To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure there are no conflicts of interest when the preparation of (1) responses to parliamentary written questions, (2) responses to parliamentary urgent questions, and (3) background briefings, are made by external contractors to departments.
27 April 2021
Departments are responsible for their responses to written parliamentary questions. Written parliamentary questions receive final sign off from Ministers.
The Cabinet Office has produced guidance for civil servants on drafting answers to parliamentary questions. This can be found on the gov.uk website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/drafting-answers-to-parliamentary-questions-guidance.
Civil servants and Ministers conduct these duties in line with their respective codes of conduct.
The Department of Health and Social Care has outlined that the department’s contract included a general clause for Deloitte to provide support to civil servants in responding to written questions, freedom of information requests and media queries. They have not been directly responsible for drafting replies.