§ Mr. Beith
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what computer systems, printers, laminators and other production equipment which were planned to have been replaced by the introduction of new systems by private contractors are still being used at(a) Liverpool and (b) Newport offices of the Passport Agency; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
The United Kingdom Passport Agency planned to retain its existing main computer and some peripheral equipment in all its Regional passport offices until the new issuing system had been implemented in all six offices. This was to facilitate communication and data collection, service telephone inquiry bureau and provide a contingency.
In the Liverpool office, older equipment continues to be used to service urgent applications for customers calling at the office, in the telephone inquiry bureau and in administrative sections. In Newport, the older system is used in the telephone inquiry bureau and in administrative sections.
The delay in implementing new systems at other passport offices will mean longer use of old equipment and the Agency is negotiating with support companies to ensure maintenance and development work is carried out.