Post Office names branches to be closed

The Guardian is leading the way in using the FOI to get hold of all sorts of information that should be in the public sphere. Other journalists need to get up to speed, and I’d suggest a quick course either at the NUJ (January 18) or those run by the Campaign for Freedom of Information.

This story also shows the importance of stubbornly refusing to accept lame excuses about commercial confidence. If you face similar obstruction, this case shows that those claiming the exemption must think much harder now about the need to disclose information if it is in the public interest.

Guardian wins publication of full list that will be lost

Phillip Inman
Thursday January 6, 2005
The Guardian

The Post Office yesterday caved in to demands that it release details of its sub-post office closure programme and the whereabouts of local offices scheduled to close.

The state enterprise finally acceded to a request from the Guardian for the list of offices due for closure by the end of March, rather than face being forced to disclose its plans under new freedom of information rules. Almost 2,500 offices have been singled out as part of a widespread cost-cutting plan. More than 2,000 have already been closed, and the remainder are due to go over the next two months.

The Post Office said for the first time yesterday that 396 were threatened with closure and admitted that, notwithstanding last minute appeals, almost all would shut their doors in the coming weeks.
But some of the [Treasury Select] committee’s stiffest criticism was reserved for Post Office bosses and their refusal to disclose where closures will take place, except at a local level, hampering efforts to campaign against closures. The committee chairman, Martin O’Neill, said: “At least part of the problem Post Office Ltd has had when trying to explain its case for rationalisation has been its unwillingness to be transparent and inclusive in its consultation procedures and its preparedness to amend its plans in the face of reasoned argument.”

Last night, the Post Office chief executive, David Mills, sent a list of the remaining post offices that face the axe to the editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger. Mr Mills relented after weeks of wrangling during which he argued the list was commercially sensitive information and should be withheld from public view.

2 Responses to “Post Office names branches to be closed”

  1. it is pointless objecting but one would like to know when one’s post office is going to close so that one can tell one’s friends,customers in time that they will no longer be getting mail which needs weighing or parcels sending.Why are we so obsessed with secrecy?

  2. mohsen says:

    will the post office staff recieve compensation for post office closer?

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