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Ideas for Norfolk post offices under the spotlight

13:36 13 November 2012

Post Offices have secured the contract to run services for the DVLA.

Post Offices have secured the contract to run services for the DVLA.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Further work is to be done to explore whether some of Norfolk’s 228 post offices could be used to deliver council services.

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Some 25 councils across the country have teamed up with the Post Office, helping branches survive and the councils to get messages to the public about services.

Following a motion put forward by the Liberal Democrats at Norfolk County Council, a committee of councillors heard from Post Office bosses about the possibility of a team up.

If it comes to fruition, it could see people able to get hold of concessionary bus passes via post offices, rather than from the council.

Post Office bosses discussed the possibilities at a meeting of the county council’s corporate resources overview and scrutiny panel today.

Gordon Rose, from the Post Office, said £1.3bn was being spent on stabilising, improving and extending post office services, but that the organisation could not depend on government subsidies and needed to modernise to survive.

But, when asked if council services could be advertised on flat screen televisions in branches, he said the Post Office’s current policy was that it would not take advertisements, a decision he said he did not agree with.

Stuart Clancy, county councillor for Taverham, said: “I think it’s an opportunity you are missing. Post offices have to be commercially minded because they have got to be weaned off the subsidy.”

The committee agreed the council should look further at working together with post offices.

• Meanwhile, a government decision which will mean people will still be able to renew tax discs and apply for driving licences at post offices has been welcomed.

The Secretary of State for Transport announced that DVLA services will remain with the Post Office after a tendering process.

Dr Therese Coffey, Suffolk Coastal MP, said: “I have been contacted by many constituents about this issue and I am sure they will share my delight in this decision.

“This is great news for local post offices which will enable them to remain sustainable and for motorists who will still be able to access DVLA services through their local branch.”

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