Select Committee on Procedure Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 20

Memorandum from the Official Report

COMMENTS ON THE GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSALS FOR PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

PROPOSAL 2—TIMING OF PUBLICATION

  The department welcomes the proposal to bring forward the time from which questions can be answered to 9.30 am every day, which would greatly facilitate prompt printing. However, it would be counterproductive if it resulted in Government Departments drip-feeding the replies in small batches throughout the day as that would disrupt the department's workflow considerably. What would be even more helpful, in view of recent delays in Departments sending copies of answers to the Official Report for inclusion in the daily part, would be a deadline for delivery of, say, 7 pm every day.

PROPOSAL 5—MINISTERS' WRITTEN STATEMENTS

  The Department has agreed with the Leader of the House that it would be possible to publish Ministers' written statements in a dedicated section at the start of written answers. It would be essential for Departments to identify the statements as such.

PROPOSAL 8—"I WILL WRITE" ANSWERS

  The department has agreed with the Leader of the House that it will publish any substantive answers received from Departments during the recess in a special edition of Hansard in about mid-September, with those received during the remainder of the recess being published on the first working day after the recess. Those answers will take the date of the day of publication, not the date of delivery to our office.

PARAGRAPHS 56 TO 60—USE OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY

  The department already receives questions electronically from The Stationery Office every morning. If there was also a system of Departments routinely sending the answers electronically, perhaps via the Government Secure Intranet, it would assist in coping with peaks of work load (as we have experienced over the past few months), would allow for more questions and answers to be published on the day they are answered and contribute to reduced production costs.

Lorraine Sutherland

Deputy Editor (House)

25 April 2002


 
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