Member's and Peer's Correspondence

Cabinet Office written statement – made at on 2 April 2009.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I am today publishing a report on Departments' and Agencies' performance on handling Members' and Peers' correspondence during 2008. Details are set out in the table below. The 2007 correspondence statistics can be found on 20 March 2008, Hansard, column 71WS. Departmental figures are based on substantive replies unless otherwise indicated.

The footnotes to the table provide general backgroundinformation on how the figures have been compiled.

Correspondence from MPs/Peers to Ministers and Agency Chief Executives in 2008
Correspondence from MPs/Peers to Ministers and Agency Chief Executives(i) 2008
Department or Agency Target set for Reply (Working Days) Number of Letters Received % of Replies Within Target
Attorney-General's Office 20 314 94
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform(ii) 15 9,875 59
Companies House 10 60 100
Insolvency Service 10 430 91
Cabinet Office 15 473 93
Department for Communities and Local Government(iii) 15 10,227 68
Planning Inspectorate 8 186 83
Crown Prosecution Service 15 484 98
Department for Children, Schools and Families 15 15,810 86
Department for Culture, Media and Sport(iv) 20 4,798 58
Royal Parks Agency 20 11 100
Ministry of Defence 15 5,345 81
Met Office 10 14 100
Service Personnel and Veterans Agency 15 919 98
Department for Energy and Climate Change(v) 15 2,215 39
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs(vi) 15 14,526 68
Animal Health 15 60 93
Marine Fisheries Agency 15 23 91
Rural Payments Agency 15 396 73
Foreign and Commonwealth Office 20 10,334 87
Government Equalities Office(vii) 20 818 49
Department of Health 20 20,242 95
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency 20 113 75(*)
20 19 88(**)
NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency 20 36 94
(*)Agency Ministerial cases
(**)Letters sent directly to Agency Chief Executive or where Agency Chief Executives responded on behalf of Ministers
Food Standard Agency 20 590 76
DH Ministers replies 20 258 78(VIII*)
20 217 71(**)
FSA Chair/CE replies 20 70 95(*)
20 12 33(**)
Meat Hygiene Service 20 33 97
(*)Response to non-campaign letters
(**)Response to campaign letters
Home Office 15 6,933 89
Criminal Records Bureau 10 666 96
Identity and Passport Service 10 1,247 84
UK Border Agency 20 51,905 78
Department for Innovation, Universities and Science 15 5,223 74
UK Intellectual Property Office 10 19 100
Department for International Development(ix) 15 3,100 67
Ministry of Justice 20 5,231 82
HM Courts Service 15 38 97
Land Registry 20 88 97
National Offender Management Service(x) 20 537 90
Office of the Public Guardian 15 246 89
Official Solicitor and Public Trustee 15 17 100
Tribunals Service 10 1,390 89
Northern Ireland Office 15 568 82
Compensation Agency 10 66 88
Northern Ireland Prison Service 10 78 83
Office for National Statistics 15 153 88(*)
10 82 78(**)
(*)Letters signed by the National Statistician. Also includes 62 letters signed by HMT Ministers
(**)Letters sent direct by the National Statistician
Office of the Leader of the House of Commons 15 422 95
Office of the Leader of the House of Lords 15 11 90
HM Revenue and Customs 15 4,826 73
15 1,252 76(*)
(*)Local Office and "delegated" figures (where local tax offices have replied directly to MPs)
Scotland Office 15 102 64
Department for Transport 15 8,393 77
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency 7 1,692 99
Driving Standards Agency 10 227 62
Highways Agency 15 365 99
Vehicle and Operator Services Agency 15 56 98
HM Treasury 15 14,057 80
National Savings and Investments 15 17 88
Office of Government Commerce 15 12 83(*)
15 24 92(**)
(*)Letters where Ministers have replied (**)Letters where Chief Executive has replied
Valuation Office 18 41 73
Treasury Solicitor's Department 10 25 88
Wales Office 15 113 80
Department for Work and Pensions 20 15,360 84
Child Support Agency 15 7,313 100
Debt Management Service 15 56 100
Disability and Carers Service 15 598 100
Health and Safety Executive 15 149 98
Jobcentre Plus 15 2,229 83
The Pension Service 15 1,477 98
(i)Departments and Agencies which received 10 MPs/Peers letters or fewer are not shown in this table. Holding or interim replies are not included unless otherwise indicated. The report does not include correspondence considered as Freedom of Information requests.

(ii)Implementation of new correspondence handling system led to delays in first half of the year. Issues have been resolved and led to significant improvement in performance in second half of the year.

(iii)Communities and Local Government's performance improved in 2008 and it continues to take measures to improve further.

(iv)During 2008, DCMS underwent a Department-wide transformation programme, including significant changes to the central correspondence unit. This resulted in a drop in performance and efforts are being made to resolve outstanding issues as quickly as possible.

(v)DEFRA/BERR currently handle DECC correspondence. The setting up of new Department led to delays in responding to correspondence. Measures being put in place to improve correspondence performance as a matter of high priority.

(vi)Creation of DECC led to a significant increase in correspondence which was initially handled by DEFRA. Prior to this 75 per cent. of correspondence was responded to within target.

(vii)GEO, a new Department, began handling its own Ministerial correspondence in May 2008. It is making changes to improve performance of internal handling of correspondence. New internal guidance has been implemented as well as staff training.

(viii)The FSA and DH are working together to minimise delays in the processing of correspondence.

(ix)DfID is introducing changes to their correspondence handling system and will be introducing a new correspondence database in June to improve performance. The correspondence unit has been restructured and reinforced with additional staff and targets have been steadily improving since July 2008.

(x )Includes HM Prison Service