Royal Mail to pay the penaltyRoyal Mail fined millions over missing post

10 February 2006

is facing GBP 11.7 million worth of fines over problems with lost, damaged and stolen post.

Independent regulator says the postal group is guilty of serious breaches over protecting the mail and delivering it on time.

Its investigation highlighted particular problems with the recruitment and vetting of temporary Royal Mail staff and the company's mail security measures.

Nigel Stapleton, Postcomm Chairman said: 'During 2004/05, around 14.6 million letters, packets and parcels in Royal Mail's care were lost, stolen, damaged or interfered with.

'A Postcomm review uncovered some serious shortcomings during 2004/05 in Royal Mail's application of its procedures for properly protecting the mail - what we call mail integrity.'

Management failings

'I should stress that these are mainly management failings and do not reflect on the dedication and commitment of postmen and postwomen.'

The proposed fines also include GBP 271,000 for Royal Mail's poor delivery performance across three London postcode areas - SE, WC and E - where around two million letters were delivered late in 2004/05.

The fines come two months after a Which? survey revealed that 34 per cent of people had seen their post go missing or get damaged in the past 12 months (see 'Related links', below). At that time the Royal Mail also told us that 202 postal staff had been convicted of theft during the previous year.

Royal Mail says it will now appeal the record fine and it has 28 days to make representations to Postcomm.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: 'Royal Mail values every letter and takes the security of the mail extremely seriously.

Massive operational change

'The company is currently providing the best quality of service in its history, and the vast bulk of mail arrives safely and on time.

'Postcomm's report concentrates on events that occurred up to two years ago when Royal Mail was going through massive operational change.

'Royal Mail has been working - and is working constantly - with Postcomm and independent advisers to continuously improve the security of the mail.

'While we are always looking to improve further, we believe that our mails pipeline is one of the safest and most secure in the world.'