Royal Mail delivery changes

Update 11 August 2021 – regulatory emergency period

The onset of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in March 2020 started a ‘regulatory emergency period’ under the Postal Services Act 2011. The regulatory conditions relating to the universal postal service provide that Royal Mail is not required to sustain these services without interruption, suspension, or restriction in the event of an emergency.

Throughout the course of the pandemic we have closely monitored its impacts on Royal Mail, which included higher than usual absence rates and operational challenges associated with complying with social distancing regulations. We scrutinised Royal Mail’s performance and the mitigating measures it put in place to provide as good a service as it could to postal users under the circumstances. We welcome the significantly better performance in recent months, as the impacts of Covid-19 receded and as Royal Mail implemented an improvement plan.

Given these improvements, and in light of recent reductions in the level of legal restrictions across the UK, we consider that the regulatory emergency period should be treated as coming to an end on 31 August 2021. Accordingly, normal regulatory arrangements will apply from 1 September 2021. Our approach to compliance monitoring will continue to be pragmatic and proportionate, taking account of any relevant matters beyond Royal Mail’s control that impact on its performance, including any continuing impacts of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, as noted in our Competition and Consumer Enforcement Bulletin, we have reviewed Royal Mail’s performance against its quality of service targets during 2020/21 and, in light of the impacts of Covid-19 throughout the year, we have decided not to open an investigation.