Formal Application Process
In addition to space for a Post Office counter, we have some core standards including how the Post Office brand is used. Those things will be discussed with you in detail during a site visit, but your premises need to be well maintained, have easy access including for people with disabilities, and have full compliance with HSE regulations including asbestos, the IEE Wiring Regulations (17th edition) and with the Equality Act.
We don’t mind if your premises are owned or leasehold but we’ll ask to see proof that you have what we call a Valid Property Interest or VPI for short.
NB the Valid Property Interest needs to be for the same entity eg Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company being used in your application.
Click for more info: A ‘Valid Property Interest’ is defined as “a valid and marketable title to the premises or a valid tenancy of the premises from where you will operate the Post Office, and that gives you exclusive control of the whole of the premises on an exclusive occupancy basis for a term of at least 12 months from the proposed date on which you start running a Post Office.”
Before you start filling in the online application (we call it the Electronic Business Plan or EBP for short), it will save time if you gather the information you’ll need. We will also need to run some checks.
There are three main things you’ll need to provide: financial information, a Basic Disclosure, and proof of ownership/tenancy for the premises. Here are more details. As part of the application process when you complete the Electronic Business Plan we will ask for information about your finances, and any funding you are using to set up the business.
Three years’ company accounts if your business (Partnership, Sole Trader, Limited Company) has traded for more than three years, this will be assessed during the Interview stage and may only require two years company accounts depending on Net Profit margin
Two guarantors for all applications where the business is a Limited Company that has traded for less than three years
Three months’ bank statements for all parties to the application
Evidence of any funding to be used as part of the application
You’ll need to get something called a Basic Disclosure (a criminal record check) for everyone who is party to the application. A Basic Disclosure takes around 14 days to be processed and will cost £25, so it is best to get this before you start the application online.
DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) provides this service if you’re living or working in England or Wales. If you live or work in Scotland, you should apply to Disclosure Scotland. If you live or work in Northern Ireland, you should apply to AccessNI.
Here are the links:
As part of your application through DBS online you’ll need to prove your identity through GOV.UK Verify.
When you apply we’ll ask your consent to carry out some standard security checks and credit checks.
Everyone who is part of the application needs to demonstrate their right to work in the UK and provide proof of address.
Please see the list below of what documents are suitable – you will only need one of them per person, plus proof of address.
A passport showing the holder, or a person named in the passport as the child of the holder, is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the right of abode in the UK.
A passport or national identity card showing the holder, or a person named in the passport as the child of the holder, is a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
A Registration Certificate or Document Certifying Permanent Residence issued by the Home Office to a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
A Permanent Residence Card issued by the Home Office to the family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
A current Biometric Immigration Document (Biometric Residence Permit) issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
A current passport endorsed to show that the holder is exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, has the right of abode in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
A current Immigration Status Document issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
A full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK which includes the name(s) of at least one of the holder’s parents or adoptive parents, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
A birth or adoption certificate issued in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
If you want more information on why we will ask these questions visit this government site.
We don’t charge a franchise fee to offer Post Office services, however, we have some non-compete supplier relationships that place some restrictions on what services you can provide, although some waivers are possible. These can be discussed during the site visit.
Mail/parcels: you can’t provide any service which competes with Royal Mail and Parcelforce (such as Collect +, MyHermes or others)
National Lottery: we’d prefer you to switch to our agreement
Bill payment: you can’t process bills, tokens, pre-payment keys or payment cards in relation to water, gas, electricity, local authorities, phone or broadband via a third party’s terminal
Banking: cashing cheques (no waivers), payday loans, Credit Union, building society or bank agency
ATM: if you already have an ATM, you can apply for a waiver that would allow you to retain that ATM for the duration of your existing ATM contract
Financial Services: if you’re offering any insurance, credit cards, mortgages products, or independent financial advice or insurance brokerage, these will need a separate discussion.
When a Post Office branch moves, it's important customers understand what’s planned, how this might affect them, and have the opportunity to give feedback. We write to local councillors and the MP, and our press office issues press releases about the move, so it is useful publicity for the new postmaster. Consultations are listed on the Post Office Consultation Hub and take six weeks.