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Royal Mail loses 360-year monopoly on delivering parcels from Submit Workplace branches

Royal Mail is to lose its 360-year-old monopoly on delivering parcels from Submit Workplace branches, after issues about poor high quality of service persuaded the postal service to signal offers with rivals Evri and DPD within the run-up to Christmas.

The 2 couriers can be added to the choices out there on the counter from later this month, the Submit Workplace mentioned, with clients given a alternative for the primary time.

Trade sources mentioned the choice was the results of rising dissatisfaction on the Submit Workplace with Royal Mail due to clients complaining about the usual of service.

The 2 firms had been a part of the identical group till 2012, when the Submit Workplace was cut up out right into a separate enterprise, as a part of the privatisation of Royal Mail led by the then enterprise secretary, Vince Cable.

Whereas the Submit Workplace manages the community of 11,500 branches and banking companies, Royal Mail is answerable for supply, the place it faces rising competitors from courier firms.

Royal Mail has come underneath fireplace for poor efficiency and is underneath investigation by the communications regulator Ofcom after lacking supply targets in 2022-23. It was additionally hit by strikes throughout the peak buying and selling interval in November and December final 12 months, when its supply woes had been exacerbated by poor climate.

The corporate has beforehand mentioned that its efficiency is bettering, pointing to the pressure on its sources brought on by file ranges of parcel deliveries throughout the coronavirus pandemic, mixed with employees illness.

Nevertheless, the Submit Workplace is known to have misplaced endurance with Royal Mail after surveying clients, who raised fears that included parcels getting misplaced or arriving late, significantly at Christmas. In a press launch on Tuesday, it mentioned 48% of people that ship parcels would love to have the ability to store round for an additional supplier.

Whereas Royal Mail’s high quality of service has come underneath scrutiny, the Submit Workplace’s new parcel companions will not be proof against criticism themselves. Evri, beforehand often known as Hermes, has been rated the worst parcel supply agency in polls by the MoneySavingExpert web site and Residents Recommendation, with clients complaining of poor service.

The Submit Workplace already presents options to Royal Mail on-line however has by no means but executed so in branches. The corporate mentioned it deliberate to enter partnerships with much more supply carriers sooner or later.

Its chief govt, Nick Learn, mentioned: “We’re basically remodeling Submit Workplace by introducing new mails carriers for over-the-counter gross sales for the primary time in our 360-year historical past.

“This expanded partnership with DPD and Evri exhibits how we’re disrupting the mails market to supply better alternative for patrons and extra alternatives for postmasters as we construct a Submit Workplace match for the longer term.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson mentioned: “Royal Mail has an extended historical past of working with the Submit Workplace and presents our companies in any respect Submit Workplace shops all through the UK.

“As buyer preferences have developed now we have additionally opened up a wide range of new methods for patrons to entry our companies, together with extra on-line postage choices by means of our web site and app, 24/7 drop-off at places like our parcel postboxes and assortment from dwelling by means of companies equivalent to Royal Mail Parcel Accumulate.”

The Submit Workplace mentioned offers with Evri and DPD would additionally profit the postmasters who run particular person branches as a result of they’d convey in additional clients.

The corporate continues to be attempting to fix its relationship with submit workplace operators after the Horizon scandal, when a defective IT system led to lots of of them being wrongly accused of fraud, theft and false accounting. Earlier this 12 months, Learn mentioned he would return a bonus cost linked to the inquiry into the scandal.

He apologised for “procedural and governance errors” that led to the corporate making the funds contingent on work linked to the inquiry into the miscarriage of justice. The scandal led to some operators being despatched to jail, and has been linked to 4 suicides.