Royal Mail Quality of Service target missed for 7th consecutive quarter

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For the 7th quarter in a row Royal Mail Quality of Service targets set for the Universal Service Obligation have been missed. Royal Mail failed to deliver the prescribed 93% of 1st Class letters and parcels on time, i.e. the next working day.

Royal Mail Quality of Service 4th Quarter 2018-19

For the last quarter, Royal Mail only delivered 92% of 1st Class mail the next working day and 91.5% for the full year.

Royal Mail did manage to deliver enough 2nd Class mail on time to meet the regulatory target with 98.9% delivered within three working days for the quarter and 98.6% for the full year.

Why isn’t the Royal Mail Quality of Service target being met?

There is something strange going on at Royal Mail, it’s almost as if they’ve given up and abandoned any attempt to deliver the post covered by the Universal service on time. Missing the Royal Mail Quality of Service for the odd quarter is one thing, but now they haven’t delivered the post on time for almost two years. One might ask what the regulator is doing about this and indeed why Royal Mail CEO Rico Back who took control in June 2018 hasn’t managed to turn things around in a year.

Royal Mail are under an obligation to deliver the Universal Service but their entire focus appears to be on parcels. Even here they are making life difficult for their customers having recently given NetDespatch clients just a month’s notice to move onto a new platform. Users, who needed no tech expertise as NetDespatch did all the integration work for them, are being forced to implement new software solutions, which one might normally view as a three to six month project, in under a month.

One might look at Royal Mail’s performance over the past two years and conclude that they have washed their hands of 1st Class Mail and would happily split the company keeping the parcels business and letting the regulator award the job of delivering the Universal Service Obligation to a different company or take it back into government ownership.

“We were disappointed to miss our target. Every item of mail is important to us. We are proud to deliver the Universal Service and we take our Quality of Service obligations very seriously.”
– Royal Mail Spokesperson

Any other business that failed to deliver their basic service for almost two years would have customers leaving in droves, but there is no realistic alternative to Royal Mail – even third party postal services rely on Royal Mail for final mile deliveries.

What did Royal Mail say?

“We are disappointed that we missed our annual regulatory First Class target. Our postmen and women work extremely hard to deliver the mail six days a week in all weather. We are committed to delivering high standards of service to all our customers across the UK.”
– Paul O’Keefe, director of quality and customer, Royal Mail

What are OFCOM doing?

OFCOM have brought forward a review of Royal Mail services from 2022 to this year.

Sustaining the universal postal service

3.26 Many people and businesses rely on the universal postal service. We have a duty to secure the universal postal service, and monitor on Royal Mail’s performance and finances.
3.27 In light of the continuing decline in the letters market and broader changes in the parcels’ market and customers’ expectations, we propose to enhance our monitoring of Royal Mail.
Annual Plan 2019/2012
We will bring forward some of the work we had planned to undertake as part of our next review of the regulation of Royal Mail which, as we set out in spring 2017, we intended to undertake by 2022.
3.28 In the next financial year, in addition to our current work programme, we will:
• Carry out a review of Royal Mail’s efficiency.
This work will give us more insights into the likely future sustainability of the universal postal service. We intend to provide our latest view on the sustainability of the universal postal service in Q3.
• Seek to understand the needs of postal users better.
We will carry out research to review the extent to which the postal market is meeting the reasonable needs of users in light of changes in the market, in particular the growth in online shopping and continued decline in letters. We will assess implications arising from changes in postal user needs. We plan to publish preliminary findings in Q4.

– Ofcom’s Annual Plan programme of work for 2019/20

29 Responses

  1. It seems to me that Royal Mail are the only regulated mail carrier . I’ve yet to see how Yodel or DPS are doing , can we have some balanced reporting please ?

  2. If Royal Mail concentrated on getting the mail delivered instead of cutting budgets year on year, the public would get the quality of service they deserve. Delivery office managers are forced to compromise quality in order to try meeting their budgets and even then very rarely achieve their budget targets. The answer to their continued failure is Vince Cable, taking Royal Mail in to the private sector was a grave mistake and you are now reaping the benefits or Not should I say……….

  3. the obsession with instant delivery is the problem,
    the fact that its actually delivered and not lost or stolen should be the benchmark,
    credible and accurate tracking ,would keep most happy even if it were a day or so late

  4. And how would you know if John’s office is understaffed or not James? Typical assumption by another arrogant, clueless Royal Mail Manager no doubt. You my friend, are the problem. Jog on.

  5. I’m in my 27th year as a postie and, cannot believe how much the business has gone from a great company to where it is now. I totally blame the weak management and planners whom are not in the real world. I am a rural village postie and for 25 yrs had a bike to deliver mail and parcels – never having any incidents or accidents. I now share a smelly diesel van with another postie and, my delivery takes longer. I have lots of dead walking returning to the van and with only 1 key between us. The van does approx. 5 miles a day and then parked up for the rest of the day. Jow can that be cost efficient? How many vans throughout the country are being used this way? Bring back my trusty bike.

