'An Post needs to change or there will be closures' - Kerr report on post office network published

A network renewal process is being established immediately

An Post, post offices, survival, retail, banking, broadband, Alex White, Post Office Network Business Development Group, Bobby Kerr

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

The future of post offices is at risk if they cannot identify a new business model.

That is according to the Communications Minister Alex White, who was speaking following a report into the future of post offices.

It makes a number of recommendations including establishing a current account-style bank account service.

A post office network renewal process, recommended in the report, is being established immediately and will conclude its work within six months.

It will build on An Post's existing five-year strategy for the network and address the number and spatial distribution of branches, branch modernisation, the streamlining of products and services, postmaster payments and contracts, and training and qualifications for post office staff.

The government has also agreed:

  • To support the introduction and roll-out, by An Post, of an 'ePayment Account' in 2016
  • To establish the feasibility of offering motor tax services in post offices, consistent with the Kerr report

The report's 23 recommendations cover a number of areas including network renewal, financial services, government services, white labelling, and social capital and enterprise.

Minister of State Ann Phelan welcomed the report's recommendation of a nationwide pilot to identify the potential for local post offices to act as 'hubs' to facilitate other services such as health and transport.

She said she would be writing to relevant departments to convene a Working Group to undertake this work.

The Post Office Network Business Development Group was chaired by businessman and Newstalk broadcaster Bobby Kerr.

Speaking to Newstalk Lunchtime, he said closures are a real danger unless changes are made.

Communications Minister Alex White echoed these sentiments at the launch of the report.

Read the report in full here