Hain Urges Residents To Have Their Say On Location Of Trebanos Post Office

Neath MP Peter Hain has urged Trebanos residents to have their say on the location of the local Post Office. Under plans proposed by Post Office Limited the local office will move to Trebanos Service Station and will change to a new local style branch.

The proposals are currently out to six week consultation which will end on 27th January 2014 with the proposed changes set to take place in March 2014 subject to the consultation and the appointment of a new operator.

Mr Hain is calling on residents to make their views known by taking part in the consultation, ‘It is vital that we keep the Post Office in Trebanos as many people rely on it for collecting their pension, paying their bills or picking up stamps. But it is important that residents contribute to the consultation to ensure the best outcome is achieved. Is this the only way to maintain the Post Office? Are there advantages or disadvantages in co-locating with the Service Station? How suitable are the new premises? These are all points that need to be addressed.’

To submit your views to the consultation you can write to FREEPOST Your Comment, email comments@postoffice.co.uk or visit https://www.postofficeviews.co.uk/liveconsultation.php

Hain Encourages Banwen Residents To Have Their Say On Location Of Dyffryn Cellwen Post Office

Neath MP Peter Hain has called on Banwen residents to have their say on the location of the Dyffryn Cellwen Post Office, which under plans proposed by Post Office Limited, is set to move to Banwen Food and Wine and will change to a new local style branch.

The proposals are currently out to six week consultation which will end on 27th January 2014 with the proposed changes set to take place in March 2014 subject to the consultation and the appointment of a new operator.

Calling on residents to make their views known by taking part in the consultation Mr Hain said, ‘Maintaining the Post Office in Banwen is essential as many people rely on it for collecting their pension, paying their bills or picking up stamps. So it is vital that residents contribute to the consultation to ensure the best outcome is achieved. Is this the only way to maintain the Post Office? Are there advantages or disadvantages in co-locating with the store? How suitable are the new premises? These are all points that need to be addressed.’

To submit your views to the consultation you can write to FREEPOST Your Comment, email comments@postoffice.co.uk or visit https://www.postofficeviews.co.uk/liveconsultation.php

MP welcomes Post Office plans for new Lower Brynamman Service

MP for Neath Peter Hain has welcomed news that the Post Office plans to introduce a new outreach service to Lower Brynamman, replacing the traditional Post Office that was closed in May 2013.

Mr Hain says, ‘Outreach services are an innovative way to provide customers with access to Post Office products and services in smaller communities.’

For the majority of outreach services, an established sub-postmaster will travel to, or oversee services at, a nearby community to offer a local Post Office service in addition to running their own Post Office.

‘Since the closure of Lower Brynamman Post Office last May, I have been working closely with the Post Office and with the community to find a suitable alternative,’ continues Mr Hain. ‘It is important to maintain vital Post Office services in our more remote communities. I will keep constituents up-to-date on further developments.’

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.”