We recognise some of the decisions we’ve made haven’t always been the right ones for postmasters and we have lost some of your trust in us as a result.
We’re working really hard to put this right and to better support you, your colleagues and your business. We’ve already made some changes as part of this, and there’s much more in the pipeline.
We want to be more open with you about issues and hold our hands up when we get something wrong.
For example, recently we were made aware of an issue with some cash pouch rem barcodes that meant the barcode wasn’t registering the full value on Horizon, resulting in surpluses in some branches.
That’s been fixed now and the proper focus was put on communicating to all branches of a potential issue once the issue was flagged to us. This is where we need your help; please tell us if you spot anything like this so we can prioritise a fix and let all branches know what’s happening. If you assume someone else will raise it, we may only see it as a one-off issue when, as with the barcode issue, there was a pattern that prompted an appropriate response.
That’s where our Branch Support Centre comes in – to support you and help solve issues. It’s the new name for the previous NBSC to better reflect its wider support role. As well as the name change, we’ve introduced some other changes there to focus on listening to you and working closely with you to solve any issues quicker. We’ve introduced a tiered support system so that, if branches have major issues such as errors with transactions, it’s escalated and the team will work with you to understand and investigate the issue and find a resolution together. This team has already helped branches to solve more than 300 balancing and transaction issues in the first quarter and that represents over 95% of the calls this specialist team received in this same period. We want to work together to tackle balancing issues and corrections by supporting branches and simplifying our balancing processes. One thing that makes resolution much easier for everyone is when branches stay on top of their daily cash declarations and their balancing. This highlights a potential issue to the branch often on the day it occurred and means the Branch Support team has a clear timeframe to investigate.
By now many of you will have met or spoken to your area manager under the new structure we introduced in April, and those visits and calls are continuing. Every branch – whatever size and type of branch they are – now has an area manager.
We’ve introduced dedicated field trainers and 14 training centres where regular workshops can be run, using Horizon terminals to reflect the real branch environment, focused on the transactions and back office processes that you tell us are confusing.
And we’ve set up a new Loss Prevention team to support postmasters to minimise any losses and to protect you from the causes of losses. Our focus is very much on prevention; protecting postmasters from external crime and security threats, while also refining processes to help reduce errors and helping postmasters to run a compliant operation.
We will tell you more about all of this work in your next One Business Update – out soon. We appreciate there’s always going to be more we could do, but we hope you see this as a step in the right direction as we continue to look at how we can best support you and your business.
If you have ideas you’d like us to consider as we are working to remove the causes of errors through simpler transaction design or Horizon screen prompts, we’d love to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.