The IPU believes that there is huge potential to further develop the positive role that Post Offices play in our communities.
Post Offices can be developed into a nationwide resource of front offices for offline / face-to-face Government, Local Authority and commercial services – such as all State payments and forms, basic banking and retail services.
A world class IT system is in place in all Offices, with the smallest rural Offices technically capable of providing the same services as the GPO, meaning that no significant infrastructure upgrade is required to grow Post Office business. The cost of maintaining a meaningful Network for communities is not high, but it can only happen into the future as a result of political commitment.
Government and An Post hold decision making authority on what services are provided through the Post Office. This authority does not lie with Postmasters.
In terms of developing the Network’s role as a community based front office for core services, additional services which can be provided include:
- Motor tax
- Licences and renewals
- Identity verification
- Community information, IT / Office hub, etc.
- Local Hubs for health and transport services
- Tourism services.
Core importance of Social Protection Contract to Post Offices
The Social Protection contract and the transactions it generates are fundamental to the business model of the Post Office, accounting for more than 30% of all business. Postmasters are opposed to this business being handed over to the private commercial banks. Consumers should have a freedom to choose, but the Post Office should be promoted and supported, by the State, as the provider of choice.
There are many benefits to cash collection such as:
- It assists significantly in minimising welfare fraud
- Uncollected monies are returned to the Department
- Cash collection is free for the citizen, while bank transfer involves a user transaction fee.
In 2021 the Post Office Network serves 1.3m customer per week and carries out 30 million DEASP transactions per annum. The Network facilitates €4.6billion in cash payments.
It is estimated that this cash carries a multiplier effect of at least two in the local economy and collection of payments in person at Post Offices is also a fraud deterrent.