British government ministers have concluded that giving employees shares in the Post Office would bring the greatest benefit to the company, its services and its customers.
After a public consultation, they have decided that the option of giving staff a stake in the network of more than 11,000 post offices – along the lines of the way retailers such as the Co-Operative Group and John Lewis are run – was the one which was preferred.
Parliament has to approve this idea, but before any sell-off, a change of culture was required in the business. Moves towards this have already begun, with the setting up of a stakeholder forum, consisting of representatives from more than 8,000 sub-postmasters and Post Office employees.
And although there is no fixed timescale for mutualisation, postal services minister Norman Lamb, says he wants "clear progress to have been made by the end of this Parliament [in the autumn]."
Since April, the Post Office has been a separate company from the Royal Mail.
Outlining its reasons for favouring a mutual structure, the government said such businesses had shown a higher quality of service, better staff conditions, reduced absenteeism and better productivity.
The National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP) said mutualisation was “essential” for Post Office Ltd, but warned that it could only be successful if the business was profitable.