Pensioner loses cruise over passport problems

HOLIDAY HEARTACHE: Eileen Shepherd

HOLIDAY HEARTACHE: Eileen Shepherd

First published in News

A PENSIONER has criticised the Passport Office for a series of delays and blunders that led to the loss of her dream holiday.

Retired nurse Eileen Shepherd, 67, missed out on a £1,700 cruise after repeated attempts to renew her passport failed.

Shortly after booking the cruise, Ms Shepherd realised her passport was due to expire and attempted to renew it online.

Unable to print out the declaration form necessary to complete the application, she requested one from the Passport Office on Friday, April 18, several weeks before she was due to travel.

She said: “More than a week later it still wasn’t there. I phoned them and they said they’d send another but that never arrived either.

“The holiday was getting dangerously close and I wanted to go to the Passport Office in person to get it sorted quickly.

“When I phoned, a supervisor told me I couldn’t do that as my application was already being processed.

“They agreed to cancel the application so I could go to my local office in person and said they’d send me an appointment.

“The application was never cancelled and then I received the declaration form.

“I posted it straight away and it was signed for the next day but they claimed they hadn’t received it for another four days.”

Ms Shepherd – from Darlington – then agreed to pay extra to fast track the application in a bid to resolve the issue in time for her trip.

However, the passport was not received in time and Ms Shepherd was forced to abandon her trip.

She said: “I rang again the day before I was supposed to travel and was told there was no way I’d get it in time.

“I was absolutely hysterical as I’d tried every which way but they didn’t apologise, they just say that I shouldn’t have booked the holiday without a passport.

“That might be true but it’s also passing the buck, they had seven weeks and they gave misleading and wrong information.”

The Passport Office claimed a fast track service was never offered in Ms Shepherd’s case but failed to respond to a request for further comment.

Comments (23)

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7:51am Fri 30 May 14

Davy Crocket says...

This is the way many things are going these days ... Too much new labour and E.U. bureaucracy, too many immigrants some trying to break and cheat our Systems making daily life harder for us all and more crooked organisation only too willing to keep your cash e.g. power companies. The lady has been caught out by being too trusting of what people say over the phone .... Once this was fine. But these days we are all victims of lies if its not put in writing.
This is the way many things are going these days ... Too much new labour and E.U. bureaucracy, too many immigrants some trying to break and cheat our Systems making daily life harder for us all and more crooked organisation only too willing to keep your cash e.g. power companies. The lady has been caught out by being too trusting of what people say over the phone .... Once this was fine. But these days we are all victims of lies if its not put in writing. Davy Crocket
  • Score: 3

8:07am Fri 30 May 14

locallad26 says...

I'm sorry, what has this got to do with immigrants? Nothing!

I'm sorry she missed out on her cruise, she was obviously given some duff information which can happen in any situation however she must also accept some blame.

If she only had weeks to sort her passport out then it's also partially her fault. The standard time for a passport is 2 weeks, she could have gone to the post office or paid for a fast track service straight away.

Ultimately it's a messy situation and the passport office should reimburse some (or all) or what she lost out on.

This has nothing to do with immigration and cheating the system. You'd be complaining if due diligence was not performed and some major incident occurred as a result!
I'm sorry, what has this got to do with immigrants? Nothing! I'm sorry she missed out on her cruise, she was obviously given some duff information which can happen in any situation however she must also accept some blame. If she only had weeks to sort her passport out then it's also partially her fault. The standard time for a passport is 2 weeks, she could have gone to the post office or paid for a fast track service straight away. Ultimately it's a messy situation and the passport office should reimburse some (or all) or what she lost out on. This has nothing to do with immigration and cheating the system. You'd be complaining if due diligence was not performed and some major incident occurred as a result! locallad26
  • Score: 31

8:56am Fri 30 May 14

bambara says...

The passport office is stretched to breaking point, cuts to staffing has caused backlogs and delays.
The passport office is stretched to breaking point, cuts to staffing has caused backlogs and delays. bambara
  • Score: 17

9:33am Fri 30 May 14

David Lacey says...

