Passport office ‘wall of silence’
12:47pm Wednesday 9th March 2011 in Passport Office
THE boss of Newport’s regeneration body said it has been met with a wall of silence over the Newport Passport Office.
Despite outlining a myriad of issues with the government’s reasons behind the proposal to shut the regional office two months ago, and an extension to the consultation process, Newport Unlimited (NU) is yet to get a full reply.
Now its chief executive Gareth Beer has sent a strongly worded letter to the Identity and Passport Service saying it had expected better from the service, which is to close the consultation in nine days.
He says he is also “extremely disappointed” by the continued absence of IPS’ own economic impact study.
Mr Beer said: “We have made a number of approaches to the Passport Office and have met with a wall of silence.”
“There is a total lack of transparency from both the government and the IPS surrounding the consultation.”
In January Newport Unlimited sent IPS the results of studies by AECOM which stated that the regional economy could lose £36 million a year and highlighted flaws in the process used to select Newport for closure.
However NU board members have since expressed “serious concern” at the lack of “any substantive response” to the company’s comments, according to the letter sent last week by Mr Beer to Paul Pugh, IPS executive director of operations.
“We expected to receive greater levels of co-operation and engagement from IPS over such an important issue,” he wrote.
The letter asks for them to confirm when they may expect a full response to the points raised, and reaffirmed a request from Newport council’s managing director Tracey Lee for a meeting with IPS.
An IPS spokesman said: “Paul Pugh, IPS Executive Director of Operations, has agreed to meet Newport City Council and Newport Unlimited when the Impact Assessment has been published.”
“IPS is currently finalising the Impact Assessment and hopes to publish it shortly.”