HC Deb 19 April 2004 vol 420 c325W
Norman Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Parliamentary Questions have been tabled to his Department since 1 January 2003, broken down by(a) Ordinary Written and (b) Named Day; what percentage in respect of (a) were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage in respect of (b) were answered by the specified date. [157741]

Fiona Mactaggart

The Home Office does not maintain records in such a way that provides the information in the format requested without incurring disproportionate cost. The last published performance figures for the Home Office showed that 39 per cent. of all Parliamentary Questions (PQs) were answered within parliamentary deadlines.

Every effort is made to reply to PQs within the parliamentary deadlines wherever possible. Consequently the Home Office is currently in the process of introducing a new PQ system, the electronic Parliamentary Questions system (ePQS) to better monitor and manage the Department's performance.

The ePQS monitoring system has identified the bottlenecks in the PQ process and remedial action is being taken. As is usual with the introduction of any new IT system, performance has shown an initial decline. The benefits of ePQS are now being realised across the Department and performance is improving.