Nothing to do with staff cuts. Nothing to do with immigrants. It is a combination of slack administration (Passport Office) and not paying sufficient attention to getting the matter sorted (Ms Shepherd). At the end of the day the victim must take the blame.
Nothing to do with staff cuts. Nothing to do with immigrants. It is a combination of slack administration (Passport Office) and not paying sufficient attention to getting the matter sorted (Ms Shepherd). At the end of the day the victim must take the blame. David Lacey
  • Score: 11

10:22am Fri 30 May 14

Robert_ says...

It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.
It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it. Robert_
  • Score: 10

12:23pm Fri 30 May 14

yarm dave says...

sorry, but this lady did not pay attention. She, at her age should have known to go to the post office, pick up her form, fill it in and then return for fast track. Over and out
sorry, but this lady did not pay attention. She, at her age should have known to go to the post office, pick up her form, fill it in and then return for fast track. Over and out yarm dave
  • Score: 11

1:16pm Fri 30 May 14

The Love Slug says...

She had SEVEN WEEKS to get this sorted. This has nothing to do with immigrants, and as far as im concerned, a genuine mistake by this lady could have, and should have been resolved well before she travelled.

The only blame should lie firmly with the passport office. Another government department staffed by uninterested customer service workers, being paid peanuts and being treated like dirt. How can you expect anything more than appalling service and management when you pay peanuts and expect poorly trained people to carry out the job of 4 people?

The DVLA and HMRC are no better either.
She had SEVEN WEEKS to get this sorted. This has nothing to do with immigrants, and as far as im concerned, a genuine mistake by this lady could have, and should have been resolved well before she travelled. The only blame should lie firmly with the passport office. Another government department staffed by uninterested customer service workers, being paid peanuts and being treated like dirt. How can you expect anything more than appalling service and management when you pay peanuts and expect poorly trained people to carry out the job of 4 people? The DVLA and HMRC are no better either. The Love Slug
  • Score: 19

3:14pm Fri 30 May 14

JJ2000 says...

It's not just staff cuts that have caused this calamity, the effects of bureaucratic process also has a large part to play. All it would have taken is one person to take responsibility for the claim and see it through from beginning to end and it could have been sorted long before time, but I guarantee that regulations, policy and processes would have prevented this.
It's a sad state of conduct that is now common practice in almost every sector.
Process before progress, rules before results, self preservation before service.
It's not just staff cuts that have caused this calamity, the effects of bureaucratic process also has a large part to play. All it would have taken is one person to take responsibility for the claim and see it through from beginning to end and it could have been sorted long before time, but I guarantee that regulations, policy and processes would have prevented this. It's a sad state of conduct that is now common practice in almost every sector. Process before progress, rules before results, self preservation before service. JJ2000
  • Score: 15

6:35pm Fri 30 May 14

Starteck2002 says...

2 weeks to process a passport renewal? I'm going away at the end of June to a reunion, my passport took around 3 weeks. My Brother and another friend that is going with us has now been waiting nearly 3 months. Money was taken very efficiently, a shame that the processing is not going so well.
2 weeks to process a passport renewal? I'm going away at the end of June to a reunion, my passport took around 3 weeks. My Brother and another friend that is going with us has now been waiting nearly 3 months. Money was taken very efficiently, a shame that the processing is not going so well. Starteck2002
  • Score: 13

8:04pm Fri 30 May 14

loan_star says...

Robert_ wrote:
It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.
Thats half the problem, departments that were overstaffed now being made to run on a more realistic staffing level. Then you get people who are that used to the old working ways getting stressed over a bit of extra work. Try working for yourself and see how you deal with stress then, taking a sicky isn't an option.
[quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.[/p][/quote]Thats half the problem, departments that were overstaffed now being made to run on a more realistic staffing level. Then you get people who are that used to the old working ways getting stressed over a bit of extra work. Try working for yourself and see how you deal with stress then, taking a sicky isn't an option. loan_star
  • Score: 7

9:28pm Fri 30 May 14

Darkroom Devil says...

