Boris Johnson orders ministers to get a grip on services bottleneck

Boris Johnson orders ministers to get a grip over the post-lockdown delays with passports, driving licenses, birth certificates and probate requests

  • The Daily Mail revealed that huge delays have built up for a string of key services
  • Included passports, driving licences, birth certificates and probate requests
  • Sources said Prime Minister was ‘personally frustrated’ by impact of delays 

Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to get a grip of post-lockdown backlogs that are paralysing access to public services.

The Daily Mail revealed this week that huge delays have built up for a string of key services, including passports, driving licences, birth certificates and probate requests after government departments sent thousands of key staff home.

Official figures yesterday showed that more than 400,000 people are currently waiting for a passport, with others now being asked not to apply unless they are travelling urgently.

Government sources last night said the Prime Minister was ‘personally frustrated’ by the impact of delays on the lives of ordinary families. ‘He is determined to clear the backlogs in essential services and ensure normal service resumes as soon as possible,’ the source said.

Boris Johnson (pictured) has ordered ministers to get a grip of post-lockdown backlogs that are paralysing access to public services

Mr Johnson has now written to ministers ordering them to draw up a plan by the end of this month to clear the backlog.

They have been told the delays must be eradicated by the end of September at the latest.

Departments have also been told to issue new guidance this week on getting civil servants back to their desks to help catch up on overdue paperwork.

In a letter seen by the Mail, Mr Johnson told ministers: ‘Our top priority should be to ensure that we continue to deliver core services and get back on track where things have slid during the crisis.’ Ministers have been told to provide the PM with an ‘update’ by the end of this month.

Thousands of families have had their lives put on hold by the delays to key public services caused by the lockdown.

In some cases, travellers have been waiting more than four months to receive a passport, forcing some to cancel holidays and trips to see families abroad.

Thousands of elderly motorists have been left housebound and isolated due to delays at the DVLA that have left them unable to get the three-yearly renewals of their licences.

The Daily Mail revealed this week that huge delays have built up for a string of key services, including passports, driving licences, birth certificates and probate requests after government departments sent thousands of key staff home (file image)

More than 150,000 spring babies are estimated to have been denied legal status because they could not be registered.

Child Benefit, worth £21.05 a week for a first child, is normally available only on presentation of a birth certificate.

And grieving families are suffering the added heartache of long delays to administering their lost loved ones’ estates.

Official data suggests the time for processing probate – part of the legal process required after someone dies – is taking up to nearly twice as long.

Problems are said to have been exacerbated by public sector workers not returning to offices. But sources say unions claim safety rules mean fewer than a quarter of staff will be able to return to some departments. 

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