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How the NFSP advocates and represents postmasters

Jan 9, 2024 |

The National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP) is urging all postmasters to stand together and unite with the NFSP.

As we begin a new year, the NFSP wants to reflect on achievements relating to our work advocating and representing postmasters in recent times.

Now more than ever is the time to focus our energies on both Government and Post Office Ltd (PO) to ensure that the culture within PO does actually change and is united for the good of all postmasters.

Whilst we cannot always go into specific details about meetings with Post Office Ltd (PO), we are always challenging PO and holding them to account for the benefit of our members.

Yesterday we sent an open letter to Postal Affairs Minister Kevin Hollinrake in which we called for the governance of Post Office Ltd to be radically altered and for PO to be placed in voluntary receivership with the Board immediately removed.

In recent times, we have represented postmasters on the following matters:



Postmaster remuneration has been decreasing in line with inflation and the cost of living. 70% of members in 2021 reported 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 NFSP pressure, PO agreed to a one-off payment, paid in September 2022 remuneration, to try to help with the cost-of-living crisis.



PO now agree on policies with the NFSP. Any contractual issues have to follow policy process and can be challenged by the NFSP to ensure that process has been followed.



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 PO 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 NFSP Annual 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, which is why we are lobbying for this clause to be removed.



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 postmaster time, therefore independent businesses 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 back to the counter.

With the support of the majority of postmasters, the NFSP drove a petition to keep DVLA services in post offices last year.

A new one-year rolling contract was agreed in December. Without the NFSP’s support, DVLA services could have been lost from post offices.

Social media content was provided for both the DVLA campaign and also to encourage customers to not boycott their local post office following the ITV drama ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’.



The NFSP has challenged the cost and timing of NBIT. The NFSP will continue to engage with PO and will not allow the roll-out of this system until we are satisfied it is fit for purpose.



The NFSP holds an annual Conference and Retail Show. Members have the opportunity to connect with fellow postmasters, PO representatives and NFSP colleagues, while industry experts and senior leaders share their knowledge.



In April 2023, PO started to impose uncompensated closure notices on some outreach provisions. It was brought to the NFSP’s attention by a number of postmasters in early June 2023.

PO’s initial comment was that they could contractually change the outreach model in each core office. The NFSP challenged this, and eventually PO backed down and agreed to consultation meetings with the NFSP.

This resulted in a letter being sent to all core postmasters outlining proposals that would include compensation for costs, due to the changes proposed by PO and agreed by any postmaster.



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.

The NFSP objected to PO’s proposal in 2020 for all post offices to be put back on community contracts. PO eventually backed down and rolled out the programme for another three years until February, 2023.

PO then without consultation imposed a reduction in compensation as they wanted to close the HtP programme by March 2025. Since then, the NFSP has engaged with solicitors and PO to try to find a solution as we are very much against the imposition.

The NFSP is currently in the process of writing to the compensation board outlining that PO are treating postmasters no differently to postmasters of the past.

Recently we have been advised that Jo Swinson presented to parliament in an oral statement in 2014 a document that advised of a payment to PO of £640million to complete the network transformation programme.

The NFSP are currently trying to ascertain where that money has been spent as the programme has not been completed. If that money had been protected by ringfencing, HtP would not potentially be losing 14 months of compensation.



Despite the NFSP’s concerns, PO insisted on rolling out Drop & Collect branches as a trial in April 2022. Following many discussions with the NFSP, PO finally agreed that a review panel would be set up to look at any office that had seen a reduction in customer sessions / remuneration over a six-month period following the opening of a nearby Drop & Collect.

Anyone who has concerns should contact the NFSP for advice.



This was an initiative driven by Openreach. Initially postmasters had to pay in full for a phone that had to be associated with it.

Following extensive challenges from the NFSP NET team, the desk phone is now fully funded for £52.52 and the portable phone is available for the discounted rate of £125.68 (full price minus £52.52).

The NFSP has saved each post office £52.52.



The NFSP has challenged the historical ATM rates in Scotland, which some councils apply extra rates to.



From September 2022, following extensive discussions with the NFSP, PO agreed to pay for the repair of these tills where applicable for all local model offices.

We continue to discuss with PO that this extends to all Mains offices as well.



In 2022, the NFSP set up an advocacy team to ensure PO policies and procedures are followed prior to any contractual issue that could be imposed on a postmaster. Any postmaster who feels we can help should contact NFSP direct.



Cash deposits made at post office counters were reduced following advice from the FCA to prevent money laundering. The NFSP has met with Government ministers, MPs, the FCA, PO, Link, and Citizens Advice to highlight the impact this has on postmaster remuneration.



The NFSP has met with Citizens Advice, the Rural Services Network and other stakeholders to draw attention to the importance of rural post offices to their community.



We have raised issues around the non-collection of parcels and the sometimes priority of parcels over letters.



The NFSP lobbied for increased remuneration via the BF3.



The NFSP has been fully engaged with the HSS and have monthly meetings which update us on progress of applications and offers/payments made. Following NFSP intervention, the HSS scheme was opened up to late claimants in October 2022, and currently remains open for new claims.



The NFSP organises events throughout the nations to ensure politicians are aware of postal issues in their constituency.



The NFSP Benevolent Fund is a registered charity with the aim to provide assistance quickly when it is most needed. For more information, click here. 



The NFSP launched a campaign to raise awareness of two issues threatening the post office community. The NFSP called for the Energy Business Relief Scheme to be extended beyond March 2023. The NFSP also outlined how reduced cash deposits would result in less remuneration for postmasters.

The NFSP set up a template letter for postmasters to send to their local MP and guidance was produced on our website. Images were produced for postmasters to use on their social media accounts.

Click here for the #LoveYourLocalPostOffice campaign.



The NFSP launched a campaign to encourage customers to buy postage for parcels and cards in their local post office, rather than online.

Click here for the Take That Step campaign.



The NFSP has generated press coverage across the United Kingdom for the DVLA campaign and to encourage customers to continue to support local post offices, in response to the ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’ TV drama and the threat of a boycott.


Tags: Communication, Media, Membership, Post Office