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Parliamentary Quest Ions

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many named day written questions were tabled to the Department between 15 October 2002 and 24 February 2003; how many that received a holding answer were given a substantive answer (a) within three days, (b) within seven days, (c) within 14 days, (d) within 28 days and (e) over 28 days later; and what procedures the Department has in place to monitor performance on answering (i) parliamentary questions and (ii) ministerial letters. [99425]

331 questions for answer on a named day were received from 15 October and 24 February. 199 were given holding replies, of which 54 were given substantive replies within three days, 42 within seven days, 69 within 14 days, 19 within 28 days and eight over 28 days. Many of these named day questions sought information of a detailed nature which required further analysis and work by officials in order to provide an answer.

With regard to monitoring performance of parliamentary questions, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) on 13 February 2003, Official Report, column 966W.

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to ministerial correspondence. The report for 2001 was published on 24 May 2002, Official Report, column 674W. The report for 2002 will be published in due course.