Achieving excellence in frontline citizen services
Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) is one of the largest public service providers in the UK, employing around 3,000 people across seven passport office locations in Glasgow, Durham, Belfast, Liverpool, Peterborough, Newport and London.
Every year HMPO processes over six million passport applications for UK citizens. At the front line of public services, it ensures accurate and timely processing for each of its millions of customers annually, helping them to travel without delay.
Sopra Steria and HMPO have enjoyed a successful partnership spanning over a decade. At the core of this are the people involved in making sure the passport service runs effectively, delivering a high standard of service and achieving citizen satisfaction.
Sopra Steria provides frontline and support services across all seven passport locations. The team is responsible for receiving and processing applications from the public, involving digital scanning, verification and accuracy checks. Once successfully
completed, applications are then passed to HMPO to complete the examination process.
Throughout the 10-year partnership HMPO has not only maintained its high standards of service to the public, but improved its service, benefiting from Sopra Steria’s quality measures, and accuracy in data verification and validation processes.
Upholding a seamless service to citizens amidst unprecedented increase in demand
In March 2019, the service experienced unprecedented demand, following much media speculation around Brexit plans at the time. The service saw a 100% increase in applications - over a four-day period, the demand for passports increased from 30,000 applications
to 60,000 per day.
Every record was broken, applications were cleared and turned around according to normal measures by Sopra Steria across all locations, meaning that the level of service was not compromised despite the 100% increase in demand.
All applications in this period were handled, processed and passed on to HMPO in less than one working week. The high standard of service was not just maintained, but surpassed. Facing unprecedented strenuous demand, HMPO were able to run their service
as normal, and ultimately citizens were not impacted in any way.
In a similar case from August 2019 for a period of three months, the demand for British National Overseas passports doubled compared to the previous three months. This increase was driven by applications from Hong Kong at a time of instability in the
region. Once again, the Sopra Steria team rose to the challenge to process applications efficiently and accurately, enabling HMPO to examine the applications and issue the passports in line with published turnaround targets accurately, enabling HMPO
to examine the applications and issue the passports in line with published turnaround targets.
"It’s testament to the partnership between HMPO and Sopra Steria that the close working relationship between the operational teams has been strong during the unprecedented demand we experienced in 2019. 2020 will be a year of transition; however I’m confident that the challenges will be met in the same collaborative way."
Paul Massey, Deputy Director, Supplier Management, Her Majesty’s Passport Office
Improved service quality – the citizen impact
UK citizens have received a consistent, quality passport service as a result of the ten-year partnership:
The service enables UK citizens each year to travel around the world. In a context of ever-changing external influences, citizens continue to receive an exemplary level of service.
The time from application to receipt of passport has been markedly improved by the partnership. Achieving an accuracy rate of 99.5% month on month for 10 years has resulted in significant time savings. Citizens receive their new passports as quickly as
possible, in quieter periods this can mean that for over 80% of cases this is often just a few days after applying.
"The engagement with Her Majesty’s Passport Office is a true partnership model where we share plans and challenges so that together we are able to deliver this critical service to government and citizens."
Carol Botham, Contract
Director, Government Sector, Sopra Steria