HM Passport Office Backlogs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:33 am on 12th May 2022.

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Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 9:33 am, 12th May 2022

I am grateful to the shadow Minister for his contribution. I should make it clear that the 10-week timeframe is not guaranteed, but the expedited process is in place for individuals when it goes beyond 10 weeks. That is available and if colleagues raise specific cases with us directly I will happily ensure they are looked at.

On staffing, passport offices are of course based in seven locations across the UK, with 90% of staff based outside London. Her Majesty’s Passport Office staffing numbers have been increased by over 500 since last April and it is recruiting a further 700. As of 1 April, there were over 4,000 staff in passport production roles.

On the point about contracts, for the reasons I have set out, it would not be appropriate for me to get into the specifics of those contracts and their renewal, but I reiterate that it is right that we have candid conversations about performance against contracts. That does happen and it is happening in relation to these matters.

On the issue of Teleperformance, the provider of the passport advice line, we expect over 500 full-time equivalents to be added by mid-June compared with the position in mid-April. There has been a recent and temporary issue with the passport advice line which means some customers may be informed that they have dialled an incorrect number. Teleperformance is working to resolve that problem as soon as possible with the carrier. The line opened at its usual time of 8 this morning. Customers who have a problem with the usual number can call an alternative number, and there is further information on gov.uk and the HMPO’s Twitter account.