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Abstract

All new civil servants receive from the personnel unit of their department a number of circulars dealing with various aspects of their conditions of employment. One of these circulars. the receipt of which they are obliged to acknowledge, deals with official secrecy. The Circular draws attention to the obllgations of civil servants in relation to secrecy in the transaction of official business, which obligations are provided for in Section 4 of the Official Secrets Act 1963. That section, as readers are no doubt aware, provides that they shall not communicate any official information to any other person unless they are duly authorized to do so or do so in the course of. and accordance with, their duties as the holder of a public office; or when it is their duty in the interest of the state to communicate it. Reasonable care must be taken to avoid any unlawful communication of such information. Any doubt which may arise as to whether a person is authorized to communicate information in the course of and in accordance with their duties should be referred through the appropriate official channels (through their superiors} to the head of their department for determination.

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