Post (international work)
Our international activities in relation to post fall within Ofcom’s strategic priority to engage with the development of international regulatory frameworks within which the UK, Ofcom and our stakeholders operate, so as to ensure that they are practical, proportionate and serve the interests of UK citizens and consumers.
To achieve this, we engage with and contribute to the development of EU and international regulatory thinking through participation in the relevant groups (e.g. the Postal Directive Committee, the European Committee for Postal Regulation) and by responding to questionnaires and initiatives by the European Commission and other NRAs.
EU regulation has had a prominent role in the development of European postal markets over the past fifteen years.
The main objectives of customer protection (by means of the definition of a minimum required postal universal service across all Member States) and of liberalisation were pursued by a series of regulatory step changes outlined below.
Main steps of EU postal regulation
From Jan. 1, 1998
Between 1998 and 2010
Between 2011 and 2013
The Third Postal Directive (Directive 2008/06/EC) amended the Framework Postal Directive (97/67/EC) and the Second Postal Directive (Directive 2002/39 EC) as a final step in the process of gradual market opening. This Directive also includes provisions on other issues of regulatory interest such as accounting separation, calculation of the net cost of the USO, and non-discriminatory access to special tariffs and data collection.
The objective of the EU postal policy is to accomplish the Single Market for postal services and to ensure a high quality universal postal service as part of the Lisbon Agenda. The improvement of quality of service, in particular in terms of domestic and cross-border delivery performance, and convenient access are fundamental aspects of this policy which focuses on all postal customers, both business and residential.
Full market opening was accomplished by 31 December 2010 for 16 Member States with a further two years allowed for the remaining 11 Member States so the market was fully open across the EU by 1 January 2013.
The European Commission monitors and ensures the correct implementation of the regulatory framework and, where appropriate, can propose changes to this framework in order to achieve the Community's postal policy objectives.
European postal bodies
The European Regulators Group for Post (ERGP) was established by a Commission Decision on 10 August 2010, and is composed of the national regulatory authorities. It serves as a body for reflection, discussion and advice to the Commission in the postal services field.
Specific work areas addressed by the five ERGP sub-groups include regulatory cost accounting, net costs of USO, cross-border services, end-to-end competition and access to the postal network, postal infrastructure and market measurement, as well as end-to-end satisfaction.
The ERGP publishes an annual Work Programme and some of the latest outputs have included:
- ERGP common position on cost allocation rules (after public consultation)
- ERGP report on the net cost of USO
- ERGP report on VAT as a benefit or a burden (after public consultation)
- ERGP report on assessment of complaint handling procedures and consumer protection
- ERGP report on market data indicators
- ERGP report on access to the postal network and elements of postal infrastructure
Ofcom plays a key role in the ERGP in order to promote best practice regulatory approaches in Europe and to ensure that the ERGP's advice to the EC on policy proposals is sound and consistent with Ofcom's preferred approaches.
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is a UN organization of 192 member countries which is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector stakeholders. It works to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services and provides technical assistance where needed. It sets the standards for international mail and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail and parcels volumes and to improve quality of service for customers.
The 25th UPU Congress took place in Sept/Oct 2012 in Doha. The next UPU Congress will be held in Istanbul in 2016.