Royal Mail delivery target failures to be investigated by Ofcom – and a fine could be dished out
Regulator Ofcom said it has launched an investigation into Royal Mail’s failure to meet its delivery targets in the past year – and could hand out a fine.
The British delivery firm fell short of its performance targets across the 2022 to 2023 financial year for first and second class mail and deliveries.
Some 73.7 per cent of first class mail was delivered within one working day across the year. The target was 93 per cent.
Ofcom said it takes quality of service very seriously and could fine Royal Mail if it cannot reasonably explain why it missed the targets.
The pandemic can no longer be used as an excuse for poor delivery performance, Ofcom said.
The probe follows last week’s news that boss Simon Thompson will step down by the end of the year.
His departure was announced weeks after a lengthy dispute with the main postal union came to an end.
Grant McPherson, chief operating officer of 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.”
This comes after the boss of Royal Mail quit the top job in order to allow the company to move on following a bruising fight with its main union which finally concluded last month.
Simon Thompson’s departure comes weeks after agreeing a deal with the Communication Workers Union which brought to an end a year of postal strikes.
Under the microscope?
Citizens Advice’s Matthew Upton, acting executive director of policy & advocacy, said “Ofcom’s investigation should put Royal Mail under the microscope, not just for recent failings, but for missing its delivery targets for four out of the last five years.
“We know the strain Royal Mail is under, but people must be able to rely on their post arriving in good time, including vital medical letters and urgent bills. Year after year of service failures have real consequences. It’s just not good enough.
“Ofcom must now take stronger enforcement action, including possible fines. Anything less risks sending a message that continually letting customers down is okay.”
Press Association – Anna Wise