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Royal Mail Group is the UK’s largest postal operator, the only postal operator currently providing UK wide end-to-end letter delivery services, and the UK’s universal service provider.

The universal postal service is essentially the ‘one price goes anywhere’ principle of affordable postal services to all UK addresses. It requires Royal Mail to deliver to every address in the UK, six days a week, at a uniform price.

The legal basis for the universal service is the Postal Services Act 2011 and the Universal Postal Service Order

As the Universal Service Provider, Royal Mail’s performance is measured against a number of targets it is required to report to Ofcom. Some of these targets are formalised in Ofcom’s DUSP Condition 1; failure to meet these targets could result in Ofcom imposing a fine upon Royal Mail. A complete list of Royal Mail’s Quality of Service targets can be found here.

Royal Mail publish quarterly reports on their performance against these Quality of Service targets. Ofcom also publishes information regarding Royal Mail’s performance against these targets in their Annual monitoring update on the postal market.

The pandemic had an impact on Royal Mail’s performance in 2019/20 and this continued in 2020/21 when they fell significantly below the regulatory targets.

Ofcom decided it was not appropriate to open an investigation into Royal Mail’s service levels during 2020/21 due to the “uniquely difficult circumstances of the pandemic” which were considered outside of Royal Mail’s control.


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