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Departments: Gateway Reference Number

Volume 461: debated on Friday 15 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many documents coded with a gateway reference number were issued by her Department in each year since 2000. (139240)

The information is shown in the following table.

External gateway reference numbers issued for the Department for calendar years 2000-06

The Department external gateway reference numbers issued

2000 and 20011

20022

445

20032

887

20043

820

20053

1,045

20063

1,148

1 For years 2000 and 2001: no figures available as the Department’s external gateway was introduced in December 2001.

2 For years 2002 and 2003: the figures include all documents received by the Department’s external gateway; and the way the data is captured does not allow reference numbers issued to arms length bodies, other Government Departments and external organisations to be excluded.

3 The Department’s external gateway database was introduced in August 2003 and the quality of data is much more robust for years 2004-06 and not comparable to pre-August 2003.

The table highlights the number of documents/communications approved for publication/issue to the national health service/social care and that received a departmental external gateway reference number. However, these figures do not represent actual documents/communications issued, as the publication of some could have been re-considered following approval.

In addition, the majority of approved documents/communications are not directly issued to the NHS/social care as individual communications. Instead, brief summaries of the document are communicated via weekly, monthly or quarterly bulletins, with web addresses where more detailed information can be found. In some instances, documents may be approved simply for publication on the Department website only.

No one in the NHS will receive all of these documents/communications. The vast majority are targeted to specific organisations. For example, some will go to ambulance trusts, some to primary care trusts, some to strategic health authorities and so on. The communications are then further targeted so that only the appropriate audience within those organisations receive the documents, for example, cancer leads, public health leads, mental health leads, chief executives, finance directors etc.