§ Mr. Bercow
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what new steps his Department took in 2001–02 to consult the users of its services about their wishes and expectations; and if he will publish the findings. 
§ Angela Eagle
[holding answer 10 April 2002]: The Home Department greatly values input from all our users especially with regard to the services we provide. Feedback is used to inform and influence proposals for change, develop services further, improve initiatives and identify best practice.
Regular checks are made to ensure that services the Home Office provides meet the expectations of their users and we are always looking at ways to improve customer care. The Criminal Records Bureau, for example, used a range of research techniques in 2001–02 such as seminars 219W and customer fora to get a clear picture of customer attitudes and requirements so that they can cater more precisely to those needs.
The United Kingdom Passport Service regularly issues questionnaires to its customers as a means of tracking customer satisfaction and ran both personal caller and customer awareness surveys last year. The Forensic Science Service has introduced a new approach to monitoring customer satisfaction and will continue to publish the outcome of their biennial customer satisfaction survey in their annual report due to be published in July 2002. The Immigration and Statistics Service, in conjunction with the National Asylum Support Service, consulted asylum seekers about their experiences of the voucher scheme. A report of the findings was published in 2001 and the fieldwork findings will be available on the Home Office website from 8 April 2002.
Increasing use is made of Home Office websites to request comments or feedback and 'Contact Us' facilities and feedback forms have been introduced.
Formal consultation exercises are another important way in which the Home Office seeks the views of its customers. Consultation documents are now made available in a variety of formats in order to make it easy for users to respond. Details of all Home Office consultations published in 2001–02 can be found on our website on http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/atoz/consult papers.htm.