Committee of Public Accounts: Press Notice

A STATEMENT FROM EDWARD LEIGH MP

CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

National Audit Office report: Identity and Passport Service: Introduction of ePassports

It makes a pleasant change to be able to welcome a project from the Home Office which has been delivered on time and budget, as is the case with ePassports. It was a complex project and the department deserves credit for what has been achieved on it so far.

However, the devil may yet be in the detail. It is most worrying that the warranty deal the Identity and Passport Service struck to cover the passport chips lasts for only two years, even though UK passports have a lifespan of ten years. And many UK ports of entry are not yet fully equipped to deal with the new technology, raising the spectre of even more delays for travellers.

It is disturbing, if not surprising, that the two arms of the Home Office concerned with delivering and implementing this change failed to talk to each other in the planning stage.

Most of us depend on our passports for business, visiting family or taking holidays, and we will all be hoping ePassports don’t fail, leaving us stranded at the check in gate. 

Notes for Editors

Requests for further comment from Edward Leigh should be made via Luke Robinson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 5693 or 07917 488549.