Family's holiday cancelled after passport fiasco

Dominic and Emma Sayers with their son Fraser.

Dominic and Emma Sayers with their son Fraser.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Political reporter

A HAMPSHIRE family say they were forced to cancel their 15-month-old son’s first holiday due to the ongoing passport fiasco.

Dominic Sayers applied for his son Fraser’s first passport a month before they were booked to travel to France.

But despite repeated calls and the intervention of the Sayers’ MP, young Fraser’s passport did not arrive in time.

The Sayers’, from Abbotswood, Romsey, are just one of thousands of families affected by the backlog at Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) in recent weeks.

Home Secretary Theresa May has apologised to people who have seen holidays and business trips ruined by the delays, which she said was due to the highest demand for passports for 12 years.

Mr Sayers, a 37-year-old car sales specialist, says he applied for a passport for Fraser using the Post Office’s check and send service in mid-May.

Despite getting confirmation HMPO had received the passport, the family did not hear anything for weeks.

Getting steadily more worried in the build-up to their trip to the Loire on June 14, Mr Sayers made repeated calls to HMPO, only to be told the order was still being “processed”.

Eventually, days before the holiday and after a HMPO member of staff had hung up on him, he turned to the family’s constituency MP, Caroline Nokes.

He said: “I kept getting told there were checks involved, like terrorism checks. But he’s a 15-month-old – he’s not going to pose a threat to the country’s security.

“It just seemed to me that the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing.”

Soon after Ms Nokes’ intervention their passport was ready, but it arrived too late.

Mr Sayers continued: “It’s infuriating and disappointing, although Caroline Nokes did a fantastic job.

“Luckily we have rescheduled but it’s cost us hundreds of pounds as we’ve had to book everything again.”

A spokesman for HMPO said: “It is not unusual during peak periods for HMPO to operate with high numbers of applications in the system at any one time, with this year seeing the highest levels for 12 years.”

Ms Nokes said: “I can see why the family were getting so frustrated as they weren’t able to get through to anyone at the passport office.

“When somebody misses their holiday you do feel for them, they have been able to reschedule so it’s not the end of the world, but you have to feel for people because a family holiday is a big thing in people’s lives.”

Comments (15)

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11:38am Tue 24 Jun 14

espanuel says...

No point in applying for a passport a month before you go anywhere. You should know that the summer month are hectic.
No point in applying for a passport a month before you go anywhere. You should know that the summer month are hectic. espanuel
  • Score: 38

12:35pm Tue 24 Jun 14

tootle says...

Get the passport, book the holiday seems the best policy. That said just what does a young babe get out of a foreign holiday. Plenty of holiday spots in this country .
Get the passport, book the holiday seems the best policy. That said just what does a young babe get out of a foreign holiday. Plenty of holiday spots in this country . tootle
  • Score: 21

12:38pm Tue 24 Jun 14

sass says...

A baby should not need a passport!
A baby should not need a passport! sass
  • Score: -13

12:47pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Beer Monster says...

espanuel wrote:
No point in applying for a passport a month before you go anywhere. You should know that the summer month are hectic.
According to the HMPOs self imposed timescales, "the waiting time for the issue of a standard UK passport is three weeks", which normally should be okay, albeit cutting it fine and not allowing for extenuating circumstances. Unfortunately, thanks to a surge in applications in the UK (cause by cutbacks in HMPO staff across the globe), these aren't normal circumstances.

I applied for a passport renewal at the same time as the Sayers, and only found out yesterday that the photographs I had provided weren't up to scratch (apparently my specs were obscuring my eyes) - up until that point I hadn't been told there was any problem, and the online application progress was (and still is) "being processed" with "no further action required".

Apparently they have sent me letters in the post asking for replacement photographs to be sent, but unfortunately these have yet to be received at my end. After losing a tablet purchased online and even a cheque sent by recorded delivery (it ended up in the 'unknown' silo in Belfast) last year, I have lost faith in Royal Mails ability to do their job properly, as have HMPO - they now outsource the delivery of passports elsewhere.

But that was it - no emails, no calls, no texts and nothing on the online application progress reports. Nobody that I spoke to at HMPO knew anything until yesterday, seven weeks after receipt of the original documentation.

