THE Chief Secretary, Anson Chan Fang On-sang, treated the presentation of the Progress Report on the achievement of the Governor's pledges as a photo-opportunity. She smiled for the cameras and held up the document as if she were presenting the Budget. Then she reeled off statistics which claimed to show the Government was on target to meet 94 per cent of 471 commitments which either had not been met by the time of last year's report or had only been made subsequently, in the 1994 policy address. She could and should have spoken at greater length about the report's contents and their significance. What could have been a very useful analysis, offering clear insights into what the Government had achieved, was blatantly nothing more than a public relations exercise - and not a very professional one at that. As with the presentation, so with the Progress Report itself. It is hard to imagine what kind of audience is going to be impressed by such statistics. To be sure, the report suggested the Government was only behind schedule on six per cent of commitments. But it is not as though the report showed 94 per cent of targets had been met or that the quality of life in Hong Kong had palpably improved as a result. Instead, all it proved was that while some targets had been met, the majority had not. They were either not scheduled to have been met by now, or were 'ongoing commitments'. Some departments have clearly been more conscientious than others in attempting to measure what progress has been made on these. Meanwhile, the borderline between an ongoing commitment and a missed deadline is blurred. Container Terminal 9, for instance, which is clearly behind schedule, is reported as an on-going commitment to resolve Chinese doubts over the project. Other missed targets are simply unreported. It may be true that no policy speech included a 'pledge' to produce a Broadcasting Bill. But a chapter on target-achievement in the broadcasting sector which fails to mention the bill is a waste of paper. Even where the Government claims to have met its targets the detail is often either skimped or shows how little has really been achieved. Particularly egregious is the coverage of human rights issues. For instance, the pledge to conduct a publicity campaign to promote public awareness of principles and legislation on personal data protection is regarded as achieved, because the government has 'issued a pamphlet'. A pilot scheme of the Code on Access to Information was 'completed' in September and the introduction of the code is said to be on schedule. But no indication is given of how many requests for information were received, met or refused during the pilot scheme. We learn nothing from the information set out here. As for the pledge to allow the Independent Police Complaints Council direct access to witnesses so it can examine cases more thoroughly, this is considered to have been achieved. So far, we learn, the Council has interviewed 10 witnesses involving three complaint cases. But there is no mention of the fact that complaints against the police average over 4,000 a year. There is, of course, much that is useful about this report. Not all departments skimp on the figures or try to present their failures as achievements. But the purpose of the exercise is supposedly to show that 'accountable government is not just a political slogan'. It does not do a very impressive job of that.