PUBLIC ACCESS TO SHG INFORMATION – CODE OF PRACTICE CONTINUING TO WORK WELL

St Helena Government's Code of Practice for Public Access to SHG Information, launched in September 2014, continues to work well. The system offers a central point of enquiry for the public to request information from SHG that is not already available by other means.

From 31 May 2017, a total of 10 requests for information has been made under the Code. Requests received included for exam results, 6th form student application Prince Andrew School, Register of Electors, St Helena Status, Staff Turnover, FCO reports and coins.

Information has been provided for eight of these requests and one request is currently being dealt with. Only one request was refused under the Exceptions provided in the Code in that it would take a disproportionate amount of staff time to answer i.e. more than one day's time for one Officer.

Reasons for refusing requests include when the information requested:

Was already available in the public domain

Was not actually held by SHG

Could or could be likely to prejudice someone's legitimate commercial interests or where disclosure could lead to improper gain or advantage or would prejudice the competitive position of a public or private body

Could be likely to allow individuals to be identified, where there is a legitimate and reasonable expectation that their identity should remain confidential

Would take a disproportionate amount of staff time to answer

Would, or would be likely to prejudice the administration of justice

Information & Research Support Officer, Linda Benjamin, who manages the system said:

The system continues to work well with requests received from both on-Island and overseas enquirers. The public appears to appreciate the service available to them in the event they require information from SHG that is not already available.

The Code draws on access to information policies and legislation in the UK (e.g. FOI) and other island states. It applies to all information held with proprietary rights by SHG, regardless of who produced or supplied the information and subject to the Exceptions listed in the Code. The Code requires all SHG employees dealing with requests to ensure that any request received from the public for information and made under the Code of Practice for Public Access to SHG Information, is dealt with in compliance with the Code.

Source: St Helena Government

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