The friendly, helpful passport office
I visited the Passport Office in Newport to buy a new passport at short notice as I had lost my current one and needed to to leave the country for business purposes. I didn't expect it to be such a pleasurable experience considering I was going to be searched and asked security questions, this normally makes one feel uncomfortable as government officials can usually come across rather abrupt.
None of the staff made me feel awkward or uncomfortable but instead they were happy, talkative and in my opinion just there to be of the best service possible. I was with my little brother at the main desk and the man issuing me a ticket number was even telling us jokes which lifted our mood. I was dealt with very quickly, within around two minutes my ticket number was called out and I was ready to be interviewed. When being interviewed the woman was very helpful and didn't waste any time sorting my passport out, I just gave her all the relevant documents, signed any necessary paperwork and she told me i could have it ready by the next day from 8am onwards using the premium service which i was told on the phone wasnt possible if your passport has been lost or stolen so this was a real bonus! I was very impressed on how quick and efficient this process was, there was no time wasted and all members of staff were so happy to help. I walked out of the office in a better mood than when I walked in, I feel they gave me the best customer service possible. When leaving the office I thanked every member of staff that dealt with me for being so helpful and happy. I am very glad i got the chance to write a review about them as i feel they made a real impression on me and writing a review is the least i can do.
If I ever have any passport issues i will definitely be coming back to this office, they put the effort in and are all very good at their job. Unfortunately I didn't think to take any pictures as i didn't plan to write a review on them and only thought of it afterwards because they made such a good impression on me.
Corroboration of Service Usage
The happiest and most helpful office in the UK !!
I took my son into the Newport Passport Office last week to get a passport at short notice, after he had lost his previous passport and had not reported it as missing.
The whole experience was not just pleasant, we actually left the passport office laughing and with our spirits lifted... because from the moment we entered the building where friendly security guards greeted us with smiling faces at the door, to clearing security (emptying pockets, etc) while the humorous and friendly security staff (a woman at the desk and then a man armed with a scanner) made jokes and made us feel welcome instead of treating us like potential terrorists - to checking in at the desk, and again dealing with a wonderful man with a great sense of humour (we were also very early, but we hardly waited long at all) before we were seen by a friendly, intelligent and smiley woman (whose name I can't remember, unfortunately), who was extremely helpful and arranged for the passport to be couriered (with our supporting documents enclosed) to us within 2 days...
I do not remember ever being is such a happy, helpful office in the past. Thank you Passport Office, Newport, Gwent!
Corroboration of Service Usage
Newport passport office
This office is run with taxpayer's money. However, the taxpayers themselves are not allowed to wait in the building for their appointments but are told they must wait outside. This is an unacceptable way to treat people. My impression was that people were regarded and treated as though they were back in the former Soviet Union. I am in my 70s and had made a 4 hr journey to get there only to be told I must wait outside. A disgrace and totally unacceptable.
Corroboration of Service Usage
Almost disastrous, but redeemed by 2nd tier management with good communications & initiative
Newport Passport Office | Identity & Passport Office
On arrival, one is escorted through an over-sensitive Garrett PD6500i arch by a polite security guard. One moves left through the arch and states one's appointment time and name to one of two receptionists who are seated behind computers. They have evidently been trained to smile, but any questions out of the ordinary elicit a glare.
Being a government organisation and therefore a monopoly, and with a workforce being protected against performance-enhancing disciplinary measures by their seniors' fear of political embarrassment, one would not expect to find a motivated staff detail that are flexible and wanting to go the extra mile, so I will be correspondingly gentle in my scoring.
There is no WiFi and no sense of regret at wasting users' time, or of the the very obvious fact that the salaries of the workers here are being paid by persons who are waiting for these services.
In spite of arriving on time, and it being not late in the day (0930), one is made to wait 17 minutes before being called to a little booth, where a very pleasant but evidently stressed lady named Sue checks my papers.
Now, the worst-case scenario event occurs. During the planning phase in the run-up to my visit, we have checked the website of the passport office and have followed their advice to the letter. This advice details that we should visit a Post Office and use their checking service. We have duly done so and have spent around an hour at the Aberdare Post Office, obtaining help and advise from Tina, the lady who supplied us with Passport Renewal Application forms. On meeting Tina, we have handed over our son to be assisted with sitting at the right height on the stool, and having two or three attempts at getting his photo done. The result has looked blurred and grainy; I have expressed my doubts to Tina, and she has reassured me that since everyone else uses this photo booth, there'll be no problem.
But there is a problem. Sue shares my concerns about the photos and tells me there is no way that they will be accepted. Sue seems very unhappy about disappointing me and seems to be suffering as much as I am at having to give me the bad news. She is very courteous and cooperative and allows me to record the conversation for my records. I realise however, that I will need to deal with her line manager. I wait around 5-7 minutes and her line manager comes along.
The line manager is Katherine Williams. She has evidently been primed and is on the defensive when she arrives. She seems to opt for the cold and professional tack. I realise I will not make much headway with her, and so simply use her to build a picture of the overall command structure of this organisation. Katherine says she is unwilling that I record her, so I ask her patience that she should bear with me while I type notes on my iPhone.
I determine the following structure. The most senior person present today, and Acting Head of Department, is Gaynor Hooper. What I understand is that this role is shared and that other Heads of Department are Sharon Gammage and Ev Sully.
These people report to Mr Fitzgerald who is the Senior Executive Officer for the Identity and Passport Office. Mr Fitzgerald reports to Mr Alan Frame who is the Head of the Passport Service. Mr Frame reports directly to the Home Office.
Anyway, the notion of reputational damage via a dissatisfied client who is willing to share his findings widely, appears to be an inaccessible concept to Katherine Williams, who seems more interested in diverting me to a faceless means of escalating the issue. She therefore seems very pleased to advise me of how her organisation will very graciously offer me a free stamp if I want to write and express my concerns to Customer Services (presumably at Globe House in London).
Having exhausted Katherine's usefulness and catalogue of information, I request to meet with Gaynor Hooper. Gaynor arrives with a form, is very well trained, appears genuinely empathetic, and proceeds to annotate the events that have led to this point, as per my narrating them.
In spite of Gaynor's sympathetic affinity, I agree that there is no getting around the fact that the photos that I have been supplied with by the photo booth in Aberdare, are simply no good (notwithstanding their confident and surprising assurances at the time). Want I need to avoid however, is being told that I need to reschedule a meeting and come back when I have better photos, as I fear that a new appointment may take a week to obtain, and we are due to go abroad tomorrow - hence the appointment for a same-day service.
Gaynor is very apologetic and says that if I can get my son to come in they will assist me with everything quickly, and I won't have to make another appointment.
Happily, my son is just 37 minutes away, so I call my wife and she drives him in.
In summary, I would be happy with the performance of the senior levels of management here if they worked for me; mid-management needs some training in empathy and problem resolution; and around half the most junior level are very good, while the other half need to suffer some character building hardships. Perhaps they should be made to raise funds for a local charity and go and climb Kilimanjaro, or something of that nature.
Corroboration of Service Usage
PERFECT SERVICE complete 10
From the moment I arrived this morning at 7.50 (looking for a toilet) till I received my passport just the back of 12 o'clock the service from the gentlemen at reception through security to the lovely lass ( sorry I never took a note of our name TRAP 1) was exemplary.
Many, many thanks