Royal Mail announced on 28 April 2020 a temporary reduction in the frequency of letter delivery from six to five days a week, with the change removing the Saturday letter delivery. Royal Mail will continue to ensure the delivery of parcels and Special Delivery services on Saturday. This is in response to issues caused by the current Covid-19 crisis, including high levels of absences and necessary social distancing measures.
Under the Postal Services Act 2011, the regulatory conditions that require Royal Mail to deliver letters six days a week, as part of the universal postal service, also provide that Royal Mail is not required to sustain these services without interruption, suspension or restriction in the event of an emergency.
Ofcom acknowledges in this context that the Covid-19 pandemic is an emergency situation. Accordingly, the statutory framework allows Royal Mail to modify its operations, including reducing the frequency of the delivery of letters, without formal authorisation, if it considers this necessary to respond to the emergency challenges it faces in sustaining the universal postal service.
However, Royal Mail’s delivery obligations remain important elements of the universal service. The company has been very clear this is a temporary change. We will therefore keep these, and any other measures taken in response to the emergency, under review as the situation develops, including, in particular, to consider at what point we are no longer in an emergency situation.