The Post Office Network
Consultation Response Form
The closing date for this consultation is 8 March 2007
You may find it helpful to set out your responses to the consultation using this
Name: Adrian C Grant
Organisation‟s name and remit (if applicable):
Freuchie Community Council
Email: [ ]
Return completed forms (preferably by e-mail) to:
Postal Office Network Consultation
Department of Trade and Industry
1 Victoria Street
Fax: 00 44 (0) 20 7215 5329
Please cross one box from the following list of options that best describes you.
X Interest Group
X Regional Organisation
X Other (please specify) Community Council
Please feel free to answer as many or as few questions as you wish. It is
helpful if you can explain your views as fully as possible in the comments
boxes, especially where you disagree with the proposals set out in the
Question 1. Do you think the Government‟s forward strategy for the post office network addresses all the key issues and challenges the network faces?
The challenges faced by the network are those set by the Government. The
government could change the rules of engagement at any time. Thus the
Government‟s “forward strategy”, supposedly for the Post Office Network, far
from offering solutions to the Post Office simply echoes pre-determined
Government policy and is constrained by Government-set parameters.
The question is, therefore, unhelpful.
Question 2. Are there other significant factors affecting the future of the post office network which appear to have been overlooked in the Government‟s proposed approach?
The Government claimed to be in favour of “Joined Up Government”. Any
policy which forces more and more people to travel farther and farther for their
services contributes to Global Warming and hence the end of the world.
Intelligent, “joined-up” thinking would include the environmental costs of the proposed course of action.
Post Office users should not be made to pay for government and corporate
idiocy such as the “Consignia” fiasco.
Question 3. Do you have comments on the national access criteria proposed?
We are not interesting in bandying criteria by which we or others may later be
Freuchie is a village of rather over 1200 people. Many of them are old. Quite
apart from the moral issue involved (see Q2 above) any criteria the result of
the application of which meant that people had to leave the village to access a
post office would be utterly unacceptable.
If it were the case that the Freuchie Post Office were not itself “economically
viable” then we, the Community, through the Community Council, would want
to know all about the problems so that we could consider community based
solutions to addressing the specific problems making this so.
At the moment even most of our old people are able to walk to the post office.
In other cases professional carers can go to the post office for them at
minimal cost in time or effort. Many of our old people do not have a car and
should in any case be being discouraged from using them if they DO have
them. If our post office were closed many people would be required to take a
bus several miles to the nearest post office and would then be forced to hang
about the streets like aging hoodies in the cold and the rain for an hour or more until a bus could be got to return (there are no convenient facilities for
them in the neighbouring villages). Thus in effect you would be requiring them
to occupy a whole morning or afternoon just to be able to get to the post
Then there is the matter of the cost. For some people, of course, a bus pass
may be free, but for many the cost of travelling to the nearest post office
makes an utter mockery of the economics of using the facility. This in turn
would lead to an excuse for even more closures and the development of an
increasingly mediaeval service.
Do you have comments on the access criteria proposed for deprived urban
and rural areas?
There should be no “criteria”. Any proposed closure should stand or fall on its own merits. Full consideration should be given to environmental costs etc.
Question 5. Do you have any suggestions as to how services might be better
delivered through the post office network?
Mistakes already made should be corrected. We recognise but cannot accept
the pressure/thrust for marketisation. A service ethic must be reinstated.
It was not appropriate to stop the use of post offices for the payment of the TV
licence and this facility should be restored. People should not be put under
pressure to stop other eg utility payments via post offices. The sell-off of Girobank was a mistake, but all banks should be REQUIRED to offer
competitively priced services through post offices. Not only that but the government MUST provide its OWN simple banking services for all those
who, for whatever reason, do not wish to use the commercial banking system
– which is antithetical to eg Muslim financial practices (and hence
Government policy is discriminatory).
More post offices would be „viable‟, even under Government criteria, if they
were allowed to do more. There is no good reason for eg commercial banks to
be allowed to siphon off (profitable) government business.
Question 6. Do you have any comments on Outreach arrangements as a
means of maintaining service to small and remote communities?
Is would be outrageous of such a system were offered to us. In general this
may be appropriate in some cases, but where so it is essential that due consideration is given to people‟s health and comfort.
Question 7. Do you have comments on the practicality of community
ownership of parts of the post office network, which might involve the transfer
of assets to community organisations and/or the establishment of local mutual
or co-operative organisations to own and run local services?
We do not think this would be relevant in our case, but would consider it if it