Citizens Advice’s mystery shopping exercise of post offices in Wales has revealed accessibility concerns in over 1 in 5 (21%) of the 122 post offices visited by the charity.
After Citizens Advice Powys intervened, the following improvements have been agreed:
· Restricted access
· Disabled parking
· Temporary closures
· Level Access
· Bill payment procedure
Across Wales, Citizens Advice found restricted access in almost 1 in 5 (17%) locations, with cases of retail stock and fixed displays restricting the movement around the premises. Of the 6 post offices that are required to provide disabled access parking, 3 did not have dedicated disabled bays in place. The charity also found level access concerns in 6% of locations which included instances of steps, uneven thresholds or no ramps available.
Citizens Advice presented these accessibility concerns to Post Office Limited and as a result, they have committed to improving 100% of the post office locations in question. This includes ensuring disabled parking bays are put in place. Obstacles causing restricted access have already been removed in 20 branches and Post Office Limited is working with operators on lack of level access in 7 branches.
Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer watchdog for postal services in Wales and England. Since 2012, 484 post offices around Wales have been modernised or moved into new premises such as convenience stores, newsagents and pharmacies.
These changes have part of the Network Transformation Programme, a £1 billion programme of work designed both to help maintain the sustainability of the post office network by moving post offices into existing retail premises and retain or improve access for vulnerable consumers.
Chief Officer Stuart Chadbourne said: “We help many people in Powys who rely on postal services to sort their bills, benefits or stay in touch with friends and family. Post offices need to be accessible to everyone so we are proud to have improved access, particularly for older and disabled people, in post offices in Wales.”
If you need advice please contact Citizens Advice Powys on 0345 601 8421
Mon, Tues 7 Thurs 9am to 3pm