Like many residents, I have been impacted by the very irregular and unreliable postal deliveries many of us have been experiencing locally and appreciate the frustration and concern this is causing. It is a matter I have taken up repeatedly with the senior management of Royal Mail, including with its Chairman, Keith Williams.
The problems we have seen are not just a local phenomenon and are being replicated across the country. It is an issue that has been raised many times in Parliament, including in questions to ministers, select committee sessions, and debates:
Indeed, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has questioned the senior management of Royal Mail twice in recent months, with sessions on 17 January and 22 February. I have copied a link to the transcript of the latter below, during which Simon Thompson, Royal Mail’s CEO, Keith Williams, its Chairman, and Rick McAulay, its Operations Development Director, were questioned at length on the failure to meet the Universal Service Obligation of a six day a week service:
While I understand that for obvious logistical reasons, some priority has to be given to parcels during especially busy times like Christmas for the very simple reason that if not, sorting offices would soon run out of space, clearly this cannot be to the detriment of letter deliveries week in, week out. This is something I have discussed with our local Royal Mail team before.
The pandemic and subsequent industrial action have undoubtedly had a considerable impact on service, but I remain deeply dissatisfied, and wholly unconvinced, by the responses I have received from the management of Royal Mail to date. That is why, earlier this week, I wrote to the regulator, Ofcom, asking its Chief Executive, Dame Melanie Dawes, to take steps to ensure services are improved (I have attached a copy at the bottom of this page). Royal Mail is required by Ofcom to meet its service obligations and if it is failing to do so, which it clearly is, then Ofcom must take appropriate enforcement action, as it did in 2020 when it fined Royal Mail £1.5 million for missing its 2018-19 first class national delivery target.
I will continue to do what I can to escalate this problem and will be looking for further opportunities to raise it in Parliament over the coming weeks, including applying for debates on this matter. I am feeding in problem postcodes on a rolling basis to my contacts at Royal Mail and have arranged to visit the Sherman Road depot over the coming weeks to better understand the situation on the ground.
I will continue to post any updates on my social media accounts.