Policy

Ensuring the future of the universal postal service and Post Office network services

Supporting detail:

Funding and modernising the Post Office network

The government’s strategic policy for the future of the Post Office network sees a network with minimum of 11,500 post office branches being maintained with the company becoming more sustainable and viable.

Since 2010 the government has committed almost £2.billion in funding for the network which will help Post Office Ltd to maintain and protect a network of at least 11,500 branches and to provide funding for the modernisation of thousands of branches under the Network Transformation Programme.

The government also believes that a mutually owned Post Office Ltd, with employees, subpostmasters, and communities all working together could be ideally suited to the economic and social role that post offices play in communities up and down the country.

In 2011 the government on the move towards an agreed model for a mutual Post Office. Our response to the consultation was published in July 2012. Since then, the Post Office has established the Stakeholder Forum to help define the public benefit purpose of the Post Office. The Post Office will shortly publish further details of the steps it is taking to build a mutual future.

The Post Office network strategy

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is responsible for setting the strategic policy for the Post Office network and for agreeing Post Office Ltd’s business plan.

Post Office Ltd is responsible for managing the network of around 11,800 post office branches in the UK. The vast majority (around 97%) are operated by franchise partners or subpostmasters, who are independent business people. Only a small number of post offices are directly managed by Post Office Ltd.

Post Office Ltd provides access to around 170 products, including mail, financial, government and telephony services.

The government believes the Post Office needs to adapt to changing customers needs by offering customers what they want - longer opening hours, quicker service, high retail standards and convenient locations. To achieve this, Post Office Ltd is introducing new ways of working that will improve the customer experience, reduce operating costs and improve the financial sustainability of the network.

The government’s £2 billion funding package includes support for Post Office Ltd’s Network Transformation Programme, which will see all branches either modernised or protected by 2018. The government has made a clear commitment that the will be no programme of closures.

In return for this funding, the Post Office is required to maintain a network of at least 11,500 branches, and continue to meet the strict government-set access criteria that see, for example, 99% of the population living within three miles of a post office outlet.

The government’s detailed statement on the future of the post office network ‘Securing the Post Office Network in the Digital Age’ was published on 9 November 2010 and explains our plans to secure its future.

The Postal Services Act 2011 requires the Post Office to produce an annual report on its network, which is laid before Parliament. A copy of Post Office Ltd’s latest report, the - The Post Office Network Report 2013 can be found on its website

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