Statement: Decision to grant an exception to Royal Mail’s universal service obligations

Published: 2 October 2020
Consultation closes: 2 November 2020
Status: Closed (statement published)

Statement published 18 November 2020

As the Designated Universal Service Provider (“DUSP”), Royal Mail is required to provide a universal postal service, including delivery and collection of letters, six days per week, Monday to Saturday. This obligation does not however apply on public holidays, which includes bank holidays and any other date which Ofcom directs. These are known as ‘exceptions.’

Royal Mail has requested that Ofcom issue a direction which makes 2 January an ‘exception’ in Scotland, when this date falls on a Saturday. The 2 January is generally a public holiday in Scotland (known as the New Years’ Holiday) although, when this date falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is ordinarily designated as the official public holiday. This would mean that, in the absence of a direction from Ofcom, Saturday 2 January would be a normal working day on which Royal Mail would be required to deliver and collect letters.

Royal Mail has confirmed that, if Ofcom agrees to its request, it intends to provide universal services on the substituted bank holiday (ordinarily Monday 4 January) when it considers there will be greater demand.

During October 2020, Ofcom consulted on a proposed direction that would implement Royal Mail’s request. We received four responses to our consultation, none of which objected to the proposal. Taking account of those responses, we have decided to agree to Royal Mail’s request.

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