So I totally agree with Mr Sayers when he says “the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing”. Total shambles.
[quote][p][bold]espanuel[/bold] wrote: No point in applying for a passport a month before you go anywhere. You should know that the summer month are hectic.[/p][/quote]According to the HMPOs self imposed timescales, "the waiting time for the issue of a standard UK passport is three weeks", which normally should be okay, albeit cutting it fine and not allowing for extenuating circumstances. Unfortunately, thanks to a surge in applications in the UK (cause by cutbacks in HMPO staff across the globe), these aren't normal circumstances. I applied for a passport renewal at the same time as the Sayers, and only found out yesterday that the photographs I had provided weren't up to scratch (apparently my specs were obscuring my eyes) - up until that point I hadn't been told there was any problem, and the online application progress was (and still is) "being processed" with "no further action required". Apparently they have sent me letters in the post asking for replacement photographs to be sent, but unfortunately these have yet to be received at my end. After losing a tablet purchased online and even a cheque sent by recorded delivery (it ended up in the 'unknown' silo in Belfast) last year, I have lost faith in Royal Mails ability to do their job properly, as have HMPO - they now outsource the delivery of passports elsewhere. But that was it - no emails, no calls, no texts and nothing on the online application progress reports. Nobody that I spoke to at HMPO knew anything until yesterday, seven weeks after receipt of the original documentation. So I totally agree with Mr Sayers when he says “the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing”. Total shambles. Beer Monster
  • Score: -6

12:47pm Tue 24 Jun 14

funchal says...

This passport fiasco is a complete disgrace. Somebody should be sacked for the complete incompetence of the passport office. In business i found that "attention to detail" was the only way to succeed and clearly someone at the top should have realised that there was a severe staff shortage. I did the same as this couple and I had my passport back in 3 days.
This passport fiasco is a complete disgrace. Somebody should be sacked for the complete incompetence of the passport office. In business i found that "attention to detail" was the only way to succeed and clearly someone at the top should have realised that there was a severe staff shortage. I did the same as this couple and I had my passport back in 3 days. funchal
  • Score: -7

12:51pm Tue 24 Jun 14

richieroo says...

tootle wrote:
Get the passport, book the holiday seems the best policy. That said just what does a young babe get out of a foreign holiday. Plenty of holiday spots in this country .
I consider the hoilday cancellation a stupidity tax!. :-)

It's the summer & they wait until the last minute to order a passport at the peak of the passport renewal / application period?. Something that you can do 6 months in advance?. Use your head lol !!.
[quote][p][bold]tootle[/bold] wrote: Get the passport, book the holiday seems the best policy. That said just what does a young babe get out of a foreign holiday. Plenty of holiday spots in this country .[/p][/quote]I consider the hoilday cancellation a stupidity tax!. :-) It's the summer & they wait until the last minute to order a passport at the peak of the passport renewal / application period?. Something that you can do 6 months in advance?. Use your head lol !!. richieroo
  • Score: 12

12:58pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Zexagon says...

Baby's first holiday? Disneyland Paris? Disneyland America? No the place where all kids are desperate to go..... Loire , bet little Fraser is distraught
Baby's first holiday? Disneyland Paris? Disneyland America? No the place where all kids are desperate to go..... Loire , bet little Fraser is distraught Zexagon
  • Score: 4

1:15pm Tue 24 Jun 14

tootle says...

Our 18 month old Granddaughter had a holiday last year. In the UK. Was a heatwave. She wants to go again. What does she remember? - the sheep in the next field and the rabbit hole(fortunately untenanted) in the hedge. Weather is unimportant to a toddler. Why all the hassle and expense of going abroad?
Our 18 month old Granddaughter had a holiday last year. In the UK. Was a heatwave. She wants to go again. What does she remember? - the sheep in the next field and the rabbit hole(fortunately untenanted) in the hedge. Weather is unimportant to a toddler. Why all the hassle and expense of going abroad? tootle
  • Score: 5

1:28pm Tue 24 Jun 14

From the sidelines says...

richieroo wrote:
tootle wrote:
Get the passport, book the holiday seems the best policy. That said just what does a young babe get out of a foreign holiday. Plenty of holiday spots in this country .
I consider the hoilday cancellation a stupidity tax!. :-)

It's the summer & they wait until the last minute to order a passport at the peak of the passport renewal / application period?. Something that you can do 6 months in advance?. Use your head lol !!.
I would agree.

