Sunday, February 22, 2009

M364 Block 1, Unit 1, Activity 3

Think about the system outline in Box 3 [The 1999 UK Passport Agency Fiasco]. Suggest what the consequences of the Passport Agency's computer problems may have been for the following groups of people:

the general public

the workers at the Passport Agency
The increase from 2-3 weeks to 7-10 weeks more than tripled the waiting time for passports. This would have been real problem for people needing to travel abroad on short notice for business or, sadly, for funerals. It would have made the already stressful business of arranging family holidays more so, especially given the changing legal context whereby children would now require their own passports. It is quite conceivable that the threat of having to cancel a holiday (or leave a child behind) due to non-arrival of passports could lead to blame games and even leave relationships under stress.

Passport Agency workers would have had to deal with a surge in enquiries and disputes, where they had to decide what was or wasn't an emergency case. This, along with their identification with an employer that was being ridiculed in the media and by the general public, would have been sapping to their self-esteem. The possibility of radical solutions which might have impacted their working conditions or even employment would have added to their general stress levels.

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