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Minister Burton signs new contract with An Post for cash payments at post offices

Minister Burton signs new contract with An Post for cash payments at post offices

An Post will deliver over €9 billion of payments to welfare customers in 2014

Contract will be worth over €50 million a year to An Post and support jobs and communities throughout the country

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., has signed a contract with An Post to deliver the cash payment services to customers in receipt of social welfare.

It follows a competitive tender process to secure the best-value and best-quality provision for customers and taxpayers.

The contract will see An Post deliver over €9 billion of payments to welfare customers in 2014, involving more than 40 million transactions.

The contract is worth more than €50 million to An Post per annum, and will support jobs and communities throughout the country through An Post’s network of offices.

The contract also provides certainty for the foreseeable future to welfare customers who receive their payments in cash at local post offices.

The contract will be for a minimum period of 2 years with the option to extend for one or more periods of up to 12 months each, up to a maximum of 6 years in total.

Welcoming the agreement, Minister Burton said: “Roughly half of all welfare payments – amounting to more than €9 billion a year - go through the post office network, benefiting almost one million customers. This money represents almost 20% of Government day-to-day spending, showing the significance of this hugely important contract. An Post and its postmasters and staff have always provided a trusted and valuable service to the Department and to their local communities and I welcome the opportunity to continue working with them over the coming years.”

An Post Chief Executive Donal Connell said: “We are pleased to have won this important contract and we are fully committed to providing a top quality service for both the Department of Social Protection and its customers. As leaders in the development and application of post office counter technology, An Post will continue to innovate and to invest in next generation systems and products for customers across our unique retail network.”

Acknowledging the importance of the contract to An Post while speaking at the contract signing at the GPO, Minister Burton said: “An Post has an excellent track record. Since the economic crisis, the number of people dependent on welfare payments increased significantly, meaning heavier demand on the An Post network. An Post, the postmasters and their staff ensured that all our customers were paid each week on time and in full and delivered an excellent customer service.”

Referring to the future of the services, the Minister spoke of the business challenges that the Department and An Post face. “The Department is moving through a phase of significant transformation. The transformation of our local welfare offices into Intreo Centres is key to delivering more modern, efficient and dynamic services to our customers and providing value for taxpayers and the economy. These new approaches include adopting more progressive migration to electronic payments over the coming years, as set out in the Department’s Payment Strategy. I know An Post is addressing similar modernisation challenges and I look forward to working with them to achieve our shared objectives.”


Note to Editors:

• This contract arises from a public procurement competition undertaken by the Department earlier in the year.

• Some 50% of all social welfare payments are paid in cash through An Post.

• In addition to the cash payment services, the new contract contains provisions to maintain the high standard required to support the scale and importance of the Department’s business, including:

o Strong contingency arrangements in the event of a disruption to the services.

o Improved accounting, reconciliation and reporting arrangements.

o Strong anti-fraud measures to ensure that only those entitled to a payment receive it.

o Robust governance of the contract with annual review processes.

o Provision for remedies in the event of sub-standard service provision.

• Intreo is the Department’s transformative approach to helping people get back to work, offering an integrated employment and support service. It is a key element of the Government's Pathways to Work strategy to tackle unemployment.