Politics

Passport Office staff informed to encourage folks to pay £100 to quick monitor renewals, leaked memo reveals


With as many as 500,000 passports ready to be issued, staff have confronted an rising variety of offended prospects turning up in particular person at their premises in current weeks demanding to know what has occurred to their utility.

Insiders have claimed the Passport Office stays in disaster, with workers battling piles of labor on their desks and paperwork locked in assembly rooms to cover the dimensions of the issue.

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And a leaked memo offers workers recommendation on learn how to take care of an increase in ‘casual callers’ who flip up in particular person, together with encouraging them to pay for an improve in the event that they’ve waited greater than six weeks for his or her renewal and have an pressing must journey within the subsequent fortnight.

A passenger scans their passport at Edinburgh Airport. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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Passport Office workers have been informed to solely provide an improve to the premium or fast-track service freed from cost if prospects have been ready greater than ten weeks for his or her new passport.

The memo, issued on May 27, says prospects should pay an extra price until the appliance was submitted earlier than April 11 as a result of “up until this date gov.uk advised average current turn-around for an application was 5 weeks”.

An improve price of £101.50 is required for an grownup for the premium service, which ensures you’ll get your passport at your appointment.

The quick monitor service, which ensures your passport can be delivered to your house inside every week, prices £66 for adults and £73 for youngsters.

It additionally offers examples of questions prospects may ask and learn how to reply similar to: “Once my upgrade request has been submitted, when will I expect to be contacted by HMPO?”

The suggested response is: “The Upgrade Teams are working in date of travel order.

“Due to the high volume of requests, we cannot confirm when you will be contacted.

“Please do not send progress chasing emails as this slows down the process. If you have not been contacted within 48 hours of the date you require your passport, please return to the office with your proof of travel.”

After the disaster escalated in current weeks, some pissed off prospects arrange a Facebook group known as ‘Passport Appointment Help’. It now has 22,000 members venting their frustration on the delays.

A HM Passport Office employee, talking on situation of anonymity, described the scenario as “chaotic”.

“I think it’s worse than people realise,” they mentioned.

“It’s chaotic. The leadership aren’t communicating, one day we’re told to prioritise one sort of application, the next day it’s something else.

“It doesn’t feel like anybody knows what they’re doing.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson informed MPs final month “everyone” is getting a passport inside six weeks, however Labour says there’s a backlog of as many as 500,000 passports ready to be issued and that tens of hundreds of individuals have waited greater than ten weeks.

The Passport Office employee mentioned “no-one really knows” how dangerous the scenario is as a result of weekly figures are now not being shared internally.

They additionally described how bins of paperwork are being stored in locked assembly rooms.

It is believed round 500 company workers have been recruited just lately, of round 1,700 promised by the Government, in a bid to deal with the passport backlog, however everlasting workers have informed Ms Foy they’re solely educated to work on considered one of two utility techniques that must be used.

A HM Passport Office spokesperson mentioned: “We are grateful to HMPO staff who are working tirelessly to process around 250,000 applications a week, with 98.5 per cent of applications completed within ten weeks.

“We take the wellbeing of our staff seriously, which is why any staff member who has concerns about their workload or work conditions is encouraged to raise this with their manager as soon as possible.”



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