Post Office Network Business Development Group Report
On January 20th 2016, the Post Office Network Business Development Group Report was launched by Chairperson Bobby Kerr and the Minister for Communications Alex White. The Report – developed in consultation between the IPU, Government and An Post – set out a blueprint for the serious challenges facing the Network, included recommendations on how these could be addressed and put in place two Working Groups to progress the issues.
To progress the recommendations of the Bobby Kerr Chaired Report, two Working Groups were established.
Working Group 1: Network Renewal
The Network Renewal Working Group was established in February 2016 to ‘Develop a Five Year Strategy for the Network’. This group was Chaired by Bobby Kerr and included the Government, as shareholder, represented by the Departments of Communications and Social Protection, the Irish Postmasters’ Union and An Post.
The Group was overseen by the then Minister for Communications, Alex White, with authority to call on input from other Government Departments when relevant.
The Group was due to Report by Autumn 2016 to deal with issues such as:
- Government support for the Post Office Network as provider of choice for Social Protection payments (either in cash or epayment)
- A five year plan for the future size and distribution of the network
- Roll out of new government services business to Post Offices
- Roll out of a Post Office based epayment account
- Development and agreement on new Postmaster contracts.
Working Group 2: Service Hubs
A parallel Working Group to ‘Develop a Nationwide Pilot of Post Office Service Hubs’ was also established in February 2016. The Group was to run a pilot programme for developing rural Post Offices as ‘Service Hubs’ which would extend citizen access in rural areas to transport and health services.
The Group was Chaired by the then Minister of State for Regional Economic Development, Michael Ring, and included representation from Postmasters, relevant Government Departments and An Post. The group aimed to have Pilots in place by late 2016.