Policy & Campaigns News

Subpostmasters' service to the community

31 January 2014

The Post Office remains a highly valued institution at the heart of local communities, according to a major new NFSP survey.

However, the NFSP warns that if post offices are to maintain the essential services they currently provide to millions of individuals and small firms, the government must act now to provide promised new work.

The survey on subpostmasters' service to their local community found that nearly all post offices play a crucial role in tackling isolation. 90% of subpostmasters surveyed report that they help older people access benefits and pensions; while 85% of subpostmasters say they provide an ‘unofficial alert system’, checking the wellbeing of vulnerable members of the community.

In addition, three quarters of post offices regularly offer informal support and advice about official government, council and utility documents. And more than eight in 10 post offices support local business by advising on mail, cash and banking services - many to more than 100 business customers.

The NFSP survey also shows: 

  • The majority of post offices (57%) are the only place providing free cash withdrawals and banking facilities in the local area.
  • Three quarters of subpostmasters provide informal support, helping people with queries relating to benefits and pensions such as making phone calls and form filling.
  • 70% play an important role offering customers informal help and advice with other official services including council services, utilities and other central government services.
  • 90% of subpostmasters say their post office has an important role in preventing vulnerable people in their community from feeling isolated; while 94% say they have an important role in providing a focal point for their local community as a whole.
  • 54% of the post offices surveyed have between 20 and 100+ small business and sole traders as regular customers.
  • 95% say they have an important role in offering advice to businesses on mails services.
  • 90% say they have an important role in offering cash and banking services to small firms and sole traders.
  • For 63% of post offices, over half their customers walk to the post office.