Concerns have been raised over post offices in the district “failing” to offer the correct service to customers.

Citizens Advice has released a report which looks into the services offered in the 15 post offices dotted around the St Albans District.

The report noted that many smaller post offices offer “significantly longer opening hours, including on Saturdays and Sundays, than was usual several years ago”.

These smaller post offices offer most of the services that people use most frequently, so was a “very welcome” development.

However, Citizens Advice conducted a mystery shopping exercise and found that some post offices – in particular those without a dedicated staff member dealing with post office services – “often make incorrect recommendations, even for relatively simple requests to send an urgent letter or a non-urgent letter with proof of receipt”.

The closure of post offices was also taken into account – the one in How Wood in 2015 and the one in Beech Road earlier in 2017.

As a result of these and earlier closures, the report said the distribution of post offices across the city is very uneven.

Within the city itself, all six smaller post offices are found to the east of St Peter’s Street and the western part of the city is a “post office free zone”.

Post Office Limited said they are now looking for new premises for both these post offices and this is being backed by Citizens Advice, who are encouraging them to do “everything they can to restore services to the areas where they have been lost as soon as possible”.

The report said Post Office Limited should review staff knowledge and training to ensure customers are provided with the correct product and pricing advice.

A Post Office spokesperson responded: “St Albans is well served with 15 Post Offices in the area, which are located in both the city centre and in residential areas. In addition, many of our St Albans branches have significantly extended opening hours as a result of our major programme to modernise our Post Office network.

“Altogether, branches in the area are now open for an extra 484 hours a week, making it far more convenient for customers to visit seven days a week from early until late.

“In the UK, almost 93 per cent of people live within a mile of their nearest Post Office. Of course we always review our network to ensure it can best serve our millions of customers across the UK, and all Post Office staff receive thorough training in our products and services so that we can continue to deliver for the people who rely on us day in, day out. This is reflected in our customer satisfaction levels, which sit at 96 per cent for our modernised smaller branches.”