Identity and Passport Service

Home Department written question – answered on 17th October 2008.

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Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines have been issued to the Identity and Passport Service on the secure delivery of documentation to passport holders.

Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Identity)

Passports are delivered by Secure Mail Services (SMS) courier. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has provided SMS with instructions as to whether a signature is required or not, dependent upon known losses for the postcode, and the premises being delivered to. This flexible approach means that the integrity of the delivery process, and the passport, is maintained while minimising the need for customers to be at home to receive their passport. Around 3 per cent. of courier deliveries require a signature on delivery.

Disguised mail is used to deliver passports to customers living in remote areas where there is perceived to be very little risk to mail. Recorded Delivery is used and around 0.4 per cent. of passports are delivered in this way.

Supporting documentation is returned by Second Class post unless customers elect to pay the £3 fee for Secure Delivery of their documents. Documents returned by Secure Delivery are treated identically to passport deliveries.

All items carried by SMS are fully auditable throughout their journey from despatch to delivery, enabling full investigation of claims of non-receipt.

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