Changing the basis on which annual letters revenues and volumes data is collected and published

18 December 2017

Data: Letter post volumes and revenues (end-to-end and access mail)

In February 2017, we published a proposal on making changes to the way we collect data from postal stakeholders, and asked for comments to be submitted by 6 March 2017.

We now confirm that we will cease collecting letters volumes and revenues data on a regular basis from those operators which handle fewer than two million letters and large letters a year. This change will apply from financial year 2017-18 (April 2017 to March 2018).

We consider that the change to our data collection will remove burdens from the smallest postal operators without having a material impact on our ability to monitor the market, for the reasons set out in our consultation document.

We received a single submission from a stakeholder in response to our proposal, who suggested that the proposed changes to our data collection would impair our ability to monitor the letters market, and in particular, the development of end-to-end competition. We have considered this submission. However, we continue to take the view that the change would not impair our ability to monitor the market for the same reasons as set out in the February proposal. In summary, these include the very low proportion of access and non-Royal Mail end-to-end accounted for by operators handling fewer than two million letters annually; visibility of total access volume from Royal Mail (and of revenue from Royal Mail and others); and the retention of the ability to require provision of information on an ad hoc basis.

In the light of these changes we will therefore require all operators who meet one or both of the criteria set out below to provide us with information on their letters business on an annual basis. These criteria are:

  1. the operator’s combined access mail (including agency and DSA) and end to end delivered Letters and Large Letters volumes exceeded 2 million items in the period April 2016 to March 2017; or
  2. the operator expects to have combined access mail (including agency and DSA) and end to end delivered Letters and Large Letters volumes exceeding 2 million items in the period April 2017-March 2018.

We will be writing to those operators we have collected data from in 2016-17 in due course to inform them of what action, if any, they may need to take.

If you believe that you meet at least one of the criteria above, but we have not collected data from you in the past financial year (2016-17), please contact mailmarketinfo@ofcom.org.uk to inform us of this. We can then advise you as to what further action you may need to take.

If you require further information or have any questions, please contact Mark Pearson in Ofcom’s Market Intelligence team at mailmarketinfo@ofcom.org.uk

Notes

Letter means an addressed postal item that is up to length 240mm, width 165mm, thickness 5mm, and weighs no more than 100g.

Large Letter means an addressed postal item that is larger than a Letter in any dimension or in weight, is up to length 353mm, width 250mm, thickness 25mm, and weighs no more than 750g.

Access mail means mail in relation to which Royal Mail has provided Access. Access means giving a person access to the universal service provider’s postal network at the IMC for the purposes of providing any domestic postal services for Letters, Large Letters or Parcels.

End-to-end delivered, in relation to any postal item, means you are responsible to the customer for the provision of the a postal service from collection to delivery (whether you provide the service by using your own network or by sub-contracting others), but excludes any services in relation to any postal item which is or is to be passed to Royal Mail either (a) at the IMC pursuant to an Access Contract or (b) by sending it using any single-piece service provided by Royal Mail, where single piece bears the same meaning it has in Paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 of The Postal Services (Universal Postal Service) Order 2012.

Agency refers to a type of access mail which is sent pursuant to the following arrangements: a person has an access agreement with Royal Mail in relation to which it is agreed that a postal operator other than Royal Mail will act as the person’s agent to hand mail over to Royal Mail at the IMC.

DSA refers to a type of access mail which is sent pursuant to the following arrangements: the sender of the mail concerned has an agreement with a postal operator other than Royal Mail for the provision of the end-to-end service and does not have any agreement with Royal Mail in relation to the postal items sent pursuant to the arrangements.

IMC means “Inward Mail Centre” which is the part of Royal Mail’s mail centre in which the activities related to the processes of final sorting for delivery (in that mail centre’s catchment area) of mail received from the upstream part of Royal Mail’s network, or from other postal operators, to the final addresses take place. The upstream part of Royal Mail’s network consists of the processes related to collection and distribution of mail.