HC Deb 24 June 1997 vol 296 cc429-30W
Dr. Starkey

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the UK Passport Agency performed against its targets in 1996–97; and what performance targets he has set for the Agency in 1997–98. [5553]

Mr. Straw

I am pleased to say that the UK Passport Agency achieved all its targets in 1996–97. The targets for processing properly completed straightforward applications were met with demand for passport services at its highest recorded level. The average turnround time for the whole year was 6.3 working days. The Passport Agency's financial target was to reduce its unit cost by three per cent. in real terms. The latest indications are that the agency has achieved an 8.5 per cent. real terms reduction in its unit cost. Customer satisfaction levels remain very high.

During 1997–98, I expect the Passport Agency to continue to improve its standard of service to the public and manage a predicted reduction in demand as efficiently as possible.

I have set the agency the following key targets:-

  1. 1. to process properly completed straightforward applications within a maximum of 10 working days.
  2. 2. to secure real terms efficiency savings of 11.1 per cent. in the 3 year period 1995–96 to 1997–98.

The Chief Executive will remain directly accountable to me for the performance of the Passport Agency. An advisory board, including two private sector members with experience of delivering services to the public, will continue to provide me with an independent assessment of the agency's performance.

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