§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for passports at the Glasgow passport office are currently outstanding; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Renton
There are about 80,000 applications for passport services at the various states of processing within the Glasgow passport office. Applications are being processed at a rate of around 8,500 a week, according to 365W the applicant's travel requirements, with priority being given to urgent cases. My right hon. Friend announced on 6 June in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, South-East (Mr. Young) at columns 47–48, a number of measures which are being taken to ease the present problem of delays at the passport offices.
§ Mr. Gareth Wardell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in theOfficial Report, for each passport office (a) the number of telephonists manning the switchboard, (b) the number of telephone calls handled per day and (c) the average waiting time for callers before the call is answered.
§ Mr. Renton
Details of the number of staff engaged on telephone answering duties at the six United Kingdom passport offices during May this year, together with the average number of calls dealt with daily, are shown in the table below.
Daily average number of Passport office Staff on telephone answering duties Calls dealt with personally Calls dealt with by recorded message London 5 465 2,913 Glasgow 5.5 567 1,895 Peterborough 8 817 2,068 Newport 6 311 3,148 Liverpool 110 449 4,172 Belfast 1 166 355 1 Since the start of industrial action at Liverpool on 30 May it has not been possible to staff all the telephone inquiry points.
Waiting times for responses to telephone calls are not recorded at all passport offices. The available information shows that at Peterborough and Belfast all connected calls were answered in under five minutes, while at London, on average, all but 10 connected calls a day were so answered.
Improved telephone facilities to enable more calls to be handled are due to be installed at Newport later this month and at Liverpool during next month.