All the clever people who think there should be more staff - are you happy to pay for them to stand idle for the other 10 months of the year?

My Sayers needs to become acquainted with the 6Ps.
[quote][p][bold]richieroo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tootle[/bold] wrote: Get the passport, book the holiday seems the best policy. That said just what does a young babe get out of a foreign holiday. Plenty of holiday spots in this country .[/p][/quote]I consider the hoilday cancellation a stupidity tax!. :-) It's the summer & they wait until the last minute to order a passport at the peak of the passport renewal / application period?. Something that you can do 6 months in advance?. Use your head lol !!.[/p][/quote]I would agree. All the clever people who think there should be more staff - are you happy to pay for them to stand idle for the other 10 months of the year? My Sayers needs to become acquainted with the 6Ps. From the sidelines
  • Score: 7

1:37pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Tenderhearts wife says...

why are people posting comments ridiculing this couple for their choice of holiday destination? ok so Fraser is only 15 months and really doesn't mind where he goes, the fact is the holiday . . . his first abroad as it states has had to be cancelled due to incompetence In the passport office. I don't rate Butlins as a top holiday destination but Im sure a few of you posting on here do, Im not going to judge you on that its your choice, each to their own!
why are people posting comments ridiculing this couple for their choice of holiday destination? ok so Fraser is only 15 months and really doesn't mind where he goes, the fact is the holiday . . . his first abroad as it states has had to be cancelled due to incompetence In the passport office. I don't rate Butlins as a top holiday destination but Im sure a few of you posting on here do, Im not going to judge you on that its your choice, each to their own! Tenderhearts wife
  • Score: -3

3:21pm Tue 24 Jun 14

IronLady2010 says...

Come on Echo, dig deeper. When did they book the holiday in comparison to sending for the passport?

I'm sure there is a minimum of 28 days suggested on the application.
Come on Echo, dig deeper. When did they book the holiday in comparison to sending for the passport? I'm sure there is a minimum of 28 days suggested on the application. IronLady2010
  • Score: 8

8:02pm Tue 24 Jun 14

elvisimo says...

funchal wrote:
This passport fiasco is a complete disgrace. Somebody should be sacked for the complete incompetence of the passport office. In business i found that "attention to detail" was the only way to succeed and clearly someone at the top should have realised that there was a severe staff shortage. I did the same as this couple and I had my passport back in 3 days.
How about that stupid cow Teresa May?
[quote][p][bold]funchal[/bold] wrote: This passport fiasco is a complete disgrace. Somebody should be sacked for the complete incompetence of the passport office. In business i found that "attention to detail" was the only way to succeed and clearly someone at the top should have realised that there was a severe staff shortage. I did the same as this couple and I had my passport back in 3 days.[/p][/quote]How about that stupid cow Teresa May? elvisimo
  • Score: 0

8:04pm Tue 24 Jun 14

elvisimo says...

Tenderhearts wife wrote:
why are people posting comments ridiculing this couple for their choice of holiday destination? ok so Fraser is only 15 months and really doesn't mind where he goes, the fact is the holiday . . . his first abroad as it states has had to be cancelled due to incompetence In the passport office. I don't rate Butlins as a top holiday destination but Im sure a few of you posting on here do, Im not going to judge you on that its your choice, each to their own!
Agree only chavs would go to some of the suggestions. Disneyland! Classy
[quote][p][bold]Tenderhearts wife[/bold] wrote: why are people posting comments ridiculing this couple for their choice of holiday destination? ok so Fraser is only 15 months and really doesn't mind where he goes, the fact is the holiday . . . his first abroad as it states has had to be cancelled due to incompetence In the passport office. I don't rate Butlins as a top holiday destination but Im sure a few of you posting on here do, Im not going to judge you on that its your choice, each to their own![/p][/quote]Agree only chavs would go to some of the suggestions. Disneyland! Classy elvisimo
  • Score: -2

10:16pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Zexagon says...

