With renewed focus on our Intent to 2025 - and with our funding set for the next three years - we can be even clearer on what we need to achieve this year.
Therefore we will have just three priorities.
And all three are focused to benefit our Postmasters (to keep it simple and inclusive - that means everybody who is serving our customers day-in-and-day-out).
We know from our research with Postmasters that their number one priority is to increase their remuneration and profitability.
Improve Branch Profitability
Our first priority is therefore to improve Branch Profitability for all Postmasters – whether independents, strategic partners or our DMBs.
We know the year ahead will be a tough one for us all in light of growing inflation high energy prices, and increased taxes – and our Postmasters are no exception.
We will help improve Branch Profitability if we do all we can to grow sales, to take cost out at the centre and help take cost out for our Postmasters in running their Post Office.
We should make further progress to grow sales this year with new commercial opportunities.
Whether that’s ensuring the smooth implementation of our third Banking Framework, expanding our “Click and Collect” offering with more branches and more partners, as well as introducing new products for our Postmasters, like Western Union.
We should make progress to take cost out for our Postmasters for example as we enable more automation at some 100 branches with high cash volumes.
We should also be able to remunerate Postmasters more for the essential services they provide to communities right across the UK.
Our second priority for the year is to continue Transforming our Technology. We are underway in delivering an ambitious programme to replace Horizon with a new branch system that should underpin the future of our network by 2025. Built with Postmasters, for Postmasters, it will be faster, simpler, and more intuitive to use.
By April 2023, we expect to have around 400 branches operating as Drop and Collect formats independent of Horizon.
We will also be delivering a number of other essential IT improvements. By the end of the financial year, we should complete the migration from our Belfast data centres to enable cloud based technology.
We should also complete the migration of all our pin-pad payment terminals to a new Payment Cards Industry compliant ecosystem by the summer.
Our third and final priority for the year ahead is Rebuilding Trust.
We all know that we cannot realise our Intent to be a modern, successful retailer if we do not overcome our past shortcomings.
Rebuilding Trust means giving every possible assistance to the Inquiry as it assesses all the evidence available to establish what went wrong and ensure these failings cannot be repeated.
It also means delivering compensation to those affected as quickly as we possibly can.
By the end of the calendar year, we should have made offers to at least 95% of claimants to the Historical Shortfall Scheme.
And, for those with overturned historical convictions, we will ensure that interim payments are disbursed promptly and that settlements are reached with claimants in a timely and respectful manner.
And more widely, it means continuing to deliver operational and cultural changes across the business – ensuring they meet all the findings of the Horizon and Commons Issues Judgments.
Because as well as righting the wrongs of the past, we have a responsibility to ensure that all the lessons are learnt and such events can never happen again.
We know that Rebuilding Trust will take time.
This isn’t about quick fixes or easy wins, but a fundamental rebalancing in every part of the business.
So this year we will have only three priorities.
- Rebuilding Trust – focused on remedying the past.
- Improving Branch Profitability – the priority for the present.
- Transforming Technology – to help us realise a better future.