To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.
25 October 2021
The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.
The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.
The Northern Ireland Office receives a significant amount of correspondence across the Department’s wide and varied portfolio. The Department has a robust process in place to manage and respond to queries in line with our obligations.