Customers not properly consulted over post office closures

Many consumers felt that the post office closure programme was ineffective and flawed according to a new report from Consumer Focus that will be released today.

Research from the consumer group showed that although many people took part in the exercise, the Post Office did not fully communicate with them causing most to misunderstand how the cutbacks would affect their communities.

According to Consumer Focus, many lessons can be learned from the failures of the Post Office Closure programme with an emphasis on other local services such as community transport and libraries.

The Post Office Closure programme was led by the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills and was originally announced to the public in May of 2007.

At this time it was announced that 2,500 branches would be closed and 500 outreach services would be set up again.  Public consultations were held after an 11 week period during which changes could be advocated against the proposals.

Although there were only about 200,000 formal responses by the public to the Post Office Ltd and watchdog group Postwatch, according to the research by Consumer Focus there were about 2.7m consumers who showed their outrage via public meetings, signed petitions, and letters to elected officials.

Yet, about one in ten of these people were able to contribute to the actual decision making process, which shows that the Post Office Ltd. missed plenty of opportunities to properly ascertain how the cutbacks would affect the communities they were planned for.