§ 16. Helen Jackson
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what progress has been made in the speeding up of replies to parliamentary questions. 
§ Marjorie Mowlam
I met the Speaker on 18 April to discuss performance in replying to Parliamentary Questions and correspondence from hon. Members. It was a constructive meeting. I set out the action that we had already taken over the last 12 months to improve performance: writing to Departments at Ministerial and Permanent Secretary level; workshops on the effective handling of correspondence; central seminars for staff involved in handling PQs. For the future, we also propose central training for staff in Parliamentary branches and elsewhere who have regular dealings with Parliament to ensure there is a good grasp of essentials. We will shortly be revising and reissuing central guidance to all Departments on the handling of correspondence.