Information from the Post Office on the steps they are taking to support their staff and customers during the coronavirus outbreak is outlined below.
Postmasters and Branches
Postmasters and other branch staff have been equipped with personal protective equipment including Perspex screens, gloves and hand sanitizer. Postmasters have also been guaranteed remuneration during this period, receiving 100% income in April and 90% in May. Where branches have closed due to staff shortages, temporary solutions including temporary postmasters, pop-up Post Offices and extended stops on mobile and outreach services have been introduced to keep providing services in communities. These measures will be reviewed and extended in due course and as lockdown restrictions remain in place.
Post Office Card Account customers (POca)
Post Office have launched a cash delivery service on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which is initially being focused on around 27,000 POca customers in England who are shielding in line with Government advice. Expansion of this scheme into Wales and Scotland is currently being undertaken.
The cash delivery service has been created by repurposing part of Post Office’s foreign exchange cash delivery business. When notified by DWP, Post Office will send money directly to customers at home, arriving by 9pm the following day using Royal Main Special Delivery. This service is secure and quick, and will enable those who are most vulnerable to access the cash they need, whilst avoiding the risk of infection.
If you are having trouble accessing money due to being isolated, you can call the POca helpline on 0345 722 3344 or contact your local authority community hub for assistance. You can find out about your local hub here.
Access to Cash
'Payout Now', a one-time use voucher system sent via text, email or letter, and “Fast PACE”, a third party cheque encashment service, have been redesigned by Post Office to allow vulnerable customers who are isolating to access cash simply and quickly. These services enable those who can't leave home to withdraw cash quickly from their normal accounts through any local Post Office branch, with the help of a friend, family member, carer or local support worker. This scheme depends on the participation of financial institutions and is currently being discussed with banks, building societies and credit unions.