It sounds like the same thing happened to us both.
After getting my MP involved my documents were marked as ‘received’ in early January and the process was smooth from then, approval a week later and printing/delivery quickly afterwards.
The real clue came when, 3 full weeks after passport approval, I got an email from Royal Mail advising that my documents were on the way back. The envelope was received by RM in Northern Ireland – so somehow, the documents ended up in HMPO Belfast. I called to query this and was told my application was processed in Liverpool!
So they asked me to send documents to Hemel for an application being processed in Liverpool, and somehow they ended up in Belfast. Who knows how many times they went around that circle and how many additional stops were made…
Things I learned were:
-something in the document receiving/scanning side of things is terribly designed.
-once HMPO get to the business of actually examining your application they are reasonably efficient.
-printing and delivery are very efficient.
-if it’s going wrong, get your MP involved – the call centre’s promises to escalate things and carry out searches are essentially worthless.
Best of luck all.