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Passport Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 25 May 2022

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Questions (82)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

82. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the amount expended on external consultancy to date in respect of the Passport Reform Programme; if he will provide a breakdown of costs by consultancy and external advice; the total amount expended on ICT advice and software associated with the Passport Reform Programme to date; and the totality of the approved expenditure for the Passport Reform Programme. [26826/22]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Passport Service Reform Programme was established in 2016 with the objective of delivering a citizen focused, efficient, consistent service while maintaining the integrity of the Irish passport. This process has delivered major upgrades to the Passport Service technology platforms and business processes as well as making significant customer service improvements to the Passport Service.

This programme is being continued to ensure the ongoing delivery and enhancement of service delivery to citizens worldwide. The programme is a major undertaking due to its scale, complexity, and the operational demand challenges that the Passport Service has dealt with over the last five years. From managing the significant post-Brexit increase in new passport demand from 2016 onwards, to navigating the extraordinary constraints and pressures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme has delivered real change and positive outcomes for citizens. 

One of the most visible deliverables of the Passport Reform Programme has been the Passport Online application service channel. This service has been transformative for the customer, delivering shorter turnaround times and lower rejection rates over the traditional paper based channels. Over 90% of all passport applications, including first time applications, are now being made through Passport Online.

These measures have ensured that the Passport Service can provide a more efficient service despite the unprecedented increase in the level of demand in passport applications since the inception of the Passport Reform Programme.  Over 510,000 passports have been issued to date in 2022, compared to a total of 634,000 passports issued in 2021. 117,000 passports were issued in April alone, with 45% of adult renewal passports being issued within two working days. The processing times for these standard online passport applications compare very favourably to processing times internationally.

My Department’s Passport Reform Programme has not engaged consultancy services but, given the nature of the technology developed and deployed, has utilised specialist contractors and vendors to support the Department in the delivery of projects. The total expenditure on the Passport Reform Programme over the five years from 2016 to end-2021 is €13.4m. These costs include relevant support from external contractors to develop and enhance the software systems. This is broken down as follows:

Programme Management

€830,882

Programme Development

€1,135,154

Production System Upgrade and Enhancements

€1,002,750

Passport Online

€4,319,915

Passport Issuing and Processing System

€2,052,925

Mailing Machines

€1,263,382

Business Process Automation

€66,592

FBR - Citizenship by Descent

€173,401

Integrate MyGov ID into Online Service

€449,967

Fraud Prevention Enhancements

€1,412,090

Customer Service Refresh/CRM

€717,037

Total

€13,424,095

Over the next three years, the Passport Service will undertake its next major programme of reform, change and further enhancements. This will include the transformation of the technology that currently underpins passport operating systems - the back office systems that citizens don’t see but are essential to the operations of the Passport Service. These technological upgrades are essential to stabilise and support the transformational improvements for citizens at home and abroad that the rollout of the Passport Online Service has already delivered, as well as ensuring that the international integrity of the Irish passport is maintained.

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