National Federation of SubPostmasters

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National Federation of SubPostmasters
Purposemembership organisation, representing subpostmasters
HeadquartersShoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex
United Kingdom
general secretary
Calum Greenhow

The National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP) is a membership organisation, which represents subpostmasters in the United Kingdom and currently has more than 8,000 members who operate approximately 9,300 post office branches. It is the only organisation recognised by Post Office Ltd to act on behalf of subpostmasters.[1]

The NFSP has almost 50 branches throughout the UK, separated into 10 geographical regions. Each member is represented by their local Branch Secretary and Regional Secretary; the Board of Non-Executive Directors is made up of serving subpostmasters (each representing a UK region) and three representatives from organisations with a portfolio of post offices (WH Smith, Ryman and SPAR).


On April 19, 1897, a group of up to 90 subpostmasters assembled at the Music Saloon, Wood Street, Wakefield (now the Institute of Literature and Science) to consider forming a national association to “improve the conditions under which subpostmasters labour and to undertake the advancement of our interests by all legitimate and honourable means”.

The federation was formed, with Wakefield as its headquarters, and the first conference was held in Nottingham on April 11, 1898.The first edition of a monthly newspaper The SubPostmaster was published on September 4th, 1899, and Joseph Ranns, founder and first National President, wrote the inaugural article. The magazine is still published today. In February 1947, the Federation’s headquarters moved to Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex.

Originally a trade union, the status of the NFSP was called into question by the requirement that a trade union’s members must meet the legal definition of ‘workers’.

However a freedom of information request answered by the Post Office Limited stated that:

“...the Post Office Ltd cannot recognise the National Federation of Sub Postmasters for collective bargaining purposes.”[2]

The NFSP’s members were deemed self-employed agents of Post Office Ltd and its status was changed to a trade association on 13 January 2014.[3]

In November 2018, a lawsuit raised against Post Office by former subpostmasters revealed a 2013 email in which  NFSP's then Chief Executive told the Post Office that an agreement between the two organisations that the NSFP would cease being a trade union would need to be "signed in blood".[4]

Since 2016 membership of the NFSP has not charged a membership fee to subpostmasters. The NFSP receives funding from Post Office Ltd, consisting of an annual grant payment and funding for approved projects, which was the subject of a freedom of information request.[5]

Questions have been asked about the NFSP’s independence from Post Office Ltd, which gave it funding to support the Network Transformation program road shows. A BIS committee report[6] highlighted a number of flaws in the program. The NFSP says its funding allows it to provide practical support to members but does not prevent it from challenging or criticising the Post Office.[7]


  1. ^ "Freedom of Information Request, ref: OOLO - 9CQB3U" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Recognition for Collective Bargaining - a Freedom of Information request to Post Office Limited". WhatDoTheyKnow. 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  3. ^ "Listings decision: National Federation of Sub-Postmasters". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  4. ^ "Bates v Post Office: NFSP Signed in Blood Email Chain | Government | Politics". Scribd. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  5. ^ "Payments to NFSP - a Freedom of Information request to Post Office Limited". WhatDoTheyKnow. 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  6. ^ ""The Government responds to the BIS Select Committee inquiry into NT"" (PDF).
  7. ^ "Q&A on the High Court judgement in Bates vs Post Office Ltd" (PDF).

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