This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 23 May 2011 by Damian Green, and in the House of Lords by Baroness Browning.
I am today placing in the library of the House the government’s response to the collective consultation exercise carried out with staff and trade unions on ceasing the passport application processing capacity at Newport passport office.
I had announced shortly after commencement of the consultation period in Autumn 2010 that the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) would retain a Customer Service Centre at Newport. I can confirm that will remain the position and will provide 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) posts at Newport to deal with the 47,000 customers from south Wales and the South West who make use of the Newport office.
The consultation period was extended by two months at the request of key stakeholders. We have taken that opportunity to listen and to evaluate the responses received from staff, trade unions, members of this House and the Wales select committee, members of the National Assembly for Wales and local leaders in Newport.
We have also taken into account other organisational changes impacting on IPS, particularly the effect of voluntary exit schemes. Some 170 operational have left IPS since autumn 2010 on a voluntary basis. That has provided IPS with the opportunity to consolidate some of its operational functions throughout their regional network.
We are maintaining our intention to cease the processing of postal and online applications at Newport. This remains the most effective approach to achieve the necessary reductions in excess staffing levels and capacity in the application processing network.
However, as a result of the consolidation work undertaken by IPS, a further 100 FTE posts will be located in Newport. The Newport office will maintain the IPS central customer complaints and correspondence function and share telephone customer enquiry handling with the Durham office. The handling of lost and stolen passports will be located at Durham and Peterborough and a specialist counter-fraud team will be based at Newport. The processing of overseas passport applications will be carried out in Liverpool, Durham and Belfast after repatriation in 2013.
The current premises in Newport will be retained until the lease break in 2013. After that date, the size of the premises used for Newport will be reduced by 50 pre cent. IPS will give up excess space at their offices in Glasgow and Durham by the end of the current financial year. The Durham estate will be reduced further by March 2014 to achieve an overall reduction of one third of current capacity. A strategic review of the North West estate will be carried out and the options for Peterborough estate assessed after the main lease break in July 2013.
The programme of work combined with the voluntary exit schemes will reduce capacity by 300 posts. The proposed consolidation of specialist work across the regional offices will lead to a surplus of around 120 FTE posts in Newport compared to the original proposal to make 300 posts surplus. IPS will continue to work with those staff, with trade unions and others to find suitable alternative employment within IPS and elsewhere.
IPS commenced the consultation with the aim of a reduction in estate of around 19 per cent and delivering savings of approximately £24m over the comprehensive spending review period (CSR). The planned programme of work will deliver anticipated savings of £22.6m over the CSR period, subject to carrying out a further voluntary exit scheme later this year and rationalisation of the estate will reduce the overall IPS estate capacity by 15 per cent.
Monday, 23 May 2011
Date: Mon May 23 10:07:38 BST 2011