To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the time taken to process passport applications and tackle the current backlog.
13 July 2020
HM Passport Office continues to operate at a small percentage of its usual staffing levels so its people can continue to socially distance while on site in line with public health guidance, yet it has been rapidly acquiring additional office space, and since 23 March has so far added 172 COVID-secure desks.
Additionally, HM Passport Office is part way through developing a new system which digitises applications, including the supporting documentation, which will substantially increase the ability of staff to process applications from home. Currently, about 40% of passport applications are being processed through this system and, for those simplest cases where checks upon the application can be fully completed with minimal manual intervention, they are being processed quickly.