Ofcom late delivery investigation into Royal Mail

Category: News
Ofcom late delivery investigation into Royal Mail results in Royal Mail £5.6m fine for not delivering on time

Ofcom has officially opened a Royal Mail late delivery investigation into Royal Mail’s failure to meet its delivery targets for 2022/23, after the company published their full year Quality of Service report.

Ofcom late delivery investigation stats

Royal Mail targets

  • deliver 93% of First Class mail within one working day of collection;
  • deliver 98.5% of Second Class mail within three working days of collection; and
  • complete 99.9% of delivery routes on each day that a delivery is required

Royal Mail 2022/23 performance

  • delivered 73.7% of First Class mail within one working day;
  • delivered 90.7% of Second Class mail within three working days; and
  • completed 89.35% of delivery routes for each day on which a delivery was required

Adjusted for estimated impact of strike action

Royal Mail attempted to justify their results by taking into account strike action, but this only adjusted the numbers to be slightly less awful.

  • delivered 81.5% of First Class mail within one working day;
  • delivered 95.2% of Second Class mail within three working days

What’s even worse is that the Quality of Service only covers certain services and Royal Mail don’t report on time delivery achievements for many products. In fairness, while they denied they prioritise parcels, it’s well known that they were doing so during the months of strikes, but that would only be for Tracked products. Certainly through the months of strikes they treated 1st & 2nd Class parcels with the same attitude as letters… i.e. to all appearances from from a consumer perspective, random delivery when they get around to it.

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 will come as no surprise to ecommerce retailers who have had to live with the reality of an abysmal service for most of the past year, many of whom will welcome the Ofcom late delivery investigation.

– Grant McPherson, Chief Operating Officer, Royal Mail

The real problem with the Ofcom late delivery investigation is that it’s too late to assist the businesses and consumers who suffered from Royal Mail’s poor performance, and it’s too late to hold the CEO to account as he’s already on his way out of the door. Fining the company also won’t do much good as they’ve lost millions every single week for months on end and their finances couldn’t be much worse anyway… although thankfully their group balance sheet is propped up from GLS income.

What we’re looking out for is what Royal Mail’s performance is like in Q1 2023/24 now that strikes are over, but if service still doesn’t meet performance targets and we have to wait another year for yet another late delivery investigation we’ll be living with a very second class service that no one uses from choice.

Ofcom takes quality of service very seriously. In deciding whether the company is in breach of its obligations, we will consider if there were any exceptional events – beyond the company’s control – that may have explained why it missed its targets.

If it does not provide a satisfactory explanation and we determine that Royal Mail has failed to comply with its obligations, we may consider whether to impose a financial penalty.

Last year, we warned the company that it could no longer use the impact of Covid-19 as an excuse for poor delivery performance.

– Ofcom

3 Responses

  1. And who is going to pay the price? We, the customers, of course. In a just society, any fine money would be taken from Thompson’s personal bank account. Same as it should for Paula Vennells at the Post Office. At the very least.

  2. overall Im quite happy with the Royal Mail. I dread the thought of it being broken up. As a national organisation it should be efficient of course. You only need to look at the mess trains, water, power, energy as a whole is in, thus breaking up the post office is only going to put all the prices up for a poorer service.

  3. Vincent Cable of the wonderfully flexible libdems is ultimately responsible for this disaster. Misguided privatisation has driven Royal Mail into the ground. The government will have to step in and sort out the mess or the public will end up with no universal service.
    Just like with the railways which were sold into the careless hands of profiteers who have needed far more subsidies than BR ever got in real terms. Some industries are just not suited to being treated as commercial cash cows. The Water and Energy companies et al are flabby and inefficient and just ripping off ordinary hard working folk to feed greedy directors and shareholders.

    Other countries don’t put up with this.

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