OUR LOCAL MP, Graham Stuart, has pressed the Transport Secretary to ensure that Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) services remain available at local Post Offices.
Graham Stuart took action after hundreds of constituents contacted him to voice their concern that Driving Licenses and Tax Disc services may be lost from Post Offices.
The DVLA contract with the Post Office is due to end in March 2013, and a competitive tendering process is being conducted by the Department for Transport to find the best deal for the public.
Mr Stuart said: “I told the Secretary of State that as an MP for a rural constituency containing lots of small communities, I know just how much of a lifeline the Post Office is. Post Offices are an essential part of country life and one of the central community meeting points that we simply cannot afford to lose. People rely on their local post office for a whole range of services. Some people don’t have access to the internet or don’t want to buy their car tax or renew their driving licence on-line; they should be able to have that choice.
The good news is that I have been reassured by the Minister that the award of the new contract will not be made purely on grounds of cost, but on the quality of the overall service provided. In that respect I think that there is a very strong case for the Post Office to continue providing these services.”
The National Federation of SubPostmasters – who have said the contract is estimated to be worth over £600m – is also campaigning on this issue:
“If Post Office Ltd (POL) wins the DVLA contract, its status as a ‘framework contract’ means it will be easier for POL to be awarded a whole host of other, future government contracts without having to go out to competitive tender. These new government contracts can simply be awarded directly to POL, some of which should provide work for all post offices.
Our post offices are the natural home for all forms of government work. It’s also clear that the network needs this new work if it is to be financially sustainable in the future. When we, together with our customers, make our voices heard we can persuade the government to act in the best interests of our network.”
The Paypoint network is believed to be one of those competing for this contract. A decision is expected to be announced this month (October 2012).