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National Savings and Investments Department


National Savings and Investments (NS&I)


About the National Savings and Investments

In 1861 the Palmerston Government set up the "Post Office Savings Bank" - a simple savings scheme aiming to encourage ordinary wage earners "to provide for themselves against adversity and ill health". This scheme quickly became popular, and the deposits found their way from the Post Office to the Exchequer, providing a fund which the then Chancellor, Gladstone, could borrow for putting towards public spending.

NS&I principles
This set two principles which have remained in place:

  • to provide a totally secure place for people to save, backed by the Government
  • to provide the Exchequer with a source of funding (ie public borrowing).

Expansion and change
Significant expansion over the next hundred years included the introduction of Savings Certificates during the First World War to help finance the war effort, while Premium Bonds were officially launched on 1 November 1956 by Harold Macmillan, Chancellor of the Exchequer. The first draw took place on 2 June 1957. 1969 saw the first main structural change - the Post Office Savings Bank became a separate government department accountable to Treasury Ministers, and was renamed National Savings. The Post Office still have a role, but as a distribution outlet for National Savings and Investments products. Over the years National Savings developed its range of savings and investments to suit the market and meet the needs of customers and the UK Government's need for funding. In 1996 National Savings became an Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. While National Savings and Investments remain accountable to the Treasury, Agency status has given them greater autonomy in day-to-day management.

Working in partnership
National Savings and Investments embarked on an ambitious modernisation programme in 1999 when it signed a pioneering Public Private Partnership with Siemens Business Services. Over four thousand staff were transferred from National Savings to Siemens Business Services who now handle the service delivery of their products, transforming business operations such as call centres and upgrading information technology.

The partnership has helped make Siemens Business Services one of the United Kingdom's largest providers of back and front office services, while National Savings and Investments gained access to leading-edge IT systems, transaction processing, and business transformation expertise. The original partnership deal was for ten years, and in 2004 it was extended for another five years, taking the partnership to 2014. One of the most innovative elements of the partnership with Siemens Business Services is the creation of joint goals at all levels through both organisations. This has meant significant customer service improvements and cost efficiencies. It has also meant improved customer access with the introduction of the telephone and internet as sales and service channels.

National Savings and Investments has received many endorsements of its quality and service. In 2004, it received its third Charter Mark for Excellence in Public Service. This is building on other awards such as the Kelly's Award for Excellence in Purchasing and Supply in 2000 and reaching the final of the UNISYS Management Today Service Excellence Awards in 2002 and 2003. In 2004 NS&I also won the Institute of Financial Services Financial Innovations Award. All of these awards recognise the benefits that their partnerships have brought internally, to their customers and the UK tax payer.


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