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Parliamentary Questions

Volume 453: debated on Monday 20 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) changes to practice and (b) investigations have been made in the light of delays in answering his Department's Parliamentary Questions; and if he will make a statement. (100899)

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has recognised that the Department's performance in answering parliamentary questions in the first session of Parliament was not acceptable. My right hon. Friend has instructed both the Permanent Secretary and I to investigate the current delivery mechanisms. Specifically, he has identified the Department's obligations to Parliament as one of the key performance measures that should result from his plan to reform the Home Office. This work remains ongoing although I am pleased to reassure you that performance over the last four months did improve considerably. Specific procedures which have been tightened include:

The future provision of monthly reports to the Leader of the House on performance.

The earlier identification at director level of those parliamentary questions which are overdue.

In addition, I hold weekly meetings to address all parliamentary issues including PQ's.