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Ofcom opens Royal Mail delivery failure investigation


Ofcom has opened an investigation into Royal Mail’s failure to meet its delivery targets for 2022/23.

Under the communications regulatory body’s rules, Royal Mail is required to meet specific performance targets across the year, excluding the Christmas period. Among other targets, Royal Mail must:

  • deliver 93% of First Class mail within one working day of collection;
  • deliver 98.5% of Second Class mail within three working days of collection; and
  • complete 99.9% of delivery routes on each day that a delivery is required.

Royal Mail reported that it only delivered 73.7% of First Class mail within one working day; delivered 90.7% of Second Class mail within three working days; and completed 89.35% of delivery routes for each day on which a delivery was required.

Ofcom said it takes quality of service very seriously. In deciding whether the company is in breach of its obligations, it will consider if there were any exceptional events – beyond the company’s control – that may have explained why it missed its targets.

Royal Mail has been plagued by industrial action since August 2022 only coming to an agreement with the Communications Workers Union in April 2023. It could now face a financial penalty from Ofcom if it does not provide a satisfactory explanation.

Last year, Ofcom warned the company that it could no longer use the impact of Covid-19 as an excuse for poor delivery performance.

Grant McPherson, chief operating officer, Royal Mail, said: “Improving quality of service is our top priority. We are committed to accelerating Royal Mail’s transformation and restoring service levels to where our customers expect them to be.

“We’re sorry to any customers who may have been impacted by our performance during a year that has been one of the most challenging in our history. With the plans we have in place to drive service levels and reduce absence, we hope and expect to see further progress in the coming months.”

The latest statement also follows news that that Simon Thompson will step down as Royal Mail’s chief executive.

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