Stronger Local Democracy: Parishes need to engage more with Post Office changes
Currently the post office network is undergoing its biggest restructuring in decades. The aim of this transformation programme is to maintain the size of a network of approximately 11,500 branches and ensure it is financially sustainable for the future by converting around three quarters of the network to new operating models.
We anticipate that around 3,000 larger town centre branches will convert to Post Office Mains and up to 5,500 smaller sub-post offices will convert to Post Office Locals. The transformation programme is likely to affect post office branches in your area, in many cases branches will relocate to alternative retail premises and in other cases there will be changes to the layout, environment and the range of services and products available.
As the statutory consumer watchdog for the post office network Citizens Advice monitors Post Office Ltd’s (POL) proposals for branch changes. Whilst Citizens Advice does not have a veto over proposals, your feedback is important to help us ensure POL take into account all concerns before making a final decision.
At just past the halfway point in the programme – due to finish in March 2018 – Citizens Advice expects the majority of remaining changes to involve branches relocating and is concerned about the potential impact on consumers’ ability to access essential services at new branches.
Citizens Advice operates a Code of Practice with POL which sets out how POL should communicate with individual consumers and local representatives. If POL plan to make changes to a post office in your local area, they are required to send a letter to the appropriate Parish or Town council. If you have received a letter from POL asking for feedback, Citizens Advice would urge you to submit specific feedback on how changes could impact on the ability of your local community to get to, into and access services inside the new branch, and if there are any local factors that need to be considered. Feedback can be submitted to POL through the following channels:
By Freepost, writing ‘FREEPOST Your Comments’ on the envelope
Through the customer helpline: 08457 22 33 44 or textphone: 08457 22 33 55
If you would like to know more about the post office transformation programme, would like to discuss a specific POL proposal or a change that has already taken place then please contact Citizens Advice through the following channels: