Case Studies

HM Passport Office

HM Passport Office – Social media monitoring integral to crisis management

The HM Passport Office is part of the Home Office, is the sole issuer of UK passports and is responsible for civil registration services through the General Register Office.


In the summer of 2014, the HM Passport Office faced a well-publicised crisis after experiencing a backlog of over 550,000 passport applications. During this time a number of travellers were forced to cancel their holidays and many took to social media to vent their frustrations.

Following the crisis, the HM Passport Office approached Cloud Media Insight to complete a retrospective analysis and evaluation of the social media activity during this period.


We analysed relevant mentions on social networks and extracted data from websites, blogs and forums to give a week by week picture of how the story unfolded across social networks.

This showed that the number of people talking about passport applications increased sharply from April 2014 onwards. We pinpointed four key dates from early May to mid-June when the media escalated the crisis.

When we delved further into the data during the critical time (April-July) we identified the critical point at which negative social media activity actually started, which was in late April. This was in fact around two weeks before the wider media interest began. This activity hadn’t previously been picked up.


Our analysis demonstrated to HM Passport Office that had they been monitoring and analysing their social media mentions, this would have given them early warning of the impending crisis.

Through using our service they would have detected the increased activity and first sprinkle of negative comments in April, before the passport application backlog story went viral. There was a two-week window before national media picked up the story, during which time HM Passport Office could have implemented place an effective contingency plan.

The HM Passport Office now recognises the importance of social media monitoring and analysis as a vital tool to manage and protect its reputation and they are a valued client.