Re: SOP from the HO/FO
A friend of mine had to send his passport to the Home Office for some formalities. They kept it for six years(!) and so for six years he was unable to leave the country. As a C-level executive of an international company. He had to sue the Home Office to get his passport back. Now he has got his passport he hardly spends any time in the UK any more, enjoying his freedom and making up for being locked up on a small island.
If I had to do any dealings with the Home Office I would never do it myself, always through a specialised law firm and with a clearly communicated intention to sue them if they made mistakes. I've seen too many Home Office 'cock ups'.