THE Passport Office has been accused of "management by panic" by Newport West MP Paul Flynn, following the recent furore over a backlog of applications and renewals.
Mr Flynn made the comment in an exchange in the House of Commons with Home Secretary Theresa May, during which he asked what she would do to ensure the recent "crisis" would not be repeated.
And having thanked Ms May for having "very readily and speedily apologised for the crisis in the Passport Service" Mr Flynn asked: "Don’t you think it was probably a mistake to cut the service by 20 per cent in 2011-2013 and leaving it in a state where it cannot cope with unusual demand?"
Ms May replied that among the remedies are two reviews, one looking at the efficiency of the Passport Office and whether any changes should be made to how it operates, and the other looking at its structure.
"The Passport Office will also be looking at their modelling for the future and work is being done to look at the sort of likely demand for the future," said Ms May.
"There is a question for them. Will demand return to what it used to be like or will it stay at the sort of levels we that we have seen in recent months? They will have to look at their operational model in relation to their forecast of demand."
She refuted Mr Flynn's assertion that the Passport Office's operational model is one of "management by panic" and did not answer his subsequent question about whether she felt under obligation to replace jobs in areas such as Newport that, he said, suffered "grievously" when the Passport Office was reorganised.
"What we need to look at for the future is to make sure we have got the question of the forecasting model right so that predictions of demand are better made," said Ms May.
"This year demand was significantly higher than it was forecast to be. That’s why they (the Passport Office) have had to put a number of measures in place to deal with it."
She said output at the Passport Office has increased since action was taken to deal with the backlog, but Mr Flynn said applications classed as 'work in progress' have increased.