Bard and benefit at your post office
Monday 29 May 1995
Post offices could sell coach, theatre and train tickets using a new system of computer terminals being set up to administer benefits payments, in what has been heralded as the biggest change in the post office counters' history.
Having rubber-stamped an agreement with the Benefits Agency to handle the complete range of benefits payments through 20,000 post offices, the corporate arm of the Post Office is looking for ways to expand its revenues using the new terminals, which are expected to be installed by the end of 1998 in a pounds 200m project.
The terminals will help to replace the system of payment books and Giro cheques with automatic payment using some sort of identity card. At present, Post Office Counters handles about pounds 300m of benefits payments annually, making a third of its total revenues: this consists of 940 million order book payments and 82 million Giro encashments.
The computer terminals will be able to link to the Benefits Agency system, but the Post Office also intends that they should be able to offer facilities using electronic payment and ordering methods. "It will be one of the biggest and most advanced schemes of its kind in Europe," Richard Dykes, managing director of Post Office Counters, said.
Five companies are bidding to provide the computer system. The winner is expected to be announced later this year.
Automation of payments for benefits through post offices was mooted two years ago, and was seen by Mr Dykes as essential to keeping up to 5,000 of the smaller rural post offices open. At the time, the rural network was losing about pounds 35m a year.
But the formal announcement in May by Peter Lilley, the Social Security Secretary, to computerise the counters was seen as necessary to reverse the trend.
The Benefits Agency expects the new system to reduce fraud, presently thought to be running at pounds 155m a year.
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A world leading business intellig...
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst-(UNIX...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst - SQL...
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support - FIX protoco...