UK Government promises to improve passport service but warns delays will continue into 2023
The UK Government has promised to improve the passport service but has conceded that applications will continue to take longer into 2023.
Almost one in 20 passport applications has taken more than the promised 10 weeks to receive their documents, resulting in cancelled holidays and trips abroad.
The UK Government were responding to the petition ‘Investigate massive delays and inconsistencies within the Passport Office’ which has been signed by over 10,000 people.
In their response, the UK Government said that they were focusing on improving communications between the passport office and customers.
“With elevated demand for passports expected to continue in 2023, it is anticipated applications will take longer than in pre-pandemic years,” they said. “However, every effort will be made to return processing times to the previous timeframes as soon as possible.”
They added: “In preparation for the continued high demand, further efforts will be made to enhance the service offered. This will include improvements to messaging and customer contact, to help better meet the needs of those with an application in progress.”
‘Lack of communication’
The original petition had called on the UK Government to investigate the passport office and “work towards improving the service overall by shortening wait times, fixing the dire standard of customer service and implement a more detailed tracking system for people’s applications”.
“Current inconsistent wait times and responses (or therefore lack of) from the passport office is currently causing immense amounts of stress for people applying/renewing their or their children’s passports.
“10 weeks processing time, passports and important documents going missing and total lack of communication or explanation of what is happening at each step in the process causes people to call in/complain online and receive useless responses after paying extortionate amounts of money.”
The UK Government responded to say that they had “prepared extensively” for the “unprecedented demand” caused by the return of international travel following the Covid pandemic.
“In preparation for the continued high demand, further efforts will be made to enhance the service offered,” they said. “This will include improvements to messaging and customer contact, to help better meet the needs of those with an application in progress.”
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