§ Mr. Andrew Turner
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of ordinary written questions for his Department were answered within a week of tabling in each month since June 2001; and what proportion of questions for named day received a substantive answer on that day in each month since June 2001. 
§ Maria Eagle
Since the House returned in October we have received double the number of the previous session and by the end of this session we anticipate having dealt with significantly more questions than in any of the last five years. This does of course have an impact on our ability to deal with questions speedily. We are confident that in deciding to table questions hon. Members take into account the impact of their requests on the ability of colleagues to secure answers to their inquiries. Many hon. Members secure information from other sources such as publications by the Department which are available in the Library.
The information requested is in the tables.
Proportion of ordinary written questions answered within five working days Number of questions received Per cent. answered within five working days 2001 June 73 53.42 July 166 66.48 September 7 71.43 October 256 19.53 November 364 15.93 December 201 38.81 2002 January 258 21.32 February 245 13.06 March 274 20.44 April 147 19.73 May 74 50.00
Proportion of named day questions given a substantive answer on that day Number of questions received Per cent. given a substantive answer on that day 2001 June 27 96.30 July 103 73.79 September 2 100.00 October 100 81.00 November 189 60.32 December 89 62.92 2002 January 154 54.55 February 79 54.43 March 142 35.92 April 78 44.87 May 42 71.43
§ Mr. Webb
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the guidance notes prepared for his officials on answering written parliamentary questions, for what reason officials are advised to consider whether the question is friendly; whether considerations of friendliness affect the content of written replies; and if he will revise this guidance. 
§ Llew Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library the guidance provided to departmental civil servants for the preparation of written answers to parliamentary questions. 
§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance for officials on answering parliamentary questions,(a) before and (b) after recent amendments. 
§ Mr. Andrew Smith
Guidance notes have been produced for many years to assist officials who help prepare answers to parliamentary questions. Until now they have been produced by officials without clearance by Ministers. The reference in the guidance notes to the question being "friendly" is not appropriate and has been deleted. I have also reviewed the guidance and some amendments have been made.
Copies of the guidance, before and after this change was made, have been placed in the Library.