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Departmental Correspondence

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's average response time to a letter received from (a) an hon. Member and (b) a member of the public was in each of the last three years. (251439)

Guidance for Government Departments handling correspondence from hon. Members is laid down by the Cabinet Office, which has set a target of 20 working days to reply to routine correspondence.

Records do not indicate the average time taken to answer hon. Members’ letters. I can confirm that of the 11,970 letters received from hon. Members in 2006, records indicate that 89 per cent. were answered within the 20 working days target; of the 9,790 letters received from hon. Members in 2007, records indicate that 92 per cent. were answered within the 20 working days target; and of the 10,334 letters received from hon. Members in 2008, records indicate that 87 per cent. were answered within the 20 working days target.

Cabinet Office does not issue guidance for Government Departments answering letters from members of the public. Records of letters received from members of the public until late 2007 are not available and we are therefore unable to provide figures for either 2006 or 2007. However, of the 73,048 letters received from members of the public (including e-mails and campaign postcards), our records indicate that 62,671 were answered within 20 working days.