Ofcom Postal Review Consultation
Further to LTB 293/21 in July which advised of the Union’s submission to Ofcom’s Review of Postal Regulation – Call for inputs, Ofcom has now published a consultation on its regulatory proposals for the five year period from 2022 to 2027. Alongside these proposals, Ofcom has published its Annual Monitoring Update on the Postal Market for the financial year 2020-21. These reports can be accessed via the links below.
The CWU Research Department has produced a brief initial analysis of the positive and negative aspects of Ofcom’s proposals from a CWU perspective, as set out below. A more in-depth analysis will be undertaken which will be considered by the Postal Executive and the National Executive early in the New Year.
Positives from Ofcom’s proposals:
- No reintroduction of price controls or binding efficiency targets on Royal Mail.
- Maintaining Royal Mail’s current commercial and operational flexibility to help support the universal service.
- No extension of access regulation to small parcels or other bulk letter services (e.g. business reply mail).
- Maintaining the requirements on Royal Mail to provide USO services for parcels weighing up to 20kg.
- Extending some complaints handling procedures to other parcel operators and requiring parcel operators to better meet the needs of consumers with disabilities.
- Retaining the current quality of service standards for Royal Mail under the USO.
- Ofcom to work with Government and the postal sector as needed to help meet the UK’s net-zero carbon target.
Negatives from Ofcom’s proposals:
- No mention of labour standards in parcels and little mention of pressure on delivery drivers.
- Additional requirement on Royal Mail to set and report against a five-year efficiency expectation. Ofcom will monitor performance against those expectations.
- No introduction of tracked products into the scope of the universal service.
- No additional regulatory incentives for parcel operators to reduce risk of parcels loss or damage.
- No increase in the delivery frequency requirement for USO parcels (i.e. no increase from 5 days to 6 days a week).
- No mention of Ofcom pushing for more powers and duties on labour and environmental standards as called for by CWU.
The closing dated for responses to Ofcom’s consultation is the 3rdMarch 2022, with Ofcom’s final decision document expected in Summer 2022. The DGS(P) Department and Postal Executive will now in conjunction with the GS Department and Research Department work on a further response to Ofcom which will be circulated to Branches in due course.
Link to Ofcom’s Review of Postal Regulation Consultation: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/postal-regulation-review
Link to Ofcom’s Annual Monitoring Update on the Postal Market 2020-21:
Any enquiries in relation to the content of this LTB should be addressed to the DGS (P) or GS Department.
Deputy General Secretary (Postal)