Hain Questions Post Office Reassurances Over Future Of Neath Crown Post Office

Post Office management assurances about relocating Neath Crown Post Office to the back of a shop in the town have been questioned by the local MP. In a letter to Post Office Managers Peter Hain has questioned whether the current services and the quality of service provided would be maintained if the office was relocated to a corner of a retail shop. He further questioned the long term future of the Post Office should the retailer decided to pull out of the town.

 In his letter Mr Hain said, ‘You have given me reassurances that if a retail partner is appointed in Neath, it will offer access to the same range of products and services currently offered by the Crown Post Office. This will include passports, financial services, identity verification, foreign currency and the ability to purchase car tax as well as other products and services currently on offer at the branch. However I remain opposed to the closure and franchise for the following reasons.

First, I understand that this is greatly dependent on whether the retail partner has the capacity and floor space to accommodate these facilities especially in relation to identity checks which require a large booth on the public side of the counter for privacy.

What assurances can you give that it would be a condition of the agreement that the retailer provide all of the services, especially so if they do not have the capacity to accommodate them?

I still hold grave reservations over the long term future and quality of the services. What criteria are used to determine the long-term viability of the franchise? In increasingly uncertain economic times what may seem like a sound business case at the time, twelve months down the line could be a bad business case and the retailer will look to protect its own business before the Post Office services.

In which case what assurances can you give that a situation similar to that in Runcorn where the Post Office joined with retailer WH Smith only for the business to later decide to pull out of the town leaving the future of the Post Office in considerable doubt?

Furthermore what control does Post Office Limited have over the Post Office once it joins with a retail partner to ensure the same high standards and quality service are maintain not just in the short term but also in the long term?

As I understand the situation the quality of the service will greatly depend on how many of the existing staff decide to transfer over, bringing with them vital expertise and experience. This is then combined with the quality of training any new staff receives. What measures are put in place to ensure the skills and experience are not lost in the initial transfer and also in the long term with the inevitable turnover of staff that a business experiences.

Staff expertise goes hand-in-hand with the services. If the staff are not trained to provide the services then inevitably the services will be lost. Additionally if the expertise of the staff in providing the high standards we have come to expect is lost then the service becomes dumbed down.

The consequences for the Neath and its people would be devastating if the Post Office and the current high quality services are lost. Experience tells us that once something is lost it is extremely difficult to retrieve or replace.

My reservations are widely felt within the community, by the workforce and the Trade Union who are rightly proud of Neath Crown Post Office and do not want to see it join with a retail partner.

Public Will Support Staff In Industrial Action Over Future Of Crown Post Office

Neath MP Peter Hain claims the public will back industrial action by staff in Post Offices due for closure and downgrading after 88 per cent of CWU (Communication Workers Union) members balloted voted in favour of industrial action.

Mr Hain said, “Post Office workers have overwhelmingly voted for industrial action over pay and the changes to the Crown Network. Neath Post Office is one of seventy earmarked to be re-established in the corner of a shop. Having met with local staff I fully support them in wanting to maintain the Crown Office in the town centre.

“The loss of the Crown Office will result is a major dumbing down of the services offered including passport checks, ready foreign currency, ten year driving licence renewals, and identity checks for mortgages, border controls and Criminal Investigation Bureau investigations. There will also be a loss of the financial specialist for widely used services like life insurance policies which are very popular in Neath.

“It is totally unacceptable that the nearest Crown Office, if these changes went ahead, would be Bridgend or Merthyr Tydfil.

“I strongly urge residents to get behind the Post Office staff in their fight to stop the Neath office being downgraded and parked in the corner of a retail outlet. Their fight is our fight to save Neath Crown Post Office.”

Save Neath Crown Post Office

Support is continuing to grow for saving Neath Post Office and the vital services it provides. The branch on Windsor Road is one of 70 across the UK earmarked to join with a retail franchise which would mean a loss of key services. I’ve met with workers and addressed the public meeting in Neath town hall. It is crucial that we show our support for the Crown Office and the service provided there. Sign the petition (in my office) and show your support.


Neath Crown Post Office Closure Will Cut Vital Services Says MP

Vital local services from passport checks to driving licence renewals will be cut if the Post Office proceeds with plans to close its Neath Crown Office says local MP Peter Hain.

At a protest meeting called by the Neath Labour Party in Neath Town hall Mr Hain called on Neath residents to ‘stand up and fight to keep the Post Office’.

Managers are consulting on closing the Crown Office in Windsor Road Neath and transferring postal services into a section of an as yet unidentified local shop.

‘People may be hoodwinked into thinking that under this proposal just the office will change, so it’s no big deal. But in fact there will be a major dumbing down if that happens,’ Mr Hain claimed.

He told the meeting that amongst the services that will be lost are:

– passport checks

– ready foreign currency

– 10 year driving licence renewals

– identity checks for mortgages, border controls and Criminal Investigation Bureau investigations

‘There will also be a loss of the financial specialists for widely used services like life assurance policies which has been very popular in Neath. People worried about getting outside financial advice trust the Post Office but that too will disappear if Crown Office status is lost and the office downgraded and parked in the corner of a retail outlet,’ Mr Hain said

The nearest Crown Office to obtain these services will be Bridgend or Merthyr Tydfil because the Swansea Crown Office has closed already, Mr Hain pointed out. ‘That is totally unacceptable,’ he said.

Christmas Visit To Neath Delivery Office To Thank Postmen and Women

Neath MP Peter Hain visited the Royal Mail delivery office in Neath town centre for Christmas to thank postmen and women for their work over the festive period and met with his home Aberdulais postman Barry Stacey.

Mr Hain was shown round the office by local Delivery Office Manager and introduced to the postmen and women, who are working hard doing their bit to sort and deliver all the cards and parcels in the Neath area in the run-up to Christmas.

Mr Hain said: “It was great to meet the hard-working Royal Mail postmen and women at the Neath delivery office and to see at first hand just how much effort they put into delivering for people at this time of year.

“Postmen and women do such an important job and we were keen to thank them for their efforts and wish them all the best over the busy festive period.”