News and press releases

  • Royal Mail Group
    13 May 2016
    Royal Mail Quality of Service
  • During the fourth quarter of the year, Royal Mail narrowly missed its target for First Class mail with a performance of 92.8 per cent, and exceeded its target for Second Class mail with a performance of 98.8 per cent. Royal Mail has one of the highest Quality of Service specifications of any major European country.
  • Royal Mail narrowly missed the target for First Class mail for the financial year 2015-16, delivering 92.5 per cent the next working day, against a target of 93.0 per cent. The Company notes that the full year outcome was impacted by events outside its control (see below). 
  • Royal Mail exceeded its Second Class quality target in the 2015-16 financial year - 98.8 per cent of this mail was delivered within three working days, against a target of 98.5 per cent.

The Company notes that the full year outcome was impacted by events outside its control. For example, Christmas activity by consumers and companies now includes Cyber Week; it has become a significant part of the festive retail calendar. Christmas itself has always been exempt from Quality of Service regulation because of the exceptionally high mail volumes. Cyber Week, by contrast, can fall within, or outside the exemption period. In 2015-16, all of Cyber Week - from Friday 27 November to Friday 4 December 2015 – fell outside the exemption period. In addition, significant disruption in parts of the country due to poor weather and road closures impacted delivery performance during the period.

The Company believes that if the 2015-16 performance was adjusted for these two factors, an additional 0.31 per cent would be added to the 92.5 per cent reported performance. Allowing for statistical variance the figure would be adjusted by a further +/-0.1 per cent.  As announced in February 2016, Royal Mail will ask Ofcom to take these issues into consideration. It will also be asking Ofcom to include Cyber Week in the exemption period, regardless of when it falls. This will be a matter for Ofcom.

Royal Mail is committed to delivering a high quality of service while seeking to become ever more efficient. In doing so, the Company actively reviews the absorbable rate of change and the appropriate balance between quality and efficiency. In the second half of the year, we increased the already very considerable resources deployed to improve our delivery performance.

For 2015-16, at an individual postcode level, 104 of 118 postcode areas met or exceeded their targets over the year. Royal Mail will ask Ofcom to take the impact of Cyber Week and disruption in parts of the country due to poor weather and road closures into account for impacted postcode areas. Allowing for statistical variance, each postcode area performance would be adjusted by a further +/-0.5 per cent. The Company believes that if the 2015-16 performance was adjusted for these three factors, an additional 13 post codes would meet or exceed their targets.

Sue Whalley, Chief Operations Officer, Royal Mail said: “Our postmen and women work extremely hard to deliver demanding targets. Royal Mail has one of the highest Quality of Service specifications of any major European country. We are disappointed that we narrowly missed our First Class target for 2015-16. We are undergoing a major transformation of our business and the market in which we operate is changing rapidly, with more parcels and fewer letters in our network. As we continue to work to increase efficiency, we also remain committed to improving and maintaining our high standards of service to all our customers across the UK.”

Royal Mail’s Quality of Service is measured by TNS Global, an independent market research company3. The latest independent report on performance was published today on Royal Mail’s website at: http://www.royalmailgroup.com/customers/quality-service/quality-service-reports

For further information contact:

Beth Longcroft on 07435 768 549

Royal Mail Press Office: 0203 338 1007 (24 hours)

100 Victoria Embankment
LONDON
EC4Y 0HQ

Notes to Editors

Royal Mail has the highest quality of service specification of any major European country, compared to Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

  1. Ofcom does not include the Christmas period in its annual quality of service measurement.  This exemption recognises the significant increase in letters and parcels at Christmas.  The current exemption runs from the first Monday in December to the first working day after the New Year public holiday in the following year. In 2015, Cyber Week fell on Friday 27 November to Friday 4 December 2015.  The exemption period began on Monday 7 December 2015.  
  2. Royal Mail’s extensive planning for Christmas begins in the spring. For Christmas 2015, around 19,000 temporary workers were employed and 10 parcel centres were opened to deal with the increase in parcels at the busiest time of the year. Last year, Royal Mail processed and delivered over 130 million parcels in December alone. 
  3. The latest quarterly report for the 2015-16 financial year covers the period from 2 January 2016 to 27 March 2016 inclusive for all services.
  4. Royal Mail’s Quality of Service is measured independently by TNS Global, a company with a long track record in this field.  The methodology used and the results obtained are audited and verified independently of Royal Mail and TNS Global by Ofcom appointed auditors.  Royal Mail knows of no other measurement of its quality of service that gives results with the geographical coverage and degree of reliability and accuracy in the figures obtained by TNS Global.  Over the 2015-2016 financial year, TNS Global measured quality of service by sending more than 730,000 sample letters and parcels to more than 7,300 addresses.
  5. There are 121 Postcode Areas nationwide. All but three are set a minimum standard for First Class stamped and meter franked mail of 91.5 per cent. The three exceptions are Shetland, Orkney and the Hebrides because of their remoteness.