§ Ms Blears
Following the events and review of procedures described in the reply that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave my hon. Friend the 501W Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Mr. Miller) on 25 March 2002 Official Report, column 751W, we have made many improvements to our parliamentary unit, including additional staff, better accommodation, setting up a new electronic tracking system, and enhanced monitoring and oversight of work flows and working practices. We envisage that these measures will lead to faster response times in the Department's handling of Members' questions.
Change programmes are being established in all Government Departments, designed to build capacity for high performance. The expectation is that departments will achieve a step change in performance in line with the four principles set out in Reforming Our Public Services: Principles into Practice, published in March 2002.
In terms of correspondence, a customer service project has been set up under the Department's change programme with the following objectives:
To improve significantly the Department's performance in handling telephone, written and e-mail enquiries from members of the public and their representatives; and,To maximise the potential of the Department's website and other forms of communication media as a source of information to the public.This project will give further impetus to improving performance in the timeliness and quality of responses to correspondence.