News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    Royal Mail Cruciform logo
    6 May 2013
    Royal Mail welcomes new safeguards for rural postal services
  • Royal Mail welcomes new safeguards for postal services in rural communities set out by the postal regulator Ofcom
  • Under new proposals, access to Royal Mail’s estate of 115,500 post boxes will be protected with a requirement that 98 per cent of all households across the UK should be within half a mile of a post box. Ofcom makes clear that Royal Mail is already compliant with this
  • We share Ofcom’s view that the current requirement, which covers less than half of the UK’s 121 postcode areas and only 15 per cent of its geographic area, is not fit for purpose
     

Royal Mail welcomes new safeguards for postal services in rural communities set out by the postal regulator Ofcom.

Under the proposals, access to Royal Mail’s estate of 115,500 post boxes will be protected with a requirement that 98 per cent of all households across the UK should be within half a mile of a post box. We share Ofcom’s view that the current measure, which covers less than half of the UK’s 121 postcode areas and only 15 per cent of its geographic area, is not fit for purpose.

Royal Mail is pleased that Ofcom has proposed revised requirement that provides protection to the country as a whole and recognises that the current post box estate provided by Royal Mail already meets the needs of users. Ofcom makes clear that Royal Mail is already compliant with its proposed new criteria. Evidence from a range of market research demonstrates the vast majority of users are satisfied or very satisfied with the current level of post box provision.

The new requirement would provide further protection for postal services to those in rural communities. Ofcom recently confirmed that the scope of the Universal Service which guarantees the same service standards for the provision of postal services in rural and urban areas would remain unchanged. Royal Mail is legally obliged to deliver to every address and daily deliveries to rural areas cannot be reduced in the event of the sale of Royal Mail. This obligation is defined in law and cannot be changed unless approved by both Houses of Parliament.

Furthermore, access to postal services is underpinned by the Post Office branch network which is required to meet stringent Government accessibility criteria. Currently 93.1% of people in the UK must be within a mile of a Post Office, and 99.7% within three miles. Post Office branches provide access for larger and signature items, but will accept other items of mail and most also have a post box located in close proximity.

Stephen Agar, Managing Director, Consumer & Network Access, Royal Mail said: “Nine out of ten customers consider Royal Mail a core part of the community – particularly in rural areas, where we are part of the lifeblood of day to day communication. Easy access to post boxes is an important part of this. The number of post boxes in the UK – in both rural and urban areas - has remained stable for the past decade. We are proud that, with our extensive network of over 115,000 post boxes, the UK has the highest level of post box provision per square kilometre of any Western European nation. Amongst the 19 countries measured by the Universal Postal Union, only Japan has a higher geographic density of post boxes.”

The quality of service standards that apply to Royal Mail, set by Ofcom in the Universal Service Order, would also continue to apply after any sale. These are amongst the highest of any major European country and include the following:

Performance measure

Standard

Delivery routes completed each day

99.90%

Access points served each day

99.90%

Postal packets deemed delivered

99.50%

First class mail delivered next working day

93.0%

Second class postal packets up to 1kg delivered within 3 working days

98.5%

Second class postal packets more than 1kg delivered within 3 working days

90%

Special Delivery up to 10kg delivered by 13:00 next working day

99.0%

International Mail going to the EU delivered within 3 working days

85.0%

First class mail delivered next working day in each of 118 postcode areas

91.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 For further information contact:

Tim Cowen on 07720 412143 or tim.cowen@royalmail.com

Barbara Roulston on 07885 269003 or barbara.roulston@royalmail.com