Home Office to take over passport control
29 September 2014
Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that Her Majesty's Passport Office (HMPO) will be brought under the control of the Home Office and made accountable to ministers.
This year saw a significant backlog in passport applications, peaking at 537,663 in June. Some have argued that this was due to the closure of 22 passport centres. Following the implementation of several emergency measures, the backlog has since been reduced to around 80,000.
Due to these issues, Theresa May commissioned two reviews to check the efficiency and accountability of HMPO. As a result, HMPO will be brought back into the Home Office, as happened with the UK Border Agency in March last year. This will also make the organisation directly accountable to ministers.
Theresa May commented: "As the events of the summer showed, it is essential that HMPO is run as efficiently as possible and is as accountable as possible.c
This change will come into effect on 1 October. Additionally, in view of the contingency measures that were announced on 12 June, the following changes are being made:The measure permitting British nationals who are overseas to apply for a 12-month passport extension will continue, but it will remain under review.
Similarly, the measure giving domestic applicants who have an urgent need to travel within the next seven days a free upgrade to the fast-track process if their applications have been delayed through no fault of their own will continue to be offered. It will also remain under review.