Politics

Passport Office boss ‘working from home’ as backlog of 700,000 threatens holiday chaos

Ms Tierney was appointed director common of each the Passport Office and UK Visas and Immigration in March 2020, when the pandemic started. She beforehand labored for Serco, the personal contractor for a lot of public providers, and has a PhD from the University of Oxford.

Since her appointment to the £160,000-a-year submit main the Passport Office, she has claimed nearly £4,500 in bills for 20 journeys to London between March 2020 and July 2021, a 16-month interval throughout which the Government suggested staff to work from residence until completely vital.

A Home Office spokesman stated: “We have Passport Offices in a spread of areas throughout the UK, with 90 per cent of our employees based mostly exterior London. It is subsequently ludicrous to counsel that any senior chief not dwelling there would impression on their capability to do their job to the best requirements.

“As part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda, we are proud that we are spreading opportunities and leadership roles more evenly around the country and we will continue to do this. It is only right that we attract the best talent from across the UK.”

A Home Office official accused The Telegraph of asking a “highly inappropriate question” over whether or not Ms Tierney was working predominantly from residence. The official stated that the Home Office wouldn’t remark “on the personal circumstances of whether or not they [civil servants] are commuting into the office”.

A second official stated Ms Tierney did spend time in Leicestershire at her residence as half of versatile working and that her job didn’t require her to be within the London office.

Officials assured of hitting 10-week goal

Staff processing safe passport functions did must work on the Passport Office’s numerous areas across the nation. Ms Tierney’s position as director common didn’t require her to be within the office always, though the supply insisted that she labored from different sizable workplaces, together with in Peterborough, a a lot shorter distance from her residence.

Mr Foster advised MPs he was “confident” that the 10-week goal for passports wouldn’t be prolonged additional, as the Government got here beneath fireplace over its dealing with of functions.

He stated that 90 per cent of functions had been issued inside six weeks between January and March, regardless of the surge in demand – and the “vast majority” inside 10 weeks. A file a million had been accomplished in March.

“The core message we would want to get out to the public is to make your application now if you are planning to travel in the summer, and we will get through it in the time we say we will, which is the 10-week period,” he stated.

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