NFSP challenges Post Offices shutting Outreaches

The Post Office (PO) has been accused of going ‘behind the NFSP’s back' to shut down outreach services experiencing low demand

Rural Post Office generic

Messages sent to retailers from the trade group claim: ‘Post Office is contacting colleagues who operate Outreaches to either close a number of their locations or reduce the hours their Outreach outlets operate.

‘To be clear this is not an action that has been discussed or agreed to by the NFSP in accordance with every colleague’s contract with PO.’

Outreach branches, also known as mobile post offices, mostly serve hyper-rural communities with little access to standard PO branches. They are often run by nearby PO retailers who are paid for providing the service.

Read more: The NFSP raises concerns about the accessibility and convenience of the PO service, particularly in rural areas.

The NFSP continued that it had challenged the Post Office and ‘insisted’ that the plans are put on hold until the PO undertakes and concludes negotiations over the changes with the NFSP.

Public consultations show a number of outreach services closures were recently announced, including the Scottish villages of Lagwyne Hall,  West Kintyre, Skipness, Minard, Kirkoswald, Colmonell, Minishant, Dunure, Straiton and Kilmartin and In Pentewan in Cornwall.

Many of the closures are said to be related to low demand, according to the Post Office. A spokesperson told Better Retailing:  “In some cases, the van is visiting a village [where] there are little or no customers who require Post Office services on that day of the week.”

They said the PO reviews network provision to ensure that “limited funding continues to benefit the maximum number of customers”.

“Where we have outreach branches that are used very little, the ‘cost’ is often over a £25 subsidy per customer served,” they continued.  “Where a branch – including outreaches – has low and/or declining customers…we identify solutions that better meet evolving customer demand.”

The NFSP’s message to retailers stated: “Whilst we accept that Post Office should review the viability of the network, especially where taxpayers’ money is being used to maintain the network, this should not be done ‘behind the NFSP’s back’ and therefore suggest that where an Area Manager makes contact, that you politely decline any attempted conversation until such time as the NFSP has reached an amicable agreement with Post Office on your behalf.”


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