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Identity and Passport Service

Volume 480: debated on Friday 17 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many blank passports were (a) lost and (b) stolen from the Identity and Passport Service in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. (225382)

No blank United Kingdom passports have been lost or stolen from the Identity and Passport Service in the last five years.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passports were lost by the Identity and Passport Service while being couriered to the passport holder in each of the last five years. (225383)

The figures in the table set out the number of passport or supporting document deliveries that have been recorded as lost. It is not possible to differentiate between losses of passports and losses of supporting documents. Supporting documents are returned by 2nd class post when the customer pays for secure delivery.

Number

2003

Passports only

3,593

2004

February 2004 to January 2005

601

2005

February 2005 to January 2006

1,018

2006

February 2006 to January 2007

727

2007

February 2007 to January 2008

716

The figures from 2004 are collated in line with the contractual arrangements with Secure Mail Services, the Secure Delivery provider, which commenced in February 2004. These arrangements replaced the use of First Class Mail. In the last year of the Royal Mail arrangements losses accounted for around 0.06 per cent of passports posted. Since the introduction of Secure Delivery, the rate is around 0.011 per cent. a reduction of over 80 per cent.

Over six million items a year are delivered to IPS customers through the Secure Delivery service. IPS and SMS continue to work closely to improve upon losses while maintaining minimum inconvenience to customers. All passport losses are added to the database of lost or stolen passports.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines have been issued to the Identity and Passport Service on the secure delivery of documentation to passport holders. (225384)

Passports are delivered by Secure Mail Services (SMS) courier. The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has provided SMS with instructions as to whether a signature is required or not, dependent upon known losses for the postcode, and the premises being delivered to. This flexible approach means that the integrity of the delivery process, and the passport, is maintained while minimising the need for customers to be at home to receive their passport. Around 3 per cent. of courier deliveries require a signature on delivery.

Disguised mail is used to deliver passports to customers living in remote areas where there is perceived to be very little risk to mail. Recorded Delivery is used and around 0.4 per cent. of passports are delivered in this way.

Supporting documentation is returned by Second Class post unless customers elect to pay the £3 fee for Secure Delivery of their documents. Documents returned by Secure Delivery are treated identically to passport deliveries.

All items carried by SMS are fully auditable throughout their journey from despatch to delivery, enabling full investigation of claims of non-receipt.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was paid in compensation to passport holders whose passports were lost by the Identity and Passport Service in each of the last five years. (225385)

We do not hold these data in the required format and they could be provided only at disproportionate cost.