THE Provisional Arts Development Council will be among the few government advisory bodies to allow the public access to its minutes and to allow public input to the choice of appointees. The opening up of the body was applauded by liberal legislators, who said it was a good sign for the development of the Government's policy-formulation mechanism. The council will replace the former Council for the Performing Arts and advise the Government on major arts policies. It will also propose plans for the management of $100 million ''seed money'' and approve funding proposals from various arts organisations. The council will become statutory next year. Vice-chairman of the working group for the setting up of the council, Christine Loh Kung-wai, said the group had decided to give the public access to its minutes. An unprecedented nomination process aimed at incorporating the views of members of the arts sector was held last week, she said. She described the moves as ''innovative'' and said they could help fulfil the principle of open government. ''We want the provisional body to be more transparent and representative, and we've done it,'' she said. Ms Loh, who once considered moving a private member's bill stipulating that all committees should be open and accountable to the public, said the council would not, however, hold open meetings. ''Let's do it step by step,'' she said. A 16-member list generated from an election among the arts community was submitted to the Governor last week. ''The nomination process serves as middle ground between the election and appointment system, and I think this method could be further developed in other situations,'' she said. Ms Loh, who topped the list in the poll of 140 voters, said the result had been included in the report of the working party and it was now up to the Governor. The chairman of the Social Welfare Advisory Committee, Eric Li Ka-cheung, said the council's example should not apply to other government advisory bodies because the council dealt with less controversial policy involving lower government expenditure. Mr Li, also an independent legislator, said even disclosing the minutes would deter members, who were mainly professionals, from voicing their views freely. ''It would change the nature of the advisory committee, which was supposedly a forum for the professionals to give their advice to the Government,'' he said.