This change had already been introduced for big users and contract customers, and Royal Mail was keen to extend it to packets and parcels sent from Post Office counters. However that still left stamped mail, and mail sent using Open Value labels from the Self-Service Kiosks (SSK) in Post Office branches - senders were increasingly encouraged to use SSKs instead of the counter which could then be used more for foreign money and insurance transactions.
Although not unexpected, this change seems to have been unannounced. I understand from the British Postmark Society that trials started in September and I know that the system is still being rolled out across the branch network. The labels are dispensed from a third printer added to the machines - I doubt that the rolls can be loaded in positions 1 and 2 - but time will tell. The new label is very similar to the new-style horizon label above:
As with other Post and Go stamps these have a year code, located to the right of the Queen's head:
Unfortunately the Norwich SSK machines are producing a very poor quality print, but the similarity is obvious, even if the details are repositioned. From the top, the date, weight and value (£1.20 in this case). At lower right, the destination postcode, house number, branch code and VAT code. I presume that the country is shown if the destination is overseas, and the PO Box number in place of the house number.
At one time one could find a comprehensive list of PO branches which had Wincor and then NCR machines, identified by Branch Code. Unfortunately this is difficult to maintain without input from a great many people and a lot of work: as the network has expanded it has become more difficult and each relocation (eg from a Crown Office) brings a new branch code. Norwich Castle Mall Crown Office was 019136; the new office in WHSmith's St Stephen's Street branch is 558136) 136 being the area code).
However, if you have a smart-phone with a QR-code reader or bar-code reader, you may be able to interpret the data included in the 2D barcode. This one produced the data string:
JGB 422 2A021884384400397F558136000011with 133 NR3 1NY being the destination address, and NR1 3QP being the Post Office branch postcode. 241116 is the date of production of the label, and theoretically the date of posting, while (0)120 is the postage. If anybody can interpret the rest, I will be pleased to add it.
3100120241116122 133 NR31NY GBRNR13QP
UPDATE 6 December:
No sooner had I posted this than DP sent a link to a batch of Post and Go/SSK stamps on eBay which included this pair of Hibernating Animals.
I don't think there is any text on the upper one and I can't read the postmark. He also writes:
DP also provided this image showing £2.45 labels printed on large and small stock on the same day, three sessions apart (972/975):Whilst I was buying the open value versions of the labels, the machine at Ealing printed the large letter label on the new large size label. I understand from discussions with the lady overseeing the machines that if either the 1st or 2nd class printer can’t print the label, it is printed on the large label, so large NCR labels with weights under 101g should be worth looking out for. I’ve attached a scan of the large and small size labels (although they are different weights they are both under the 101g that trigger the vending of the large label). Conversely if the large label printer can’t print it defaults to the small labels printers.
On the left the new larger label for an airmail large letter. On the right an Open Value normal size stamp for the same service. The datastring on the OV stamp is 139006-68-00975-01, that is Branch 139006, session 68-975, stamp 1. The large label is session 68-972 but the datastring printed vertically at the lower right (next to the large L) is 68-292. The barcode on this one reads
JGB 426 7A02121EFE44001245139006000003
I suspect 'FRA' refers to France as a destination.