If you can properly evidence your claims then instruct your solicitor to sue.
The level of service seems shocking and should without doubt have been better. Applying seven weeks prior to travel just to renew is far from unreasonable.

On the governments own site they say it should take three weeks to renew.

You have a case.
If you can properly evidence your claims then instruct your solicitor to sue. The level of service seems shocking and should without doubt have been better. Applying seven weeks prior to travel just to renew is far from unreasonable. On the governments own site they say it should take three weeks to renew. You have a case. Darkroom Devil
  • Score: 15

5:20am Sat 31 May 14

keef074 says...

If i wanted to hire a car, then i would need to provide my license before i was able to drive a car away, surely the same could be applied to travelling abroad. IE : needing to provide a valid passport before being able to book a trip abroad.
I do feel for Ms Shepherd however personally i could never book a trip abroad without having a valid passport.
If i wanted to hire a car, then i would need to provide my license before i was able to drive a car away, surely the same could be applied to travelling abroad. IE : needing to provide a valid passport before being able to book a trip abroad. I do feel for Ms Shepherd however personally i could never book a trip abroad without having a valid passport. keef074
  • Score: 4

7:54am Sat 31 May 14

BornInTheNorth says...

There's two sides to every story, but you only ever seem to hear the sob story which is often a rose tinted version of the truth. Don't buy a car without a driving licence, don't buy a microwave without a house, and don't book a holiday without a passport.
There's two sides to every story, but you only ever seem to hear the sob story which is often a rose tinted version of the truth. Don't buy a car without a driving licence, don't buy a microwave without a house, and don't book a holiday without a passport. BornInTheNorth
  • Score: 2

12:00pm Sat 31 May 14

behonest says...

Robert_ wrote:
It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.
Off sick with stress? Diddums. A civil servant can receive full pay for 6 months whilst off sick. I suspect 'stress' is a 'time off work' option for mainly public sector workers.
[quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.[/p][/quote]Off sick with stress? Diddums. A civil servant can receive full pay for 6 months whilst off sick. I suspect 'stress' is a 'time off work' option for mainly public sector workers. behonest
  • Score: 9

12:05pm Sat 31 May 14

behonest says...

Isn't the Passport Office a public sector organisation? Time to privatise it.

The customer should not be blamed for an appalling, incompetent level of service such as this. Just how many months does the Passport Office think it should have, to issue one customer a single document?
Isn't the Passport Office a public sector organisation? Time to privatise it. The customer should not be blamed for an appalling, incompetent level of service such as this. Just how many months does the Passport Office think it should have, to issue one customer a single document? behonest
  • Score: 8

7:40pm Sat 31 May 14

Robert_ says...

loan_star wrote:
Robert_ wrote:
It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.
Thats half the problem, departments that were overstaffed now being made to run on a more realistic staffing level. Then you get people who are that used to the old working ways getting stressed over a bit of extra work. Try working for yourself and see how you deal with stress then, taking a sicky isn't an option.
But its a misconception that bugs me. Where I work the list of managers over the 12 years I have been there has grown and grown and grown while the minions on the coal face, of which I am one, have dwindled. The place could still run on the hand full of managers that were there but they create stupid jobs that are not necessary and thus go over budget. When that budget needs to be cut they get rid of the minions. The ones that actually do the work.

They cannot see it though. Actually more likely they do.. but as long as they are getting their huge undeserved salary its easy to put their fingers in their ears and say la la la..... I can't hear you....

I'm not bitter ;-)
[quote][p][bold]loan_star[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.[/p][/quote]Thats half the problem, departments that were overstaffed now being made to run on a more realistic staffing level. Then you get people who are that used to the old working ways getting stressed over a bit of extra work. Try working for yourself and see how you deal with stress then, taking a sicky isn't an option.[/p][/quote]But its a misconception that bugs me. Where I work the list of managers over the 12 years I have been there has grown and grown and grown while the minions on the coal face, of which I am one, have dwindled. The place could still run on the hand full of managers that were there but they create stupid jobs that are not necessary and thus go over budget. When that budget needs to be cut they get rid of the minions. The ones that actually do the work. They cannot see it though. Actually more likely they do.. but as long as they are getting their huge undeserved salary its easy to put their fingers in their ears and say la la la..... I can't hear you.... I'm not bitter ;-) Robert_
  • Score: 12

8:04pm Sun 1 Jun 14

loopeyloo75 says...

