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Departmental Standards

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps 10 Downing Street is taking in respect of Cabinet Office Departmental Strategic Objective 4 to achieve a 50 per cent. reduction in avoidable contact with members of the public by 31 March 2011. (270135)

All Government Departments seek to ensure that their dealings with the public are as helpful and productive as possible. Any contact members of the public may wish to have with 10 Downing street is not affected in any way by the requirements of departmental strategic objective 4.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 17 March 2009, Official Report, column 1059W, on departmental standards, what method her Department uses to assess whether its targets in respect of avoidable contact have been met. (271938)

All Government Departments seek to ensure that their dealings with the public are as helpful and productive as possible. Central Government Departments are required to declare the levels of avoidable telephone contact in their Departments as assessed at April 2008 and to halve these values by March 2011. The Cabinet Office has focussed its attentions on the Department for Transport (DFT), Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and NHS Direct. These Departments account for around 90 per cent. of telephone contact with central Government. Cabinet Office is working with the remaining Departments, who will provide their baseline levels of avoidable contact later in the year.

Upon publication of their avoidable contact levels, all Departments will be required to provide quarterly updates outlining the progress they are making to achieving the March 2011 reduction target.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 17 March 2009, Official Report, column 1059W, on departmental standards, what performance measures in respect of avoidable contact apply to 10 Downing Street. (271945)

The 2007 Service Transformation Agreement (STA) requires public-facing service delivery departments to report their levels of avoidable contact. As the Prime Minister’s Office is not a service delivery department, it does not need to follow the STA requirement on reporting avoidable contact. However, all Government Departments, and of course the Prime Minister’s Office, work to ensure that their dealings with the public are as helpful and productive as possible.