§ Ms. Janet Anderson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidelines are issued to his Department for the processing of correspondence from hon. Members; and what is the average delay between receipt of correspondence from, and the date of response to, an hon. Member.
§ Mr. Howard
Guidelines to officials in my Department stress that all ministerial correspondence should be dealt with as soon as possible, and every attempt is made to achieve my Department' objective of replying to hon. Members' letters within three weeks of receipt.
It is not possible to identify from my Department's records, an arithemetical average length of time taken to reply to hon. Members.' letters. However my Department's objective of a reply within three weeks of receipt, was achieved for 60 per cent. of letters from hon. Members' received in the first six months of this year. Seventy-seven per cent. were replied to within four weeks, and 90 per centre within six weeks.