Today, 24 March 2021, we’ve have published our Annual Report & Accounts for 2019-20, which you can read in full here.
Some of the key points include:
- Underlying trading performance was strong, with a profit of £86 million (up from £60 million in 2018-19). This meant the business could better fund investment (a net £50 million) and support Postmasters (including a £19 million remuneration increase), as well as make progress towards commercial sustainability
- Areas we invested in during 2019-20 to better support Postmasters included:
- Introducing direct support from an Area Manager for every Postmaster
- Increasing remuneration, including for cash deposits and withdrawals, some Mails transactions, Mailwork services and for those running outreaches, and increased payments to Postmasters still receiving fixed remuneration (mainly Community status branches)
- Changing our operations and processes – including a new Loss Prevention team to work with Postmasters and Branch Support Centre changes such as a tiered support system
- Investment in training for Postmasters and their teams, including new field trainers and training centres
- Overall, however, we recorded a statutory loss of £307 million, largely because of the cost of settling the Postmaster litigation in December 2019 and the related legal costs; £153 million we have allocated towards the Historical Shortfall Scheme settlements (this scheme enabled current and former Postmasters who were not part of the litigation to make related applications); plus further expenses including £17 million allocated for the reduction in value on the balance sheet reflecting the impact of Covid-19 on the travel and wider insurance market.
In his first Annual Report & Accounts statement since joining the business, Chief Executive Officer Nick Read said: “Maximising the potential of Postmasters should be the priority and we should behave accordingly. Sadly, this has not always been the case.
“The Post Office does not have a business without those working hard in branches every day, serving communities across the United Kingdom.
“Genuine value, for a business such as the Post Office, and one with an overarching social and public purpose, should not solely be represented by its ability to generate profit, important though that is.
“The real test is whether the business model enables our Postmasters to thrive – on that metric, we have more to do. To be successful, we must see this as a partnership above all else – one in which we are preoccupied only by what helps our Postmasters thrive.”