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Parliamentary Questions

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what procedures his Department employs to ensure the swift reply to parliamentary questions. [117073]

I attach great importance to ensuring that Parliamentary Questions (PQs) are answered accurately, helpfully, and within recommended deadlines.The Parliamentary Relations and Devolution Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a team of staff dedicated to processing PQs and monitoring both quality and timeliness of replies. From November 2002 to March 2003 the FCO has answered 81 per cent. of Named Day PQs on time, 94 per cent. of ordinary PQs within seven working days and 87 per cent. within five working days. The Department sets annual objectives to improve this record.The Department also runs an active programme of outreach and training events to raise FCO officials' awareness of their obligations towards Parliament and todisseminate best practice in Parliamentary work.