UK's Education Department are bottom of the class in replying to MPs

Business of the House
22nd July 2021

Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West

On summer reading, may I recommend that Ministers read Members’ correspondence and respond to it? The latest figures show that across Government just 70% of responses are achieved within target. Ironically, the Cabinet Office, which compiles the figures, achieved only 58%, but the prize goes to the Department for Education, which managed to answer a pathetic 17% of Members’ correspondence on time. What can the Leader of the House do to help Members debate how they get timely answers to their correspondence? When will the Education Secretary be carpeted in the headteacher’s office for being the biggest dunce in the Government?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
The hon. Gentleman has come up with the best summer reading list of all of us and makes his point well. I am concerned about this issue and have taken it up in Government with the previous Cabinet Secretary and with Ministers. It is a matter of the greatest seriousness that letters should be answered, and answered promptly. I will help any individual Member in getting answers to letters that are overdue. I have had some success with that. I fear that if I were completely overwhelmed by Members asking me to get a response from another Department, that system may not work so well, but, as long as it is a manageable number, I will do my best. I absolutely will take up his point with the Department for Education, because 17% is not where the figure ought to be.