Postmaster Event - October 2021

Click the links below to scroll to the sections:

Relationship with the NFSP
Postmaster Director
Contracts
Banking services
Pick Up and Drop Off / Click and Collect services
Watch a replay of the event

 


nfsp

Relationship with the NFSP

In the interest of building trust with PMs will you recognise other organisations other than the NFSP to represent them? As a relatively new postmaster how can I trust NFSP to negotiate the best deal for postmasters when they are funded by Pol/ Can you please to make sure that the nfsp are together with the Postoffice to help our members and colleagues. Profitable business for all needs to include retail help within the network where is our channel to support retail outside our Post Office services

Post Office is committed to continue to collaborate and cooperate with the NFSP as we continue to reset our relationship with Postmasters, whilst also driving forward other ways for postmasters to become involved in a range of issues associated with the future direction of Post Office, for example through the creation of a new Postmaster engagement framework and the new monthly regional forums. We recommend Postmasters to actively participate in the regional forum to raise their concerns - click here to read more.

The NFSP has a strong track record of challenging Post Office on important issues when necessary. NFSP challenge us at a policy and contractual level, and will continue to have a wider relationship engagement, for example, negotiations around remuneration will continue with NFSP.

POL funding given does not prevent the NFSP from putting postmasters’ interests first but to ensure that Postmasters interests are properly represented through NFSP. All their activities are focused on benefiting NFSP members, which is the core purpose of NFSP. NFSP supports many Postmasters each year on a range of issues, including accounting, problems with third parties like Royal Mail, legal advice and support through the NFSP Benevolent Fund.


director

Postmaster Director

Can more clarity please be provided on what the new Postmasters Director will actually do for Postmasters. How and when should we expect updates from them? How would they be contacted? What should our realistic expectations be from them? They are not our Area/Regional Manager or one of our representatives?

Hithendra Cheetirala has been appointed as our first ever full-time Postmaster Director. A key part of Hithendra’s role will be to bring the Postmaster voice into our day-to-day business and lead on meaningful and well co-ordinated Postmaster engagement and also the first point of contact for NFSP in the POL. For example, Hithendra will take forward our new engagement framework, in particular the new Monthly Regional Forums. We are recruiting volunteer Postmasters now – click here to read more. The Forums will be a key place to discuss and resolve day-to-day operational issues. Hithendra will also look at how best to share forum updates so you are aware of discussions, issues and progress of any actions. Your day-to-day contact will continue to be your Area or Regional Manager.


contracts

Contracts

When might we expect a new contract for PMs?
We don’t want to overcomplicate matters and while there have been some changes to the contract for new postmasters we won’t be issuing new contracts to all current postmasters at the moment. Instead we have provided a summary of the judgment applying to contracts and what this changes in the contracts, which we published on One here.

Can I ask whether I am a franchisee with a franchise agreement? If yes.......when did this contractual change occur? If no, why do the area managers and regional managers now come under the title of 'Franchise partnering'?
We’ve started to use the words franchise and franchise partnering to demonstrate the significance of our relationship with you, our Postmasters. In particular, using this language helps our colleagues, clients, suppliers understand the culture shift we are creating around how we want to work with, engage and treat Postmasters, as franchise and business partners.


banking

Banking services

Will there be the option of using international cards for cash withdrawals as a need to meet our overseas tourists especially in rural areas where an ATM is no available...and Will we be able to take payments for our customers credit card going forward in banking framework 3?
The Banking Framework has been established to serve UK banks, and through the framework we are able to charge banks for the transactions you perform in branch. The framework does not extend to foreign banks and therefore at this stage we don’t have an agreement to serve, and importantly charge, for their transactions. It is a good question and we will explore if there are other ways we could extend our cash withdrawal services to international cards in the future, but at this stage it is not possible.

What are the security measures for banking transactions where anyone can do banking anytime regardless during opening or closing hours using horizon system? How we as postmasters can protect ourselves from the bud loss of unsecured transaction?

The only transactions that will ever get authorised (by the banks – who have full control) will be legitimate transactions on known accounts. Those transactions happen 24/7. If you would like to give a specific example, the please email postmastersquestions@postoffice.co.uk and we can give a better answer.

We need more products and new services and new banking opportunity

We continually work with the banking industry to explore how we can extend the services we offer at the counter. By our very nature, we cannot extend into long duration conversations (mortgages, insurance, pensions etc) at the counter, but we are seeking more transactional products extending our services in withdrawals and deposits.

Postmasters have not felt the additional banking payments as there was less cash coming over the counter due to the pandemic and the move to contactless. So how do we know what additional payments are we to expect from these new banking payments/3-4 YEARS is hardly long term planning for sustainability..is POL banking strategy really still only picking up the crumbs left by the banking giants  who are using our resources to do their work

I’d challenge the assertion that we are ‘picking up the crumbs’. What we offer now is central to the protection of, and access to, cash across the whole country. The banking industry will continue to close its branches (which, let us not forget, serve their customers for much more than just cash) so we are not simply enabling them to close – they have multiple reasons to do what they are doing. We have one role – support communities left behind. It is a role we do extremely well, and we are working to develop the last series of Banking Framework 3 year deals into an evolved 10 year agreement fully supported by Government legislation, industry partnership, and evolving services that will see Post Offices central to their communities for cash for many years to come. The new Banking Framework will provide us with the opportunity to consider how we help you with your profitability.

