Monitoring of written Parliamentary questions: progress report for Session 2015-16 Contents

Conclusions

Quality of answers

1.The Committee expects to continue its quality monitoring work for the remainder of the Parliament. Members who have genuine concerns about the quality or timeliness of the answers they are receiving to their questions are invited to contact the Committee. The Chairman will consider each complaint received and will take matters up with the relevant Secretary of State if it appears that an improvement might reasonably be made to the answer. (Paragraph 8)

Performance of individual departments

2.We shall be seeking a commitment from the new Ministerial teams in the Home Office, in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and in the new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to a marked increase in performance in the timely answering of questions. (Paragraph 20)

3.The two wholly new departments announced on 18 July—the Department for International Trade and the Department for Exiting the European Union—both cover policy areas which are of considerable interest to Members. It is important that the process of establishing these new departments should prioritise the mechanisms for Ministerial accountability to Parliament. In the remainder of this session we intend to monitor the answering performance of both new departments. (Paragraph 21)

4.The Ministerial changes made in the formation of the new administration which followed the appointment of the Prime Minister on 13 July have been substantial: there has not been a change of personnel in Government of a similar scale since the formation of the Coalition Government in May 2010. While Ministerial teams change, the accountability they owe to the House continues. Departments must therefore ensure that they continue to have robust structures in place to prioritise the timely and accurate provision of information to parliament in response to Parliamentary questions. (Paragraph 22)





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26 July 2016