After the Network Change Programme: The Future of the Post Office Network
HC 577, Sixth Report of Session 2007-08 – Report, Together with Formal Minutes and Written Evidence
- House of Commons – Business and Enterprise Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
This report from the Business and Enterprise Committee follows on from an earlier report from the same Committee on post office closures under the network change programme ('Post Office Closure Programme (HC 292-I)' - ISBN 9780215513663, available below), with responses to that report contained in the appendix. This report considers the responses received to the earlier report and looks at the future of the network.
Conclusions and recommendations include:
There is a need for timeliness in the Government's and Post Office Ltd's replies to the present situation in respect of post office closures.
There is no guarantee that there will not be further closures although the Government does not desire the post office network to shrink below 11,500 outlets and is investing £1.7 billion to safeguard the network.
The Committee regrets that the transfer of responsibility between Postwatch and the National Consumer Council is occuring at this critical time of change and that both Postwatch and the Post Office Ltd need to develop the new code of practice in respect of the onging network changes to the post office system and that this new code should be presented to Parliament before the Summer recess.
There should be a presumption against the closure of post offices where possible and a recognition of their social value to customers, since there seems to be little co-ordination between regulators, the Government and government departments - especially in regard of the withdrawal of payment services from the post office network.
It is unclear where the £57 million of savings will come from and the status of the Post Office Ltd (as a publicly owned monopoly supported by the taxpayer) and the Royal Mail Group (as a whole) requires that there is greater financial clarity and transparency of both their financial systems and status.
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