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NFSP CEO Calum Greenhow addresses delegates at Annual Conference

May 12, 2024 |

Chief Executive Officer Calum Greenhow addressed delegates at the NFSP Annual Conference today when he reviewed the past year but also looked ahead to the future of the post office network.

A video of the full speech will be available on the NFSP website in the coming days. Below are some of the key statements which Calum made, before a Q&A session took place.


Culture of Post Office Ltd

“It is easy for us as postmasters to sit here today and criticise the culture in Post Office Ltd (PO). Afterall, the events around the Horizon scandal show that as a business, its cultural attitude towards postmasters, their assistants and also Crown Office employees led to the injustices currently being considered at the Horizon Inquiry.

“This resulted in ruining so many people’s lives. Time after time, the Inquiry has heard that the cultural attitude from all levels of PO was to view postmasters as ‘subordinate’.

“As investors in the network, we want PO to not just survive, but actually thrive. We want to work with PO to face the competition and changing customer experience.  What we don’t want is a continuation of the imbalance between PO and postmasters.”


Toxicity in the network

“I have to highlight that there is a level of toxicity in the network which is unhelpful. Thankfully, it comes from just a small section of the network and some on the periphery.

“However, more and more colleagues are coming to me concerned that the comments on social media don’t resonate with them. The negativity amongst some does not speak for them. There is I believe a silent majority across the network that are being drowned out by a very vocal and toxic minority.”


The vision of the NFSP

“Our vision is to be the collective voice of post office operators offering members representation, support and solutions to realise the full potential of their businesses.             

“Our mission is to provide a membership-led organisation, supporting members to operate post office and retail outlets. To represent their interests at every level of policy and decision-making. We offer you as postmasters, an opportunity to belong to, and take part in, a community working together for a more successful future.”


The Horizon Inquiry

“As a postmaster throughout this period, I want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth as to how much at risk my family and I were at losing everything, and I am sure you all do too. It is important that I as a former postmaster, a former colleague, say how sorry I am to all those victims, whether postmaster, assistant or Crown Office employee, for what they have gone through over such an extended period of time. I am glad that finally, they are having their reputations restored and redress as to their losses financial and otherwise, provided.”


Challenging PO on behalf of postmasters

“We now have an agreed process with PO where we can raise a challenge on behalf of postmasters. Overall, we helped and supported 3,800 postmasters between April 2023 to March 2024.”


Oversight Committee

“There is a requirement for significant change in the governance structure of PO as a business. 

“Some suggest mutualisation as a solution, and we agree, when the time is right. However, we have to think what positivity there would be in bringing together such a diverse group of people with entrenched views and expect them to work collaboratively for the good of a newly mutualised business from day one? I believe that if PO was mutualised on the 31st of May, it would be bankrupt on the 1st of June. 

“The Oversight Committee is a way in which governance of PO can be improved whilst allowing these diverse groups to iron out their differences in readiness for mutualisation once there is stability in the culture and financial performance of the business.”   


Looking ahead

“Ultimately, the postmaster’s number one priority is income. We are a pragmatic group dedicated to the needs of our communities. For the vast majority of postmasters, we want to get up in the morning, open our post offices, serve our communities, pay our bills and provide for our families, close our post office and get on with our lives. However, we do want to be treated with respect by PO and Government, irrespective of the political party forming the Government.  

“A united collective of postmasters working in and through the NFSP can ensure that whatever Government is in power listens and understands the needs of over 7,000 small independent businesspeople who own and operate the network of 11,500 post offices across the country. This united collective of postmasters can influence PO for the good of the network.”