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Post Office Services

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for which services (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies hold contracts with the Post Office; and what the (i) start and (ii) termination date is of each contract. (81539)

Two services are made available by Post Office Ltd. on behalf of the Department. The cash payment facility for asylum seekers is provided by National Asylum Support Services (NASS) through the Sodexho Pass contract which subcontracts to the Post Office the distribution of cash to asylum seekers. The contract commenced on 7 January 2000, and has been extended in accordance with the contract, it expires on 31 December 2006. A new cash payment contract however is due to be let in July 2006 with a view to going live no later than 31 December 2006. Post Office Ltd. provides a passport application Check and Send service and holds passport applications packs at post office branches on behalf of the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). This service has operated since 1996. The current agreement for the Check & Send service runs until 30 September 2007. Before the expiry of the current agreement IPS expect to run a procurement exercise for a continuation of this provision.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what services (a) his Department and (b) its associated public bodies (i) make available and (ii) have made available in the last five years through the Post Office network; through how many outlets the service is or was made available; and how many relevant transactions were undertaken in each case in the most recent year for which figures are available. (79198)

Two services are made available by Post Office Ltd. on behalf of the Department. The cash payment facility for asylum seekers is provided by National Asylum Support Services (NASS) through the Sodexho Pass contract which subcontracts to the Post Office, the distribution of cash to asylum seekers, using a total of 530 outlets throughout the UK (although only about 420 outlets are currently used). The contract commenced on 7 January 2000 and has been extended in accordance with the contract. It expires on 31 December 2006. A new cash payment contract however is due to be let in July 2006 with a view to going live no later than 31 December 2006. Post Office Ltd. provides a passport application Check and Send service and hold passport applications packs at 2,513 branches on behalf of the Identity and Passport Service. This service has operated since 1996 and from June 2005 to May 2006 POL processed 2,721,334 passport applications through this service.