§ Ms Armstrong
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what are the published response times within which his Department is expected to reply to letters from the public. 
§ Mr. Jonathan Evans
The Lord Chancellor's Department comprises two next steps agencies —the Court Service and the Public Trust Office—the departmental headquarters and associated offices. The two agencies have published target response times to correspondence as part of their charter standards. As this is an operational matter, I have asked the chief executives of the two agencies to reply direct. There is no universal or published recommended response time in the headquarters of the Department or its associated offices, although individual divisions work to local targets. Every effort is made to respond substantively to letters from the public within 20 working days.98W
Letter from M. D. Huebner to Ms Hilary Armstrong, dated 4 December 1995:The Parliamentary Secretary has asked me to reply in respect of the Court Service to your Question about replies to letters from the public.If a member of the public writes to a court they should receive a written reply or telephone call usually within 5 but no later than 10 working days. If they are not satisfied with the reply they have received and write to the Court Service Customer Service Unit, they should receive an acknowledgement within 2 working days and a reply within 20 working days from the date the Unit receives the letter, unless legal advice is required. If we need to take legal advice, the member of the public will be notified within 20 working days and will be sent a final reply within 40 working days.These response times are published in the Charter for Court Users.
Letter from Julia C. Lomas to Ms Hilary Armstrong, dated 4 December 1995:The Parliamentary Secretary has asked me to reply to you as part of the Lord Chancellor's Department's response to your Parliamentary Question, listed on 24 November 1995, regarding the published recommended response times to letters from the public.The Court Funds Office's standard for correspondence is to respond to all letters of enquiry within 5 working days. The Mental Health Sector and Trust Division standard is to respond to all letters within 10 working days or to acknowledge letters within 3 working days and respond fully within 20 working days.