The Committee's report considers two key issues: the maintenance of a universal service and the continuation of a sustainable Post Office network across Scotland. The report welcomes assurances that Scotland would not be made exempt from the universal service obligation. Further clarification is needed on Ofcom's power to designate more than one universal service provider. Ofcom should be required to consult with consumers, small businesses and vulnerable users in remote, rural and island communities in Scotland before it recommends any changes to the existing USO. There are considerable advantages to a long, stable and robust relationship between Royal Mail Group and Post Office Ltd and the Committee recommends that a ten year Inter Business Agreement should be reached prior to any sale of Royal Mail. On the Post Office network, the Bill makes no provision for the number of Post Offices and does not set out criteria for access to the network, a matter of concern because the current criteria could be met by 7, 500 branches rather than the existing 11, 500 branches. This could lead to many closures in Scotland. The Committee recommends that the Government gives assurances to preserving the existing network of branches. Elements of Outreach Post Offices, which replaced 102 Post Office branches in rural and remote parts of Scotland, are not sufficiently robust or reliable to provide an adequate service, according to the Committee, and it fears the new Post Office Local risks downgrading the service further. Improvements should be delivered as a matter of urgency.Anything that strengthens the USO provides more work streams for post office counters a they are the kinds of things that we would like to see ... So how does the Bill change the relationship between the DWP and the Post Office in any way ?
|Title||:||Postal Services in Scotland|
|Author||:||Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Scottish Affairs Committee|
|Publisher||:||The Stationery Office - 2011-01-09|