Over the last year, I have received a lot of complaints about delayed postal deliveries in my constituency. Royal Mail maintain that the disruption to their services has been unavoidable and is a result of staff shortage due to Covid19 illness and quarantine.

Royal Mail have told me numerous time that they have taken action in response to complaints and invested in extra resources. A copy of their most recent response and the full text is published below.

I recognise what an important role all our key-workers have played in the last year, it is very important their employers also acknowledge this and provide all the support needed. Postal workers have seen a huge surge in workload and Royal Mail must expand their workforce accordingly, or become eclipsed by other commercial providers.

I am meeting with Royal Mail regional representatives on 16 April to find out why the situation is not improving. Do let me know if you have been affected.

Letter from Royal Mail regarding postal services in Lewisham Deptford.
Letter from Royal Mail regarding postal services in Lewisham Deptford.

Full text of Royal Mail response dated 2 February 2021:

Dear Ms Foxcroft,

Thank you for your communication dated 28 January regarding your constituent’s mail
deliveries. Please accept my sincere apologies for the concern this has caused.

Our postmen and women, and all the colleagues who play a vital part in keeping the
network going, have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. The Christmas peak,
always our busiest time of the year, concluded what had already been an extremely
challenging year with unprecedented volumes of parcels, and significant changes to our
working practices to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. The subsequent announcement of further lockdowns across the UK has led to continued high volumes of items in our
network, whilst COVID-19 related staff absences increase.

Our people are proud to be playing a vital role in keeping communities connected. They
have been delivering increasing levels of parcels at a time when many shops are closed;
COVID test kits to those who need to remain at home; essential PPE to residential and
social care workers; and much needed cheer in the form of cards and letters to people
who are separated from their loved ones.

Unfortunately, despite our best endeavours and all the precautions we have implemented, like the rest of the UK our people are not immune from the effects of C0VID-19. Like many other essential services, we have seen colleagues fall ill. Others have had to shield, or stay home to care for their loved ones. Many more have been instructed to remain in isolation after coming into close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. This has a direct impact on our staffing levels, especially in areas where there are higher levels of local outbreaks.

As a result, some areas have experienced a reduction in service levels. I apologise to you
and your constituent if that has meant delays in receiving items. I know how much people rely on our service, and I want you to know that we are doing everything we can to deliver as comprehensive a service as possible. We are also drawing in extra resource, including:

  • The retention of an additional 10,000 temporary seasonal staff.
  • An additional 6,000 vehicles.
  • Keeping four temporary parcel sort centres operational to help relieve pressure
    elsewhere in our network
  • lnvesting in additional overtime

Every single letter and parcel is important to us. We are working closely with public health authorities and other letter carriers to play our part in the delivery of vaccination letters. We recognise the vital importance of delivering vaccination letters as quickly as possible. We would like to reassure you that these vaccination letters are being prioritised. Our people have been instructed to look out for the vaccination letters which are identified by an NHS logo so that they can be prioritised during the sorting process.

In addition, the mail producer is providing data daily on the number of vaccination letters coming into the network. We meet daily with the public health authorities, the mail producer and access carrier to jointly plan for the delivery of vaccination letters. This ensures we can focus our resources to deliver these letters as quickly as possible. ln areas where Royal Mail offices are experiencing particularly high levels of COVID-related absences, we will draft in extra resource to help prioritise vaccination letters still further.

We remain grateful to all our customers in these areas for their patience and
understanding as our dedicated workforce work hard to deliver these exceptional volumes, whilst also adhering to the necessary social distancing measures. We always endeavour to keep our customers updated on any changes to our services.

I hope that this information provides assurance that we take our responsibility to deliver to your constituents very seriously. Throughout the pandemic, every decision we make puts the health of our people and customers first. We will continue to review and refine our operational processes to adapt to an ever-changing situation.

I hope that this update is helpful. Please be assured, we want to return to a daily detivery, six days a week, as quickly as possible. ln the meantime, we will do all that we can to keep your constituents connected.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Hogg
Senior Public Affairs

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