The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) contract with the Post Office is due to expire in March 2024. This loss is one of many issues which will result in the closure of post offices across the UK.
If the DVLA contract is permanently lost, this will have a negative impact on both postmaster remuneration and the viability of the whole network. Currently post offices carry out over 6 million DVLA transactions every year.
In addition, currently over half the DVLA transactions are made over post office counters in cash, however if the contract is lost the only option will be online payments. As we know, the digitally-excluded and vulnerable in society are those most impacted by this lack of offline presence, therefore the NFSP has questioned if this could result in a breach of the Equality Act 2010, and the government’s own policy on access to cash and social inclusion?
To support this campaign we’ve put together a toolkit to help you get involved and spread the word, so together we can achieve the number of petition signatures we need. These materials can be downloaded and put up in your branch, on your counter and shared through your digital channels. Click here to download the toolkit.
The Restrictions Policy is a clause that resides in every postmaster’s contract, which prohibits postmasters from transacting any work that conflicts with products and services that Post Office Ltd (POL) provide. When the clause was put in place, it included no timeline or review process, which resulted in the policy being undebated for years
During the 2023 annual NFSP Conference, the Restrictions Policy was debated amongst members. The debate raised some serious questions as to what the network would look like without the policy in place, and what sort of entrepreneurial freedom it would bring to postmasters.
Postmaster remuneration has been decreasing in line with inflation and the cost of living. 70% of recent members report earning the equivalent to the National Minimum Wage or less. To highlight how this impacts on the state and viability of the network, the NFSP regularly meets with government and stakeholders to highlight this issue using insights gained from our monthly remuneration survey.
Following the closure of the Network Transformation programme in 2018, PO now hold a Hard to Place (HtP) register which covers offices that have not found a Potential New Postmaster (PNP) due to location, declining footfall and low remuneration etc.
These HtP offices receive a fixed remuneration from PO and have a year-to-year agreement to continue with this. The NFSP pushes to extend this agreement every year while highlighting the state of limbo faced by HtP postmasters.
Government services have been consistently taken from post office counters over recent years, despite being called ‘the front office of government’ in the past. Without these footfall drivers, customer visits have been declining year on year (20 million customers per week in 2020, now down to around 10 million per week).
Remuneration for most PO services barely covers the time, therefore independent business are ‘propping up’ a wholly government-owned business. Recent research found that 75% of respondents believe that their retail side subsidises their post office business.
To ensure network viability for the future, we need footfall drivers, and these include government services. The NFSP regularly asks government to bring services such as one-year passports and driving licences back to the counter.
Reduced Banking Deposit Limits
Business cash deposit limits, set inline with Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recommendations, have recently been reduced by a number of banks. These limits impact on the amount personal and business banking customers can deposit at post office counters, with bank communications pointing towards their local bank branch as an alternative.
However, following a long-term bank branch closure programme, numerous branches that have closed, with many more are scheduled to close over the coming months.
Many smaller businesses are located in areas without a local bank branch, therefore often the businesses will need to reduce the amount of cash they themselves accept, with in turn impacts on the local area’s access to cash, or transport the cash themselves which raises security concerns.
For a complete briefing on how we are campaigning about this issue, please see HERE.
Support our campaigns
If you would like to alert your local community via the local press, of letters sent to your MP or issues facing the network, please email email@example.com who will be happy to help
We would encourage members to post the PDF versions of letters sent to MPs on their social media so customers are aware and can actively engage in calling for change and support for postmasters. If you would like any social media advice or support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org