Sent off four passports this year all came back under 3 weeks. Then I booked the holiday.
Sent off four passports this year all came back under 3 weeks. Then I booked the holiday. loopeyloo75
  • Score: 6

1:03pm Mon 2 Jun 14

loan_star says...

Robert_ wrote:
loan_star wrote:
Robert_ wrote:
It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.
Thats half the problem, departments that were overstaffed now being made to run on a more realistic staffing level. Then you get people who are that used to the old working ways getting stressed over a bit of extra work. Try working for yourself and see how you deal with stress then, taking a sicky isn't an option.
But its a misconception that bugs me. Where I work the list of managers over the 12 years I have been there has grown and grown and grown while the minions on the coal face, of which I am one, have dwindled. The place could still run on the hand full of managers that were there but they create stupid jobs that are not necessary and thus go over budget. When that budget needs to be cut they get rid of the minions. The ones that actually do the work.

They cannot see it though. Actually more likely they do.. but as long as they are getting their huge undeserved salary its easy to put their fingers in their ears and say la la la..... I can't hear you....

I'm not bitter ;-)
We all know management are usually the last to suffer when it comes to cuts but as I said, if you were self employed you would have to just hack it out. Taking sickies for stress isn't an option but its too easy for public servants to use this as a get out.
[quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loan_star[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.[/p][/quote]Thats half the problem, departments that were overstaffed now being made to run on a more realistic staffing level. Then you get people who are that used to the old working ways getting stressed over a bit of extra work. Try working for yourself and see how you deal with stress then, taking a sicky isn't an option.[/p][/quote]But its a misconception that bugs me. Where I work the list of managers over the 12 years I have been there has grown and grown and grown while the minions on the coal face, of which I am one, have dwindled. The place could still run on the hand full of managers that were there but they create stupid jobs that are not necessary and thus go over budget. When that budget needs to be cut they get rid of the minions. The ones that actually do the work. They cannot see it though. Actually more likely they do.. but as long as they are getting their huge undeserved salary its easy to put their fingers in their ears and say la la la..... I can't hear you.... I'm not bitter ;-)[/p][/quote]We all know management are usually the last to suffer when it comes to cuts but as I said, if you were self employed you would have to just hack it out. Taking sickies for stress isn't an option but its too easy for public servants to use this as a get out. loan_star
  • Score: 3

8:16pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Voice-of-reality says...

If one is too ill to work (Robert_) how are you well enough to type on line.
If you are well enough to type on line - you are well enough to do 'on-line filing' from home. Now stopping wasting my taxes and get back to work - or do the decent thing and resign.
If one is too ill to work (Robert_) how are you well enough to type on line. If you are well enough to type on line - you are well enough to do 'on-line filing' from home. Now stopping wasting my taxes and get back to work - or do the decent thing and resign. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 2

12:42pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Robert_ says...

loan_star wrote:
Robert_ wrote:
loan_star wrote:
Robert_ wrote:
It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.
Thats half the problem, departments that were overstaffed now being made to run on a more realistic staffing level. Then you get people who are that used to the old working ways getting stressed over a bit of extra work. Try working for yourself and see how you deal with stress then, taking a sicky isn't an option.
But its a misconception that bugs me. Where I work the list of managers over the 12 years I have been there has grown and grown and grown while the minions on the coal face, of which I am one, have dwindled. The place could still run on the hand full of managers that were there but they create stupid jobs that are not necessary and thus go over budget. When that budget needs to be cut they get rid of the minions. The ones that actually do the work.

They cannot see it though. Actually more likely they do.. but as long as they are getting their huge undeserved salary its easy to put their fingers in their ears and say la la la..... I can't hear you....