elvisimo wrote:
Tenderhearts wife wrote:
why are people posting comments ridiculing this couple for their choice of holiday destination? ok so Fraser is only 15 months and really doesn't mind where he goes, the fact is the holiday . . . his first abroad as it states has had to be cancelled due to incompetence In the passport office. I don't rate Butlins as a top holiday destination but Im sure a few of you posting on here do, Im not going to judge you on that its your choice, each to their own!
Agree only chavs would go to some of the suggestions. Disneyland! Classy
Seeing as you're so knowledgable where is classy to take children for a holiday of a lifetime?
[quote][p][bold]elvisimo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tenderhearts wife[/bold] wrote: why are people posting comments ridiculing this couple for their choice of holiday destination? ok so Fraser is only 15 months and really doesn't mind where he goes, the fact is the holiday . . . his first abroad as it states has had to be cancelled due to incompetence In the passport office. I don't rate Butlins as a top holiday destination but Im sure a few of you posting on here do, Im not going to judge you on that its your choice, each to their own![/p][/quote]Agree only chavs would go to some of the suggestions. Disneyland! Classy[/p][/quote]Seeing as you're so knowledgable where is classy to take children for a holiday of a lifetime? Zexagon
  • Score: 1

5:00am Wed 25 Jun 14

huckit P says...

Beer Monster wrote:
espanuel wrote: No point in applying for a passport a month before you go anywhere. You should know that the summer month are hectic.
According to the HMPOs self imposed timescales, "the waiting time for the issue of a standard UK passport is three weeks", which normally should be okay, albeit cutting it fine and not allowing for extenuating circumstances. Unfortunately, thanks to a surge in applications in the UK (cause by cutbacks in HMPO staff across the globe), these aren't normal circumstances. I applied for a passport renewal at the same time as the Sayers, and only found out yesterday that the photographs I had provided weren't up to scratch (apparently my specs were obscuring my eyes) - up until that point I hadn't been told there was any problem, and the online application progress was (and still is) "being processed" with "no further action required". Apparently they have sent me letters in the post asking for replacement photographs to be sent, but unfortunately these have yet to be received at my end. After losing a tablet purchased online and even a cheque sent by recorded delivery (it ended up in the 'unknown' silo in Belfast) last year, I have lost faith in Royal Mails ability to do their job properly, as have HMPO - they now outsource the delivery of passports elsewhere. But that was it - no emails, no calls, no texts and nothing on the online application progress reports. Nobody that I spoke to at HMPO knew anything until yesterday, seven weeks after receipt of the original documentation. So I totally agree with Mr Sayers when he says “the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing”. Total shambles.
Should have read the rules on photographs before sending them. It would have saved you some time and effort!
[quote][p][bold]Beer Monster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]espanuel[/bold] wrote: No point in applying for a passport a month before you go anywhere. You should know that the summer month are hectic.[/p][/quote]According to the HMPOs self imposed timescales, "the waiting time for the issue of a standard UK passport is three weeks", which normally should be okay, albeit cutting it fine and not allowing for extenuating circumstances. Unfortunately, thanks to a surge in applications in the UK (cause by cutbacks in HMPO staff across the globe), these aren't normal circumstances. I applied for a passport renewal at the same time as the Sayers, and only found out yesterday that the photographs I had provided weren't up to scratch (apparently my specs were obscuring my eyes) - up until that point I hadn't been told there was any problem, and the online application progress was (and still is) "being processed" with "no further action required". Apparently they have sent me letters in the post asking for replacement photographs to be sent, but unfortunately these have yet to be received at my end. After losing a tablet purchased online and even a cheque sent by recorded delivery (it ended up in the 'unknown' silo in Belfast) last year, I have lost faith in Royal Mails ability to do their job properly, as have HMPO - they now outsource the delivery of passports elsewhere. But that was it - no emails, no calls, no texts and nothing on the online application progress reports. Nobody that I spoke to at HMPO knew anything until yesterday, seven weeks after receipt of the original documentation. So I totally agree with Mr Sayers when he says “the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing”. Total shambles.[/p][/quote]Should have read the rules on photographs before sending them. It would have saved you some time and effort! huckit P
  • Score: 3

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