In a new statement setting out their vision for the future, Postmasters want Post Offices to be the go to place for payment, application, identity verification and advice for all Government services and they want to automatically become Peace Commissioners.
They also want to deliver remote health checks with Hospital and GP link up via technology, become a drop off point for medical prescriptions, a local transport service hub and tourist information points.
IPU Executive member and Dublin spokesperson Dermot Higgins said Post Offices are one of the most valued and trusted brands in the country and provide a major opportunity for the Government to transform citizen’s access to services and connectivity which Government has with communities.
“We want to have a ‘no wrong door’ policy with all deliverable Government services provided in all Post Offices across the country. Our vision for our citizens and communities is simple: we want to be The State on Your Doorstep.”
Postmasters are calling on Government to sanction payments for all Government services including HSE, CAO and Third level registration through the Network.
They are also calling for supply and completion of all Government forms at Post Offices, with Postmasters automatically empowered to provide the role of Peace Commissioners for identity verification on official documents.
The IPU called for all fines including traffic, parking, or court to be payable on site, plus provision of all State licences including Driving and Gun Licences.
The IPU called for a standard An Post bank account to be established and delivered through the Network and provision of counter transactions for all of the commercial banks.
Postmasters pointed out that providing Motor Tax Renewal through Post Offices would save the State €65m over five years (independently calculated by Grant Thornton).
Postmasters also said that they can maintain the Electoral Register and called for Post Offices to provide a Government Information Service, by offering citizen’s advice.
Furthermore, the IPU called for Post Offices to be guaranteed points for community based Internet access, with ICT training and learning provided onsite.
IPU President Paddy McCann said Postmasters are ambitious to keep Post Offices open by significantly increasing the range of services they provide.
“We are calling on Government to recognise the National Asset it has in the Post Office Network and to allocate investment in the October 11 budget to enable major renewal and transformation of the Network which brings the citizen and Government closer together.
“We also calling for the outcomes of the Bobby Kerr led Network Renewal Working Group to match our vision of putting ‘The State on Your Doorstep’ and importantly to commit the necessary investment to enable this to become a reality,”
The Post Office Network is currently in major difficulty due to the ongoing reduction in social protection transactions at Post Offices which account for approximately 35% of all current business (and an estimated 50% including spin off value).
The IPU is currently involved in a Network Renewal Working Group together with An Post and Government to develop a five year plan for the future of the Network, which is being Chaired by entrepreneur Bobby Kerr and due to report in October.
The IPU has recently been involved in a series of community consultation workshops about the future role of Post Offices, supported by a number of major corporate companies, and some of the expanded services identified stem from what communities themselves have called for.