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Managing Operations And Information For Passport Issuing In Britain

1688 words - 7 pages

Managing operations and information According to a briefing report by UK Passport Agency: “Delays in issuing passports earlier this year led to much anxiety and inconvenience for members of the public hoping to travel. By June, the Passport Agency had around 565,000 applications awaiting processing. The initial cause of delay was the introduction from October 1998 of a new passport processing system to replace an ageing computer system. Siemens Business Services is responsible for providing the new system. The causes of delay included inadequate staff training time, insufficient contingency planning and a failure to get the message across to the public. The cost of the additional measures taken by the Agency to deal with the failures during the year from October 1998 will be around £12.6 million, including £6 million for additional staffing. Almost 500 travel dates were missed over the period and many more people were inconvenienced. Whilst the Agency's performance over the Summer was at or around its target of meeting 99.99 per cent of travel dates, the Home Office accepts that this target did not reflect a meaningful standard of service for the public. The Agency has received compensation totaling £69,000 from Siemens for shortfalls in performance and has waived other compensation amounting to £275,000. The Agency is now discussing with Siemens how the costs of the crisis are to be shared.” None of the achievements of the Passport Agency over the past five years would have been possible without a sound financial system underlying our whole operation. SunSystems has provided just that." On 2nd April 1991 the UK Government created the Passport Agency as a new executive agency responsible for the issue of passports to British nationals in the UK. Previously an integral part of the Home Office, the transition to agency status required a wholesale rethinking of the systems, procedures and administration used to keep track of costs and income within the Passport Agency. The change required the Passport Agency to develop an accruals-based accounting system within two years of being given agency status so that commercial accounts could be prepared and published. At the same time, and until the Agency achieved its long-term goal of Trading Fund Status, the system also had to support vote-based accounting to answer the needs of the Treasury. To meet these complex requirements, the Passport Agency turned to Sun Systems finance and business software from Systems Union. The new system, with Sun Systems at its core, is used both in the Passport Office's London headquarters and at its six regional offices around the country. Using it, the agency successfully made the transition to commercial accounting practices on 1st April 1993, publishing its first computer driven accounts the following year. It has also enabled a new insight into costs through flexible cost allocation codes and the flexibility of the software has enabled the agency to respond to new...

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