An introduction from our Chief Executive, Paula Vennells
"These are exciting times for the Post Office and I'm delighted to be able to set out the strategy which will drive us forward over the remainder of this decade. This marks a key moment in our journey towards a commercially sustainable future. The prize is a thriving business with a strong public purpose focusing more closely on customer need while reducing our reliance on the taxpayer.
These pages describe how we will get there, building on our approach of growth modernisation and customer excellence - putting the customer at the heart of our business and ensuring we are there when they want us, whether in our unrivalled branch network, online or on the phone".
The journey so far...
We are changing, and changing dramatically. We are transforming our business so that we can continue to meet your needs and improve the way we serve you.
Our unique branch network will remain at the heart of what we do, maintained at its current size but benefiting from modernisation and longer opening hours. We are also offering and developing new products – in financial services, mails, telecoms and as a key partner for the delivery of government services. All of this will put the Post Office on the path to securing financial sustainability in the long term.
There is no better indicator that the Post Office is changing than the experiences of customers in cities, towns and villages across the UK. Hundreds of branches have been transformed since 2012 and the evidence is that these changes are meeting with approval: customer satisfaction with the new branch models runs at 95%.We are now able to set out the crucial steps needed to drive forward our transformation, further build our business and ensure we are better placed to meet the demands of your changing lifestyles.
We are certain this can be achieved – certain because this is a unique business, trusted by millions of people, accessible to all and playing a critical role in connecting communities across the UK.
Securing the future
We are transforming so that we can continue to serve your changing needs.
We will complete the modernisation of our branch network. This, coupled with ambitious plans to grow our business and provide new digital platforms, will put us on the path towards commercial sustainability and reduced reliance on taxpayer subsidy.
We will maintain the branch network at around its current size.
With over 11,500 Post Office branches we have a physical and personal presence in the heart of communities across the UK. No one else comes close to having such a genuinely national footprint. Our strategy comes with a clear commitment – we will maintain our branch network at over 11,500 branches.
We will provide support for around 3,400 crucial community and outreach Post Office branches with a new £20 million programme.
Many of these branches will be the only shop left in the community, providing key services and sometimes acting as a crucial lifeline for vulnerable customers. As a commercial business with a public purpose we are absolutely committed to supporting this element of our network and will invest to help subpostmasters build their businesses.
We are developing what we offer our customers so we make the most of our national reach and the trust in which we are held.
We are developing our role as the number one mails retailer. For example, we want to use our national branch network to provide a quick and easy collect service for online packages.We are going to expand our range of financial products into new areas to offer simple, fair, transparent products and a credible value for money alternative to high street banks. We will significantly grow our income from financial services and neighbourhood banking by giving our customers want they want and need.
We want our branches to become a one-stop shop for small businesses. One in three Small to Medium businesses use their local Post Office every week and we want to do more to help them succeed. As thousands of our branches are also small businesses, we are ideally placed to offer this support.
We offer a valued personal touch in an increasingly impersonal digital age. We will remain a key partner for government in the delivery of services. As more government services are accessed online, the Post Office will have a role to play identifying those seeking to make a transaction.
We are also making it easier for our customers, who lead lives that are busier than ever, to use our services.
So we are extending the hours that many Post Office branches are open and modernising their premises so they are easier, more pleasant and faster to use. Over the past 18 months we have made great progress with over 1,400 branches being modernised in the way they look and work. More than nine out of ten of customers tell us they like the improvements so we will look to extend them right across our network. And to ensure our products and services can be accessed around the clock, we are launching a new digital platform. We are going to be wherever our customers are, whether it is close to home, to work or online.
We remain a publicly owned national business. While the Royal Mail has been privatised, we will not. By increasing our revenue through increased sales, we will be better able to sustain our network and meet our customers’ needs while reducing the taxpayers’ subsidy.
We now have a clear and achievable path to a strong, sustainable business. It is a path which, combined with new ways of working which involve more listening and learning from all those involved in the business, could see us eventually become mutually owned.