§ Matthew Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what response he has made to the comments made by the Parliamentary Ombudsman regarding delays by his Department in responding to complaints under the code of practice on access to Government information made in her review of departmental performance against requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding published on 30 June; what action he is taking to end the delays; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
The Government takes any delays in responding to complaints under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information seriously.
The Government regrets that delays do unavoidably occur in a small minority of complex cases. However, the Ombudsman's review of the first nine months of the Memorandum of Understanding (September 2003—May 2004) shows that in most cases the requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding were met.
In all cases, Departments endeavour to ensure that the time limit of three weeks for departments to respond to a "statement of complaint" from the Ombudsman is met. In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding, the Department aims to enter into dialogue with the investigating officer should there be any difficulty in replying by the date set by the Ombudsman.