§ Mr. Evans
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average response time was for responding to departmental correspondence; what percentage of letters took longer than one month for a response; and what percentage took longer than three months for a response in each of the last five years. 
§ Maria Eagle
Information on correspondence received from all sources across the whole Department is not maintained in the format requested. General information on the volumes of correspondence received and on overall performance across Whitehall is published by the Cabinet Office. The figures up to 2000 were published on 6 April 2001,Official Report, columns 324—28W, and on 19 July 2001, Official Report, columns 454–56W. The combined 853W DSS/DWP average response time during 2001 for letters from Members to Ministers was 18 days. 34 per cent. took longer than 20 working days for a response. In DWP only for 2001, the average response time to letters from Members to DWP Ministers was 15 days, and 29 per cent. took longer than 20 working days for a response. The Cabinet Office will be publishing further figures on the volumes and performance on correspondence shortly.