What is the Universal Service ?
Our requirement to fulfil the Universal Service requires us to collect and deliver letters six days a week (and packets five days a week) at an affordable and geographically uniform price to every address in the UK.
This ensures that, wherever our customers live and work, they are not excluded from the postal service system.
Universal price and coverage across the UK
Our customers can post a letter overnight – from Edinburgh to Exeter or Belfast to Birmingham, for example, at a uniform price that compares favourably with many everyday items.
Currently the Universal Service sees us servicing 29 million addresses, collecting mail from more than 115,000 post boxes, more than 11,800 Post Offices and 80,000 businesses at least once a day. And it costs Royal Mail £6.7 billion each year to maintain.
High service standards
Our status as the Universal Service provider means we must meet and report on our performance standards – such as the requirement that a minimum of 93 per cent of First Class post arrives the next working day, and that 98.5 per cent of Second Class post arrives within three working days.
This ensures our customers can be confident of a reliable and efficient service across the UK, at prices that are among the best value in Europe, with delivery targets that are the highest of any major European country.
Helping commerce and communities connect
By sustaining the Universal Service, Royal Mail is continuing to meet the needs of individual consumers and households, but also to help business connect in the community.
We help small and large businesses find their new customers as well as deliver to their existing ones. We make commerce happen and enable it to thrive through our postal delivery networks.
Protected by legislation
The Universal Service is enshrined in legislation. It is our job to sustain the Universal Service offer and everything we do as a business is built around that aim.
The postal services regulator, Ofcom, is responsible for safeguarding the universally priced, affordable postal service to all UK addresses.
In securing the provision of the universal service Ofcom must have regard to the need for Royal Mail to make a reasonable commercial rate of return on its provision of the universal postal service.
The current regulatory framework ensures that Royal Mail is the designated provider of the Universal Service until at least 2019.
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© Royal Mail Group Limited 2013