§ Matthew Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what work is undertaken by the Direct Communications Unit at his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Fiona Mactaggart
The Direct Communications Unit consists of two sections—a Customer Communications Service and a Resource and Planning Section.
The Customer Communications Service consists of 72 staff and is responsible for a wide range of work in the area of customer communications. They provide:A Front of House (reception) service at the Home Office's HQ building;A public inquiry telephone serviceManagement and co-ordination of the production of replies to ministerial correspondence across the Home Office group, excluding agencies585WManagement and co-ordination of the production of replies to public correspondence, including emails, across the Home Office group, excluding agencies, HMPS and the Immigration and Nationality DepartmentManagement of responses to requests for publicationsSupport for the Home Office's internal Directory of BusinessInternal communications relating to correspondence performance and managementUser support for, and management of the ongoing development of, the Correspondence Tracking System introduced last yearSupport, management and development of the Correspondence Tracking System's Management Information System, and production of performance and management data.
The Resource and Planning Section consists of 16 staff, and provides a full range of business support services for the Communication Directorate, of which Direct Communications Unit is one part. The services provided include finance and budget management, procurement, business planning, risk management, accommodation support, business continuity planning, and human resources management.
§ Matthew Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what work is undertaken by the Public Contact Section of the Direct Communications Unit in his Department, broken down by policy areas covered; and how many(a) letters and (b) phone calls it has received each year since its creation, broken down by policy area. 
§ Fiona Mactaggart
The Direct Communications Unit (DCU) was created on 1 September 2001.
The Public Contact Teams undertake the following work for all areas of the Home Office Group excluding Agencies:Answering telephone calls from the public (other than on matters relating to HM Prison Service and Immigration and Nationality Department)Front of House (Reception) Service at the Home Office headquarters building
The Correspondence Teams undertake the following work for all areas of the Home Office Group excluding Agencies:Co-ordinating the provision of replies to correspondence from Members (and members of the House of Lords) addressed to MinistersMP's hotline (for inquiries about correspondence from Members to Ministers)Co-ordinating the provision of replies to correspondence from members of the public (not Her Majesty's Prison Service (HMPS) or the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND)
(a) The volume of letters received is given in the tables.
Volume of Ministerial letter1 handled by DCU Number 1 September to 31 December 2001 5,619 1 January to 31 December 2002 27,320 1 January to 31 December 2003 21,735 1 January to 30 April 2004 9,508 1Excludes agencies other than HMPS
Volume of Ministerial letter1 handled by DCU Number 1 September to 31 December 2001 12,695 1 January to 31 December 2002 43,886 1 January to 31 December 2003 22,074 1 January to 30 April 2004 5,846 1Excludes correspondence on IND and HM PS matters and since 1 July 2003 campaign correspondence i.e. that where 50 or more identical items are received.
The computerised Correspondence Tracking System was introduced for Ministerial Correspondence on 1 April 2003. A break down by policy area is available only from that date and is shown in the table.
Ministerial correspondence handled by DCU, broken down by policy area Policy area 1 April to 31 December 2003 1 January to 31 May 2004 IND 9007 5301 HMPS 661 426 Correctional Services 362 327 Human Resources 0 4 Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group 2,423 1,422 Community Policy 937 553 Criminal Justice Group 810 447 Reply drafted by DCU—no policy unit identified 1,465 1,028
Letters from members of the public (other than campaigns, HMPS and IND) were included on the Correspondence Tracking System from 1 July 2003. A breakdown by policy' area is available only from that date and is shown in the following table.
Correspondence from members of the public handled by DCU, broken down by policy area Policy area 1 July to 31 December 2003 1 January to 30 April 2004 Correctional Services 317 738 Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group 2,820 2,570 Community Policy 1,024 618 Criminal Justice Group 319 264 Reply drafted by DCU—no policy unit identified 3,207 1,656
The figures in the table do not include approximately 70,000 emails p.a. which are also handled by DCU. The handling of emails has only recently been transferred onto the Correspondence Tracking System, and data on distribution across policy areas are not yet available.
(b) The volume of telephone calls received from the public is given in he table. No breakdown by policy area is available.
Number 1 September to 31 October 20011 9,914 1 January to 31 December 2002 70,320 1 January to 31 December 2003 70,352 1 January to 30 June 2004 33,416 1Data for November and December 2001 is not held