- Jo Swinson today visits Uddingston Post Office near Glasgow to mark the milestone of 1,000 branch modernisations in the Network Transformation scheme
- Post Office transforming thousands of branches as part of £1.34 billion investment programme
- customers across the UK are benefiting from improved branches and longer opening hours
- Post Office also signs a seven-year extension to provide Passport Check & Send services
Postal Affairs Minister Jo Swinson today visited Uddingston Post Office near Glasgow to celebrate Post Office this week reaching 1,000 branch conversions as part of its £1.34 billion plans to modernise the network.
The Post Office will be transforming thousands of its branches by 2015 to ensure customers benefit from longer service hours in brighter, more open and modern retail environments. Over 1,750 branches have so far signed contracts to convert.
Post Office has also signed a seven-year Agreement with Her Majesty’s Passport Office to continue to provide Passport Check & Send services. During her visit to Uddingston, the Minister welcomed the Agreement, which is the first to be awarded through the contract won by Post Office in a competitive tender last year, enabling the organisation to provide certain government counter services.
Postal Affairs Minister Jo Swinson said:
I am delighted to visit Uddingston Post Office today to celebrate the modernisation of the Post Office. Reaching 1,000 conversions is a significant milestone.
The fact that the Post Office has secured the future of the Passport Check & Send service is a great example of Post Office acting as a front office for government services. It also opens up the opportunity to bring in digital services in the future which could speed up passport applications. This is all part of delivering a stronger Post Office which can serve customers in the modern age.
The Post Office is at the heart of so many communities, providing vital services to residents and businesses. With more than 11,500 branches, its network provides unparalleled reach into our cities, towns and villages up and down the country. We know how important Post Offices are, which is why we are investing £1.34 billion to modernise Post Offices so they can open longer, offer more services, and have a secure future.
Paula Vennells, Post Office Chief Executive, said:
It’s fantastic to have reached the landmark 1,000th branch to be modernised through the largest investment programme in the history of the Post Office. Our customers have welcomed the improved, more modern environments and longer service hours. The programme has already resulted in an extra 20,000 opening hours across the network, offering real convenience for customers and extra footfall for the retailers that operate the branches.
I am also delighted that Post Office continues to win and retain key contracts to provide services such as Passport Check & Send. This is good news for Post Office operators, and it allows customers easy access to this service with over 95 per cent of people within five miles of their nearest Check & Send-ready branch.
The Passport Check & Send service is an easy way for people to get their passport application right first time. It offers peace of mind that the passport application, documents and photos meet the approved standard and is delivered securely to Her Majesty’s Passport Office.
The network transformation programme focuses on introducing new operating models, improving the experience for customers by offering longer service hours in modern retail environments, while also helping the financial stability of the network.
Uddingston Post Office is an example of a new model of Post Office. Funding from the Network Transformation Programme has helped modernise the branch, which is also now open for four and a half extra hours every Saturday.
Lisa Nayar, subpostmaster at Uddingston Post Office, said:
The transformation has been absolutely brilliant. The customers are very positive about it. It looks much bigger and brighter. The layout makes the most of the space we have really well.
It’s great that there’s word going around about the longer opening hours. We provide so many different services, including Passport Check & Send, car tax, foreign currency on demand, and it’s important that people know just how much we can do for them.
The government is committed to safeguard the future of the Post Office network. It has invested £1.34 billion of funding until 2015 to revitalise the network and make sure it is sustainable in the long term.
The Post Office network is at its most stable for decades. As part of the funding agreement, the Post Office has made a commitment to maintaining the network at its current size of around 11,800 branches.
Notes to Editors:
The Post Office already provides 170 different services and products spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards. It also offers telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.
The Post Office, now independent of Royal Mail, has an unrivalled national network of around 11,800 branches across the UK, more than all the banks and building societies combined, and sits at the heart of many communities across the country. It serves around 20 million customers a week and half of all small businesses.
The 1,000th sub Post Office to be modernised under the Network Transformation scheme opened in Penpont, Dumfries and Galloway, on 2 September.
Under the Front Office Counter Service Framework, Post Office Ltd already offers DVLA services for vehicle tax and driver licensing transactions. The Framework also allows the Post Office to offer similar front office services across government.
Post Office Ltd was awarded the contract in November 2012 after a rigorous and competitive process that followed a pan-European advertisement placed in December 2011.
The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:
- to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
- to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
- to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
- to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.