§ Mr. Bayley
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the Inland Revenue's published standards for replying to taxpayers' letters in 1991–92; and to what extend these standards were met in practice.
§ Mr. Dorrell
1991–92 was a transitional year. The previous system for targeting post for tax and collection offices was expressed in terms of post worked and based on post over 14 days old at the year end. This system was internally focused and provided little useful information on the service being provided to the public. A new system based on turnaround times for correspondence, which is also designed to provide customers with better quality replies to their letters, was trialled in 1991–92. It came fully into operation in 1992–93. The target for tax and collection offices is to respond to all letters within 28 days. In at least 90 per cent. of cases, the aim is to deal with the letter within that time scale. In the remaining cases, the response will tell the customer when the letter will be dealt with.