30/05/2003

Royal Mail delivers but fails test of time

Despite the Royal Mail reporting that its First Class service is the most reliable it has been for seven years, the company has been attacked over its failure to meet delivery deadlines.

Announcing quality of service results for the financial year 2002 to 2003, Royal Mail said the performance of the First Class service improved by nearly 2% on the previous year. For the full year 2002-2003, 91.8% of First Class letters were delivered next day compared with 89.9% the year before.

However, Royal Mail failed to meet the 92.5% licence stipulations set by the regulator, Postcomm, achieving only 91.7%.

Due to this poor performance, Royal Mail may face penalities from Postcomm.

Royal Mail’s Managing Director for the UK, Jerry Cope, said: “We are disappointed to have failed the licence target by a small margin but we are encouraged that the improvement over last year demonstrates that the efforts of our people to drive up performance are working.

“In particular our employees coped magnificently with the unprecedented severe weather experienced at the beginning of February which undoubtedly affected our ability to deliver the performance required in the licence.

“Year on year this is a good performance but we are determined to do better for our customers and meet the licence targets in the current year.”

Royal Mail reported that Second Class mail achieved 98.2% in February and March against a target of 98.5% and the Standard Parcel service achieved 91.6%, exceeding its 90% target.

Also, the number of postcode areas consistently meeting targets has improved from 60% in in the previous year to 92% in the year ending April 2003.

“There has been a marked improvement in geographical performance particularly in London where the gap in performance between the capital and the rest of the country is closing,” said Mr Cope.

“We still have much to do but Royal Mail has become a more stable business. Continuing this effort should ensure that our licence targets are met this year and that our customers benefit from consistently good and reliable service.”

(SP)

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