Five Passport Questions You Need to Think About



Teresa Moss
National Highways, Passport Lead

There are five questions I ask everyone in the Passport community. These are essential questions that need to be thought through if you’re working towards a successful Passport implementation.


Question 1: How Well do you Understand Passport?

Passport is much more than a smartcard. It’s the best health and safety system used by any highways network in the world, and it’s worth taking the time to properly understand.

Each high-security smartcard connects to the powerful Passport database providing a single, transferable record for everyone. This record can be accessed in real-time and provides evidence of the Highways Common Induction (HCI), qualifications, competencies, training and other relevant information.

Having all this information in one place considerably reduces duplicated training, dramatically improves site efficiency and helps us build a Passport community that benefits everyone.

There is much more to Passport than this rapid overview, so if you’re hazy on what Passport is, these two websites are an excellent place to start:


Question 2: Have you registered your organisation with Passport?

Registering your organisation is the gateway to all the advantages and features offered by the Passport scheme.

All you need to do is provide some basic organisational information and contact details for the designated admin.

To get started, follow this link, then fill in the form and click submit. Why not do it now? It will take you less time than it takes to boil the kettle.


Question 3: How will you use Passport on-site?

No matter how complicated your site or how convoluted your organisation’s structure, Passport can handle it. It’s a flexible tool with a range of usage options.

Here are the three most common ways it can be used on-site:

1: Swiping workers on and off site
When workers arrive on site, an access controller scans their cards to check they meet the requirements for access and scans their cards again as they leave to mark the end of their shift. This has the added advantage of helping manage fatigue.

2: Project and zone control
Many sites across the strategic network have zones that require specific access requirements that the rest of the site doesn’t need. You can use Passport to swipe workers in and out of zones to verify that each worker within the zone has the competencies required.

3: Spot-checking
Spot-checking means scanning someone’s smartcard in the flow of work rather than at the start of a shift. It’s used to check they have the competencies they need to safely do a specific job, not just to access the site.


Question 4: What’s your plan to roll out Passport for projects?

Anyone implementing Passport on a project needs a plan in place to make sure everything goes smoothly. Here’s an easy five-step plan to get started:

Step 1: Decide how you want to use the system on projects (see Question 3).
Step 2: Make sure you have the supporting material and have completed the Mitie training.
Step 3: Make sure your access controllers have read through the supporting material and are confident using the app.
Step 4: Have a rollout plan in place, setting timelines for which sites will start using Passport and what functionality they will use.
Step 5: Communicate to sub-contractors that everyone will need a Passport and make sure your workers have one.


Question 5: How will you communicate the rollout with workers and sub-contractors?

For a Passport implementation to go smoothly, workers need to know in advance that they need Passport smartcards.
Communicating with a workforce spread across a complicated supply chain can be a slow process, so here are four tips:
1: Start your communications around Passport well in advance.
2: Be clear about what your organisation is expecting from workers.
3: Communicate the value of Passport, not just that it’s a requirement .
4: Make sure that key people, such as access controllers, will champion its use.


The Two Questions I’m Often Asked About Passport

I’ve covered the five questions I always ask others, but here are two questions people often ask me.


Question 1: Why is National Highways Endorsing Passport?

Everyone in the industry understands that a worker verification system like Passport is needed; the idea for Passport originated from the supply chain in the first place.

However, some are unclear why National Highways is backing the implementation of one system across the entire supply chain. Here’s why:

The Transience of the Workforce
Someone might work on one National Highways site for one contractor, then on another site for a completely different contractor, all within the same few days.

Without a system that covers the entire supply chain, each company would need to register that worker on their system. With Passport, this action becomes a single scan of their smartcard.

This makes life easier for the worker, less hectic for site teams and benefits the entire National Highways supply chain.

The time saved by scanning smartcards drives greater efficiency. Mark Bridges from Galliford Try described his experience of Passport like this:

“Passport cuts out unnecessary paperwork: five minutes filling in induction forms here, another ten there. That’s a total of 15 minutes per person – with 2,000 workers a month, you’re saving 6,000 work hours a year. The system pays for itself.”

Apply those savings across our entire supply chain and Passport represents the single biggest opportunity to improve health and safety efficiency in the highways sector, ever.

Supply Chain Sustainability
Workers with a Highways Passport are more likely to work on multiple Highways projects. This added experience leads to improved quality, safety and efficiency from workers.

Tools like Passport help us build an industry that we’re proud of and that tomorrow’s workforce will want to join.


Question 2: Why isn’t National Highways Mandating Passport?

The case for Passport is compelling. So why then, people ask, isn’t it mandated? However, some are unclear why National Highways is backing the implementation of one system across the entire supply chain. Here’s why:

“National Highways don’t like to over-mandate. For the most part, we believe that mandating standards can lead to minimum compliance with that standard and stifles innovation and stifles going the extra mile. We have been very clear that Passport is something we want our supply chain to engage with.”

A mandate would mean constraints on what implementation looks like. We want to give each organisation the freedom they need to get total value from the system. That will look different on each project and for each organisation.


Five questions for you to think about before implementing Passport, and two answers to the questions I hear most often.

If you have any other questions, the chances are we’ve answered them already on our FAQs page.