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Royal Mail's proposal for the future Universal Service

Apr 3, 2024 |

International Distributions Services plc announced today that Royal Mail (RM) has submitted its response to Ofcom’s call for input into the Universal Service.

Following extensive consultation, and listening to a wide range of consumers, businesses and stakeholders, RM’s proposal is designed to protect what matters most to customers, with no changes to:

  • The one-price-goes-anywhere service to all parts of the United Kingdom
  • First Class letters delivered daily, six days a week (Monday to Saturday) to recognise the importance of next-day and Saturday deliveries, especially for the NHS, publishers and senders of greeting cards
  • The option of First Class and Second Class letters, giving people the choice of price and speed
  • Parcels delivered up to seven days a week as currently.

The proposal includes vital changes to deliver a more efficient and more financially sustainable Universal Service:

  • All non-First Class letter deliveries, including Second Class, would be delivered every other weekday
  • The delivery speed of standard bulk business mail (used by large mail shippers for bulk mailings such as bills and statements) would be aligned to Second Class, so they arrive within three weekdays instead of two currently.

Listening to what customers have told us is important, RM is also calling on Ofcom to modernise the Universal Service for the digital age by introducing the following new features:

  • The introduction of new, additional reliability targets for First Class and Second Class services, alongside revised, realistic speed targets, to give customers further confidence
  • Tracking added to Universal Service parcels to reflect customer demand.

The NFSP submitted a consultation response, which included:

  • We do not agree with the three options offered
  • There was not enough consultation with small businesses
  • We did not agree that the letters market should subside the parcels market
  • A call for the USO to remain unchanged due to RM's monopoly position
  • Ofcom should understand the social and community value of delivery people and postmasters, both impacted by the proposed changes. The USO supports far more economically, socially and financially than RM
  • That RM efficiency should be explored via a full impartial review before any changes are made
  • The USO should centre on fairness for the customer, and not on profits for the service provider