Royal Mail: Impact of the pandemic clear but notable improvements this quarter
Royal Mail has issued its Universal Service Obligation (USO) Quality of Service report for the first quarter ending June 2021.1
The organisation stated: “At the beginning of the pandemic we communicated to customers that despite our best efforts, our service was likely to be disrupted. This was due to necessary social distancing measures, combined with increased COVID-related staff absences and unprecedented parcel volumes. We prioritised the health and safety of our people and customers and we modified our operations.
During the last quarter we have experienced high levels of sick absence and selfisolation compared with pre-COVID levels. This has impacted service levels. But we are making progress and today’s figures are an improvement on the previous quarter. Our focus is to restore our service to the high standards our customers would normally receive.
During the first quarter of the year leading up to 27 June 2021, Royal Mail delivered 97.5 per cent of Second Class mail within three working days. The Company delivered 87.2 per cent of First Class mail the next working day with 97.0 per cent delivered within two days.
In March 2020, Ofcom recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic qualified as a ‘regulatory emergency period’. This meant that Royal Mail was not required to sustain the Universal Service without interruptions, suspension or restriction, according to the regulator. Ofcom acknowledged that it would not always be possible for us to meet our regulatory obligations, which included our Quality of Service targets.
Ofcom has recently stated that the regulatory emergency period will end on 31 August 2021. Royal Mail welcomes Ofcom’s commitment in its statement to take a ‘pragmatic and proportionate’ approach to regulation once the regulatory emergency period ends while COVID continues to create challenges for our business. We are focused on delivering pre-COVID quality in a COVID world for our customers as quickly as possible.”
Royal Mail is the only UK mail delivery company required to publish Quality of Service performance against delivery targets every quarter.
Shiona Rolfe, Service Delivery Director, Royal Mail said: “We have been working hard to improve Quality of Service. While today’s report shows that service levels continue to be impacted by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are making progress with notable improvements across our First and Second class products compared to the previous quarter. Royal Mail has one of the highest Quality of Service specifications of any major European country and our postmen and women are working extremely hard to deliver high standards of service to all our customers across the UK.”