In a report by the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, MPs have stated that ‘Royal Mail has systemically failed to deliver against parts of its Universal Service Obligation.’
The report covers the use of PDAs (postal digital assistants), Sick Pay, and the veracity of Oral Evidence given, which has sparked concerns among eCommerce operators for Royal Mail’s apparent ‘failure’. The MPs review demonstrated that the performance for letters had been marginally better than that for parcels across 1st and 2nd Class mail, however this data doesn’t cover Tracked Parcels which were the items being prioritised. Insinuating that Items that haven’t been sent by either Tracked 24 or 48 or Special Delivery are more than likely to have been treated in the same way as letters and have been arriving late.
The committee stated that they ‘recognise the challenges of both the pandemic and ongoing industrial action’ however, ‘this systemic failing has been taking place before, between and during these events’. Recently, Royal Mail have announced ‘the offices most impacted’ in over 30 areas of the country where they are failing to deliver the Post six days a week.
In a response to these failing offices, Royal Mail stated: ‘Deliveries are operating as normal across the UK today. We aim to deliver to all addresses we have mail for, six days a week. In a small number of local offices, this may temporarily not be possible due to local issues such as high levels of sick absence, resourcing, or other local factors. In those cases, we will rotate deliveries to minimise the delay to individual customers. We also provide targeted support to those offices to address their challenges and restore our service to the high standard our customers would normally receive.’
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee have called for an investigation from Ofcom into these failings and to report back by the end of 2023.
‘In doing so, we encourage Ofcom to meet with postal workers from across the country to take evidence on verbal briefings to deprioritise letter deliveries and to do so on a timeframe which spans pre-pandemic to the current day.’
– Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee
The Committee reached a conclusion, that “whether intentionally or inadvertently, Mr Thompson [Chief Executive Officer of Royal Mail] misled the Committee when he first gave evidence”. MPs also said that “We conclude that, despite Mr Thompson’s statements to us on 17 January, which he qualified on 22 February, Royal Mail has deprioritised delivery of letters as a matter of company policy”. You can read the full report here.