LOCAL MP Stewart Hosie has welcomed a response from the Department of Transport which states that the awarding of a new contract for the handling of Driver and Vehicle Licenses will not be made purely on cost grounds but on the ‘quality of the overall solution’.
The existing contract, operated by post offices, expires on March 31 next year and at present Post Office Ltd and another bidder are involved in the final phase of a new contract process.
Mr Hosie said: “We were contacted by members of the National Federation of Sub Postmasters (NFSP) who operate post offices in my constituency and by many local people who use post offices in the area.
“The new 10-year DVLA contract would provide income of around £60 million a year to the network of post offices, important for the sustainability of the post office network.
“I am strongly in support of the campaign by the National Federation of Sub Postmasters (NFSP) and wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport reminding her that the coalition pledged to use post offices as the ‘front office for government’.”
He continued: “I called on the UK government to deliver on this pledge and award the DVLA contract as an important first step in protecting the future of the network and improving the range of services available in local post offices.
“I welcome the apparent willingness of the Minister to consider such aspects as customer experience, reliability of delivery, data security and the quality of the service when deciding on the new contract.
“The reply refers to post offices’ long experience and that post office staff are trusted and knowledgeable about their services. The Minister also suggests that the NFSP ‘appear keen... to deliver a cost effective and competitive solution.”
Mr Hosie concluded: “I want to see a secure future for post offices and they must be able to provide a range of government services - including driving licenses, tax discs and passport services - and not just be shop fronts.
“Therefore post offices must be awarded the DVLA contract as a first step towards getting more government services work and making our local post offices more sustainable.”