A new report has offered up recommendations for the proposed mutualisation of Post Office Ltd.

Commissioned by the government and compiled by the trade association for co-operative enterprises Co-operative UK, Mutual Options for the Post Office Ltd explores the options available for the transfer of Post Office Ltd into a mutualisation, as set out in the Postal Services Bill.

It examined existing employee and customer-owned mutuals such as John Lewis and the Co-operative Group and concluded that a hybrid of the two would work best.

Recommendations included allowing representatives of consumer groups a say in the mutualisation, the introduction of a board of directors for the day-to-day running of the Post Office that is answerable to the member and support from government by offering services through the network

Co-operatives UK general secretary Ed Mayo said that mutualisation was just the first step and that the network had to evolve in order to survive. “We want to see a first class not a second class Post Office,” he said. “Co-operative businesses are thriving at present but in itself being a mutual is not enough. You need to find ways to use the model, with its dispersed ownership, ethical values and opportunities for commitment and loyalty, to create commercial and social advantage.”

Minister for Postal Affairs Ed Davey welcomed the report. “It paints an exciting picture of what a mutualised Post Office Ltd could look like,” he said. “A radical shake-up to combine elements of John Lewis and Co-operative Group’s ownership arrangements would give those who know the Post Office best - subpostmasters, franchise partners, staff and the communities they serve - a real say in how it is run.”

The minister added that there would be a public consultation on the subject before moving forward.

The report is available at: www.uk.coop/postoffice