Passport officials 'told to relax check to deal with backlog'
A leaked briefing note issued to passport office staff instructed them to ease some checks on overseas applicants for British passports in an attempt to speed up turnaround times, as they try to tackle a backlog of at least 30,000 applications.
Overseas passport applicants will be offered a 12 month extension while travelers with an urgent need to go abroad will have their passport applications fast-tracked free of charge, the Home Secretary Theresa May has said.In a statement to the House of Commons, she announced:
People with an urgent need to travel abroad will have their passport applications fast-tracked free of charge
Overseas applicants would also be offered a 12 month extension
Two reviews - the first to ensure the passport office is working efficiently as possible, while the second will consider whether HMPO's agency status should be removed
Home Secretary Theresa May has responded to an urgent question from Labour in the House of Commons by saying there was no "big bang" solution to tackle delays in issuing passports. She said the government would take a "series of measures to address pinch points".
She said there was "no single solution" to address a backlog in applications.
Overseas applicants would also be offered a 12 month extension, alongside a free upgrade for urgent applicants, the Home Secretary said in a statement.
Operations will also be reviewed at the passport office, she added.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper tabled the urgent question on passports and told the House of Commons the current situation was a "sorry shambles".