HC Deb 25 March 2003 vol 402 cc179-80W
Mr. Pickles

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many questions have been tabled for reply by his Department since May 2002; and on how many occasions the reply given was that (a) providing the information involved disproportionate costs and (b) the information was not available centrally. [91631]

Mr. Leslie

Since its formation on 29 May 2002 till the beginning of March 2003, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has answered 1,952 Commons Parliamentary Questions. Information on 49 questions was not held in the form requested. A further 38 questions were given a "disproportionate cost" answer as the information was not held centrally.

Mr. Burstow

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many named day written questions were tabled to the Department between 15 October 2002 and 24 February 2003; how many that received a holding answer were given a substantive answer(a) within three days, (b) within seven days, (c) within 14 days, (d) within 28 days and (e) over 28 days later; and what procedures the Department has in place to monitor performance on answering (i) Parliamentary Questions and (ii) ministerial letters. [99429]

Mr. Leslie

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister uses a database that records and reports performance in answering Parliamentary Questions. This database records how many PQs are answered on time, one day late, between two and five days late, between six and ten days late and eleven or more days late. The details for Named Day PQs for the period 15 October 2002 up to and including 24 February 2003 is detailed in the table. Of the three PQs answered over 11 days after the Named Day, two were given substantive answers within 28 days and one over 28 days later.

Named days
PQs 322
On time 273
Percentage 84.8
1 day late 12
Percentage 3.7
2–5 days 29
Percentage 9.0
6–10 days 5
Percentage 1.6
11+ 3
Percentage 0.9

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on performance of departments in replying to ministerial correspondence. The Report for 2001 was published on Friday 24 May 2002, Official Report, column 674W. The Report for 2002 will be published in due course.