Can we not get the £1300 cash counters earlier than waiting for the new ATM's to help us with the banking/Branches are doing massive increases in banking. Why are we not supplied with note counters by post office to count these huge amounts of extra notes. Not fair we have to pay for these counters.

We are looking at the whole area of banking automation, including various models of how we can help postmasters get equipment they need to manage to the increasing scale, volume and value of cash – sometimes directly, sometimes in partnership with Postmasters where benefits from cash automation could extend to any co-located retail operations.

Note counter offers are available through the NFSP, who have negotiated some great deals for you. You can read more here, https://nfsp.org.uk/news/view?name=exciting-new-product-launch-for-nfsp-members

Business banking, the amount that is deposited now that the amount has been lowered many businesses are complaining about having to deposit leave the shop then deposit etc. This can be very time consuming and dangerous regarding standing outside of the business for longer periods. Is there not a way forward to help company's etc, William hill, Dixon's, to bank using one transaction if they are regular users to the Post Office.

We are actively working with Government and security agencies (who are increasingly concerned about money laundering, and who have reacted by seeking these lower limits per transaction) and the banks (who have asked us to implement the lower limits that cause these challenging customer journeys) to find better ways to achieve the same end goals.

Much of this will depend on how we can implement greater checks at eth point of deposit, such that our well known and high volume customers can continue to use a helpful (single deposit) service, whereas unknown or transient customers will need higher checks (or these lower limits) until we are sure of the provenance of the cash they are depositing.

I’m sure everyone will understand that we have to stamp out crime, and not be a channel through which this laundering is done, perhaps our customers – if we explain why these short-term lower limits are being imposed – would also be understanding. We are working at pace to find better solutions to this problem.

As we are servicing the Banks, can we not get free business banking for all Sub Post Masters

Cashplus Bank, which is a member of the Banking Framework, has teamed up with the National Federation of Subpostmasters (NFSP) to provide some added features and offers for Postmasters on its Business Bank Account. You can read more here.


pudo

Pick Up and Drop Off / Click and Collect services

When will branches be notified they are getting a PUDO service?
The plan is to roll-out either DPD or Amazon to about 3,000 branches before peak.  Rollout will then be suspended over Xmas peak and restart in 2022.  Branches should be notified two weeks before their due to go live to allow time for training and operational setup.

Have you considered space problems for DPD & Amazon deal . It is easy for you guys to get a deal. Also you are making enemies with Royal Mail as they may get other outlets to deal with their products as we did with B. T. 
Yes, space is a key point for PUDO. The scale of all Click and Collect is small compared to our core sales volumes meaning even the smaller branches have been able to offer the service without problems, however please discuss capacity concerns with your Area Manager. It is also worth noting that the maximum time an item can stay in a branch is 8 days before it is returned to Amazon or DPD (Royal Mail is 18 days) and we are seeing items leaving branches much quicker than that with up to 50% of parcels collected the same day they are delivered in and near 80% by the end of the following day. 

I have a question regarding amazon and dpd.  Will everyone be able to offer that service?  If not, then how will the allocation be done?  Since I am a part time post office, where do i stand /Hi just want to find out about the dpd and amazon.  As my area manager is not answering or let’s say he don’t have a answer for my some of questions so pls some one can give my answer for how post office will decide the how to give?
Our ambition is that as many branches as possible benefit from hosting PUDO services for one or more new clients. Ultimately, these new clients select branches based on their need to a) be able to reach chosen branches logistically and b) ensure they have customer volume to deliver. 

Are we going to be able to offer other courier services other than RM over the counter? /Can we see a time, and if so how close is it that a customer will be served (incredibly well might I add) and offered a postal option delivered by a number of different carriers, not just Royal Mail but DPD and so on. 
Offering Click and Collect services is just the first step on what is a major new journey for Post Office and it will be followed by new services and clients. It is too early to say if this includes selling other people’s products, particularly as we need to remember few other carriers are as trusted and familiar to our customers as Royal Mail.

What about the 8000 Post Offices who will have no Amazon or DPD. we are one organisation and all Postmasters should be able to benefit from PUDO.
Absolutely agree. The 3000 is driven by the standard operational need of Post Office and our clients to pause deployment over Christmas peak period. Deployment will continue in the new year with as many branches as possible being enabled with one or more services.

I can’t understand why Postoffice kept the same fees for DPD local collect. I was excited for new service for our branch and extra income but after area manager told us, we getting same fees as we do with Royal Mail.
While the base income rates are the same as for Royal Mail Local Collect, for Amazon and DPD there is additional remuneration available to Postmasters if a parcel is scanned within 1 hour. You will receive the details when you go live with the service in your branch.

Will we start returns through DPD ? Currently trials are only for collection and not Home Shopping Returns?
We want to be the preferred place for consumers to pick up or drop off their e-commerce parcels, which includes being able to offer returns. We have started with Click and Collect and still need to overcome some remaining technical and operational challenges with Home Shopping Returns (HSR). We will keep you updated on developments.

With PUDO growing what other couriers are you talking too? 
We would love to share further details but these are sensitive commercial negotiations so we can’t say anything at this stage. When there is news to share, we will make sure Postmasters hear from Post Office first!


event

You can watch a replay of the event here.

And here are the speaker notes.