§ Mr. Meacher
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of correspondence received by(a) his Department and (b) each of his Department's agencies receives (i) an acknowledgement within five days and (ii) a substantive reply within 15 days.
§ Miss Widdecombe
For correspondence received from members of the public, the information is not available in the form requested. Such correspondence is dealt with by officials who are required to clear all letters within 10 working days. However, no central records are kept of the proportion that are cleared within this target.
For correspondence received from Members of Parliament from 1 January 1993 to date, 85 per cent. received a substantive reply within 15 working days. The Department does not routinely send acknowledgements. However, where it is not possible to reply within 15 days, an interim letter is sent explaining the reason for the delay.
The chief executive of the Employment Service provided hon. Members with substantive replies to 97 per cent. of letters received in the same period. The Employment Service acknowledges all letters received from hon. Members within five working days.