The new Post Office service which allows customers to choose which parcel carrier to use has started to roll out across the network.
Customers are given the option to send their parcel through the Post Office or through other couriers like DPD or Evri. Selected branches have introduced the service in time for the peak Christmas delivery season.
However, National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP) Chair Tim Boothman says it is bringing challenges to smaller Post Offices:
“Over the last few weeks, we have been hearing positive feedback from the larger offices. However, we have also been hearing from single-counter post offices who are struggling with the sudden influx of parcels from the new carriers and we will push PO for solutions for these offices.”
RSN Chief Executive, Kerry Booth, recently met with the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Post Offices, Marion Fellows (Motherwell & Wishaw, SNP) to discuss the future of rural Post Offices, especially in light of the planned changes to DVLA services. Kerry said:
Earlier this year the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business & Trade, Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk & Malton, Con) reaffirmed his commitment to the Post Office network in a debate in the House of Commons. He told MPs:
“The post office network plays a unique and vital role as part of the UK postal system. Although consumers have more choice than ever when it comes to purchasing postal products, many still turn to bricks-and-mortar post offices. As the hon. Member rightly said, post offices are part of the social fabric of our communities….There are currently over 6,000 rural branches, which constitute 54% of the total post office network. Over 3,000 of those rural branches are described as the last shop in the village. Recent research highlights how vital these branches are….the Government have provided significant financial support to sustain the network nationally, adding up to more than £2.5 billion over the last 10 years. The Government are providing a further £335 million for the Post Office for the period between 2022 and 2025. As part of that support, the Government have committed to maintaining the annual £50 million subsidy to safeguard services in the uncommercial parts of the network until 2025.”
Meanwhile, the NFSP’s petition calling on the government to reverse its decision to remove DVLA services from the Post Office network from the Sunday 31 March 2024 has nearly reached its 9,000-signature target. The NFSP says it intends to deliver the petition, which can also be found as hard copies in local Post Office branches, to 10 Downing Street. You can view the digital petition here.
A DVLA spokesperson said:
“The Post Office currently provide a limited range of DVLA’s services and an extension to the current contract has been agreed until 31 March 2024.
“We want our customers to be able to access our services as quickly and as easily as possible, and the role of front office counter services will form part of the considerations of any future service offerings.”
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