You may have seen news reports today and over the weekend which questions the stability of the network. The coverage follows from a press release issued by the NFSP.
At last month’s NFSP conference, Interim CEO Al Cameron; Debbie Smith, Retail Chief Executive and members of the Post Office leadership team attended to share their future plans for the business, customers and postmasters. See our summary of the conference on One.
We know that our branches are not immune to the pressures facing retailers across UK high streets. As a result of this investment our network of over 11,500 branches is at its most stable for decades. Over 99 per cent of the population live within 3 miles of a Post Office branch.
Our postmasters are the backbone of our business. We recognise we have more to do to better support postmasters and we are working on a range of improvements. We welcome and listen to all feedback from our Postmasters and the NFSP. We are committed to ensuring our postmasters receive a fair remuneration for the vital services they provide to customers. We announced at the NFSP conference increases for providing cash deposit services. This is in addition to other recent increases in banking services remuneration. We are working with Postmasters and the NFSP to continue to review remuneration to ensure the Network continues to thrive and remain at the heart of communities not just for today’s customers but tomorrow’s too.
Our particular focus is to make running a Post Office easier and more profitable for Postmasters so they can continue to deliver for customers and provide the wider community support that people so much trust and value. We are undertaking a full review of Postmaster remuneration to report back in the Autumn.
Our strategy is to continually improve and modernise our offer to customers, making sure everyone has easy access to branches and can also start more journeys online.
We are working to increase the value for Postmasters while investing in the underlying infrastructure that provides secure systems and access to cash across the UK. We have made real progress, maintaining a national network of branches and increasing opening hours. Last year our income, the number of branch locations and our profitability grew, with profits reinvested. At the same time we have a great deal to do, continually adjusting for changes in technology and customer need.
Our focus on business performance is saving the taxpayer some £350m a year by next year and any profit we make is reinvested to help everyone who supports Post Office – customers, Postmasters, the clients whose products we distribute and our staff – maintain an increasingly resilient national network for years to come.
We are looking at how we can better support postmasters, from day-to-day support, including training and communications. Recently we have made some changes to our field team structures, ensuring all branches have a named contact. We now have 1,200 Postmasters live on Branch Hub using IT self-service. This is just the start.
Find out more in the next One Business magazine, coming soon.