§ 81. Mr. Harry Barnes
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last met representatives of the trade unions; and whether the subject of the issue and renewal of passports was discussed.
§ Mr. Renton
Officials at the Passport Department last met representatives of the Civil and Public Services Association and the National Union of Civil and Public Servants on 16 June in the course of efforts to resolve the current dispute over staffing levels at the passport offices. An offer was made to increase numbers of permanent staff in return for greater flexibility in working practices and co-operation in a number of management initiatives to improve the efficiency of the Passport Department. We expect this will lead to a return to work by striking staff at the Liverpool office tomorrow and a resumption of normal working at the other passport offices. The first priority will then be to clear the current backlog of applications and to provide an improved service to the public.