Document-Genetics-GlobeRoyal Mail misses targets in half of UK postcodes

12th September 2011

Up to a fifth of first class letters arrived late in parts of Britain over the three months to June, with half of UK postcodes missing their delivery targets as a result of Royal Mail cost-cutting.

The postal service said yesterday that almost 20 per cent of first class letters were delivered late in Guildford, Surrey, over the period. Kingston upon Thames and Stoke-on-Trent also saw severe disruption to their delivery services.

The organisation blamed its bad performance on 'teething problems' relating to its cost-cutting drive, which has involved postmen having to learn new delivery routes and the closure of some sorting offices. It also said that a small volcanic ash cloud in Iceland in May impacted mail that had to travel by air.

Royal Mail missed its delivery targets for first class post in half of all UK postcodes over the three months to June, its poorest spring performance since 2004.

The postal service aims to deliver first class post the next working day, including Saturdays. However it said that it missed its target of delivering 91.5 per cent of first class post on time in 59 of the UK's 118 postcode areas between March 21 and June 5. This is double the number of postcodes that it failed to deliver on time to last year.

Consumer groups said that Royal Mail needs to urgently improve its performance and that the performance was 'disappointing'.

The figures are included in Royal Mail's quarterly Quality of Service report that it provides to Postcomm, the post regulator, and Consumer Focus, the watchdog.

Royal Mail also said that it missed a different national target of delivering 93 per cent of first class letters on time. The actual number was 91.4 per cent, meaning that almost one in ten first class letters was not delivered the following day. The national target is higher than the target in individual postcodes to compensate for poor performance in certain rural areas.

Second class deliveries also narrowly missed their national target, although over 98 out of every 100 second class letter were still delivered on time.

Royal Mail said that over the five weeks leading up to the first half of July it hit both its first and second class targets.

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