  6. royal mail need to stop worrying about share holders and concentrate on the staff that are thier now trying to do a good job with less.staff.

  7. We are understaffed at our office.
    Overtime every day plus obsorbtion
    So people cut off others complete
    It’s different every day

  8. Only regulated service plus other providers fully embrace the gig economy which is a travesty of modern society and undercut the ability of Royal Mail to provide the USO.

  9. I work nights in Royal Mail, we always lapse every week. Instead of 6 members a night we have 5,rare occasions 4 due sickness etc.all to do to save money.

  10. Walks to big…sickness aging workforce inadequate equipment the list is endless!!

  11. A reply to the recent comments, there are 2 sides to this..yes the demands of management to absorb absorb absorb is one of the problems that why QOS is failing, on the other hand, the culture of finish as quick as you can and not work the hours your actually paid, is another blight on our QOS, We’re not understaffed at our office, it’s just our sick record is horrendous, it’s TOO easy to go sick and it’s costing the business an absolute fortune !!!!!

  12. I worked as a postman in the 90’s and 00’s and next day deliveries were always in the 94-95% region. At the time it was a great corporation to work for and I loved it but because of health reasons I had to leave but I loved that job. Then about 15 years ago they changed their working practices and none of the posties I was still in touch with even liked the job. So many of them have left.

  13. As an ex royal mail employee, the move towards privatisation was the 2nd catalyst to this downfall in performance, the first being opening up the bulk of the profit to be taken by competitors, letting those companies have a lar dee dah attitude not being held to a universal service they have the opportunity to take a huge slice of the profit with much less responsibility, further more now the company is driven by profits the company see fit to reduce the workforce further and further and expect more at the same time, this is a solid business plan but short cuts are taken! I was regularly working without supervision or a qualified first aider, the building i worked in was rented but royal mail was responsible for the up keep, we used to take bricks from the walls surrounding to fire doors and use the to sit on whilst having a break outside. Send the company back to government ownership, make it a service and not a profit oriented business, the service will meet the standards we’ve come too expect and admire

  14. I have witnessed for the last 4 years at my unit the USO failed every single day, 1st & 2nd class Mail failed, parcels and international packets, Passport Application, additional document requirements letters from Passport office failed, fresh Flowers, whole streets, even whole deliveries, NEVER NEVER EVER RECORED Correctly by the Unit DOM, who and where do the staff report this to in confidence, as the internal reporting number is NOT confidential, because I have seen witnessed retaliation against those who have reported the USO failures, even dismissed,

    Who is the government body staff report these daily, weekly and monthly failures to.

  15. Since moving from South East to South West of the country, my postal delivery service has been dreadful. Many of my letters are delivered opened, bank cards, credit cards don’t arrive! My son sent me a gift for my birthday (gift card) by Signed for post & that obviously was stolen as never received it & the tracking on RM website never moved passed the notification of where the item was accepted at! Complaints gone in by email several times but I just get a ‘sorry your item hasn’t been delivered’… nothing gets done about the seriousness of theft because it clearly is rife in some areas.

  16. I work on a shared van rural round,now the village is expanding we cant get round,managers do t care and think its us causing the problems, instead of coming out to take a look at the situation they don’t seem to care,we’ve lost staff who know the area and expect us to absorb another round as well, and told to finish that and bring stuff back from our round, customers are paying to have this done , wake up royal mail you keep saying times are changing well change and managed it properly because like so many I know cant be bothered anymore………

  17. I am not going to point the finger at who is responsible but every time we have a bank holiday i know that we are going to get loads of complaints that items sent on the tuesday still havent been received by the weekend… or later. Same thing every time.
    My postie tells me it is because it creates a backlog and so excess mail is just filtered into the system over a week or more!!!! That may be great for RM, but what about business and customers? how are we supposed to know? The attitude from the account managers is the delivery time is just an estimate… well when you quote 2 to 3 days i consider an estimate to exend to 4 days … but when it starts getting to 6, 7 8… the customer either wants it resent or refunded. The likes of ebay have hammered us and we still don’t know if it will even arrive! Yes Items genuinely not arriving continue to rise. Items not being able to be left… but no card left, have rocketed.
    The whole thing is a farce and with the likes of amazon and ebay, not taking any notice of the issue and instead blaming the sellers, well you just want to give up.
    I know that RM was a dinosaur before privatisation, those who praise it obviously never ran a busienss with high volumes of mail, but after improving slowly and coming around to the fact the world had changed, it then went all down hill.
    I do agree though that pinning the universal service on it and not on others is just wrong.

  18. we use both my hermes and Royal mail
    my hermes are far and away the worst of the 2 when it comes to service and delivery but their cheap
    the customer is always right[allegedly]

  19. The CWU is destroying royal mail.
    They must understand that if there is no company there will be no membership

  20. just changed our mind about royal mail
    after a number of items not scanned ,royal mails customer service excuse was the battery was flat on the pda scanner,
    plus were losing at least one item a week now with RM24
    when we complain they trolley out the usual dribble about 15 days before its considered lost


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