British Forces Post Office (BFPO) has had responsibility for all aspects of military mail, including philatelic matters, since its formation in 1882. More recently, as part of a Strategic Defence and Security Review, BFPO was reorganised and as a result of this the Forces Philatelic Bureau was transferred to the British Forces Philatelic Service (BFPS), which has been specially set-up to ensure Forces Philately survives and thrives.
BFPS is a Community Interest Company limited by guarantee (Registered No. 417647). Community Interest Companies (CICs) are limited companies, with special additional features, created for the use of people who want to conduct a business or other activity for community benefit, and not purely for private advantage.
This is achieved by a “community interest test” and “asset lock”, which ensure that the CIC is established for community purposes and the assets and profits are dedicated to these purposes. Registration of a company as a CIC has to be approved by the Regulator who also has a continuing monitoring and enforcement role. More information on CICs can be found at http://www.bis.gov.uk/cicregulator/
The Head of BFPO acts as Board Chairman and has two senior business leaders with relevant experience as Board members. On a day-to-day basis these two Board members, who are former senior Postal and Courier Service officers jointly manage the company. Another Veteran, with a passion for philately, acts as Marketing Director and webmaster for BFPS.
The team at BFPS is truly committed and members contribute their time and experience free of charge.
The company was set up with assistance from the Royal British Legion’s ‘Be the Boss’ scheme, which has provided a small business loan and mentoring. For more information on ‘starting a business’ please see https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/employment/civvy-street/starting-a-business/
BFPS is authorised by the BFPO to undertake all matters concerning the Forces Philatelic Bureau and act with the authority of the BFPO in relation to all philatelic and related areas. This includes acting as sole agent and representative in all relevant matters, including, but not limited to:
- Issue of official ‘British Forces Postal Service’ handstamp serial numbers.
- Advice about and approval of handstamp design and suitability.
- Dealing with stakeholders, suppliers, customers and clients of the Forces Philatelic Bureau.
- Provision of suitable repost facilities for franking all philatelic and ordinary covers.
- Sponsorship of philatelic covers for military-related events, anniversaries and special occasions.