Isle of Man Post Office (IOMPO) wishes to thank the members of the public who took part in focus groups last week to discuss the future of the post office retail network. IOMPO was overwhelmed with the response received from those who were interested in taking part in the opportunity.

More than 40 volunteers were selected depending on their age and location, with approximately eight people in each of the five separate sessions. The sessions were held across the Island in venues located in Port Erin, Peel, Ramsey and Douglas. To ensure an unbiased conduct of the focus groups and the use of a Market Research Society accredited researcher, IOMPO outsourced the facilitation to IJS Consulting, who will collate the feedback and report back to IOMPO.

The focus groups follow on from the public consultation IOMPO carried out last year, regarding the initiation of a strategy by the Board and its staff, to modernise the business. The urgency for modernising IOMPO was reflected in the £1.2m loss reported in the 2017/18 annual report and accounts. This was the first loss in the history of IOMPO, emphasising the need for the business to adapt its current operations and practices to ensure it is financially responsible in delivering services that meet the changing needs and expectations of its valued customers.

The focus groups concentrated solely on ways to modernise the future of post offices, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the information collected in the consultation. Participants were asked about how they currently use the post office, how they feel it could look in the future and discussed four different concepts as examples of how the Retail Network could change in the future. The results will be analysed and will inform future discussions with key stakeholders, including staff, unions, sub postmasters, local commissioners and Government on the key issues and the future service options available. This will form the direction and choices to utilise the unique attributes, capabilities and social value of the IOMPO to be fully considered by the Board, before being taken to Tynwald in October where the final decisions on key changes will be made.

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