I'm not bitter ;-)
We all know management are usually the last to suffer when it comes to cuts but as I said, if you were self employed you would have to just hack it out. Taking sickies for stress isn't an option but its too easy for public servants to use this as a get out.
But as a self employed person would you take on 4 times more work than you can handle? Of course not, that would be ridiculous, you would work yourself into the ground and make yourself ill.
[quote][p][bold]loan_star[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loan_star[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Robert_[/bold] wrote: It is everything to do with staff cuts. I am a civil servant who is off sick with stress, my first sickness in 10 years, due to staff cuts I am doing the job of 4 people and I cannot take it anymore and the work is just building up for when I get back as there is no one else to do it.[/p][/quote]Thats half the problem, departments that were overstaffed now being made to run on a more realistic staffing level. Then you get people who are that used to the old working ways getting stressed over a bit of extra work. Try working for yourself and see how you deal with stress then, taking a sicky isn't an option.[/p][/quote]But its a misconception that bugs me. Where I work the list of managers over the 12 years I have been there has grown and grown and grown while the minions on the coal face, of which I am one, have dwindled. The place could still run on the hand full of managers that were there but they create stupid jobs that are not necessary and thus go over budget. When that budget needs to be cut they get rid of the minions. The ones that actually do the work. They cannot see it though. Actually more likely they do.. but as long as they are getting their huge undeserved salary its easy to put their fingers in their ears and say la la la..... I can't hear you.... I'm not bitter ;-)[/p][/quote]We all know management are usually the last to suffer when it comes to cuts but as I said, if you were self employed you would have to just hack it out. Taking sickies for stress isn't an option but its too easy for public servants to use this as a get out.[/p][/quote]But as a self employed person would you take on 4 times more work than you can handle? Of course not, that would be ridiculous, you would work yourself into the ground and make yourself ill. Robert_
  • Score: 1

12:43pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Robert_ says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
If one is too ill to work (Robert_) how are you well enough to type on line.
If you are well enough to type on line - you are well enough to do 'on-line filing' from home. Now stopping wasting my taxes and get back to work - or do the decent thing and resign.
Please point me in the direction of where I can do online filing from home and I will gladly do it. My employer certainly hasn't suggested it.
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: If one is too ill to work (Robert_) how are you well enough to type on line. If you are well enough to type on line - you are well enough to do 'on-line filing' from home. Now stopping wasting my taxes and get back to work - or do the decent thing and resign.[/p][/quote]Please point me in the direction of where I can do online filing from home and I will gladly do it. My employer certainly hasn't suggested it. Robert_
  • Score: 1

1:26pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Then I accept that my tone may have been rather harsher than it should have been. Clearly there should be a function by which you can access office files from home - and thereby not be stressed and continue with the work. Remarkable that the organisation does not have such a file share option.
Then I accept that my tone may have been rather harsher than it should have been. Clearly there should be a function by which you can access office files from home - and thereby not be stressed and continue with the work. Remarkable that the organisation does not have such a file share option. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: -1

10:33pm Tue 3 Jun 14

bambara says...

The right wing think anything that isn't privatised is inefficient, yet every time they privatise a service the costs go up, servixe goes down, and the only people to benefit are the fat cat friends they sell the shares to.

The tory approach to running services is to cut it until it fails, until the good people working themselves to the limit finally give up in the knowledge that working harder only ever results in another round of cuts.
Cut after cut until exhaustion and demoralisation causes the system to collapse.
Then the tories point at the service in disarray that they have brought to it's knees and they say "look this publuc service is in a shambles, it is inefficient and we have no choice but to privatise it."
The right wing think anything that isn't privatised is inefficient, yet every time they privatise a service the costs go up, servixe goes down, and the only people to benefit are the fat cat friends they sell the shares to. The tory approach to running services is to cut it until it fails, until the good people working themselves to the limit finally give up in the knowledge that working harder only ever results in another round of cuts. Cut after cut until exhaustion and demoralisation causes the system to collapse. Then the tories point at the service in disarray that they have brought to it's knees and they say "look this publuc service is in a shambles, it is inefficient and we have no choice but to privatise it." bambara
  • Score: 2

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