Mutuo has welcomed today’s Government response to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills consultation “Building a Mutual Post Office.” The consultation, which sets out the building blocks towards securing a mutual post office, revealed enthusiasm amongst subpostmasters, staff and the wider public for a stake in the Post Office.
Mutual businesses can deliver greater staff engagement, lower staff turnover and higher customer satisfaction. Evidence shows they are less affected by economic downturns than other types of business. Post Office branches play a crucial role at the heart of communities up and down the country, and the Government believes that giving those who know the Post Office best greater involvement through a mutual structure could harness these benefits.
Peter Hunt, Chief Executive of the mutuals advocacy organisation, Mutuo, said: “This is another exciting piece of news for the mutuals’ sector. Coming on the back of Lloyds’ decision to sell 632 of its branches to the Co-operative Bank last week, it’s clear to us that mutual businesses – whether they be consumer owned, employee owned or a combination of both – are increasingly being turned to as a serious alternative. Mutuo has worked closely with BIS throughout this process and we warmly welcome today’s news. Of course the challenge now is to ensure that a mutualised Post Office really delivers for its staff, its customers and the taxpayer.”
The Government’s response concludes that:
· The future membership of a mutual Post Office should include staff and subpostmasters. There must also be a formal role for consumer engagement.
· A successful mutualisation depends on the business’s financial sustainability and long term commercial viability.
· Before mutualisation, a culture of mutual responsibility must be developed. The Post Office is also instilling improved ways of working at a local level to improve staff engagement and customer service.
· Clear protections would be established to ensure the primacy of the mutual’s public benefit purpose, consistent with the Postal Services Act.