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Section 12 of :

HANDLING CORRESPONDENCE FROM MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT,MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS, MEPs AND MEMBERS OF DEVOLVED ASSEMBLIES: GUIDANCE FOR DEPARTMENTS  published by the Cabinet Office says:

12.  Although this guidance is primarily aimed at handling correspondence from MPs and Peers, departments should adhere to the principles set out in this guidance when handling correspondence from members of the public. Departments should publish their own detailed guidance for dealing with treat officially correspondence within their department.

The main points in the guide from a member of the public’s point of view as as follows:

  • Departments should ensure that the handling of all correspondence, including correspondence from members of the public and  Members of Parliament and Peers, is given the highest priority.
  • A  maximum of 20 working days is set for a full substantive reply
  • Where this is not possible departments should issue a ‘holding’ reply apologising, explaining the reasons for the delay  and saying when they can expect to send  a substantive reply
  • E-mails should be replied to by e-mail
 

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