and CSC or its Policy Groups since this would inhibit frank and free exchanges and undermine the principle of collective responsibility.

End/Wednesday, February 6, 2002


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