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The Decline of Royal Mail: A Personal Account of a Failing Service

The Decline of Royal Mail: A Personal Account of a Failing Service.

By reflecting on Polly Toynbee’s insights (The Guardian, December 22, 2023)

Royal Mail bulging box image

The Royal Mail’s service, once a beacon of reliability, seems to be faltering. I experienced this firsthand when a notification of a “delivered” parcel turned out to be misleading – the package was nowhere to be found at my residence. This incident mirrors the broader challenges faced by Royal Mail, a subject thoroughly analyzed by Polly Toynbee, an esteemed English journalist and writer, in her recent column.

Contacting Royal Mail for assistance proved to be a herculean task, indicative of customer service challenges prevalent across many corporations today. My unique approach involved reaching out via a press office email, citing my intent to write about Royal Mail’s difficulties. The response from the company’s higher echelons was prompt, yet the issue of my missing parcel – a gift intended for my granddaughter – remained unresolved.

Toynbee’s perspective sheds light on the broader implications of Royal Mail’s privatisation, a decision reflecting a persistent Thatcherite ideology. The ramifications of this move are evident in the staggering £1bn loss incurred last year and the soaring costs of postage stamps. Moreover, the internal strife, manifested in extensive strikes and the departure of key executives, only adds to the company’s woes.

The sale of Royal Mail in 2013, part of a broader trend of privatising national utilities, is now viewed in a critical light, especially considering the failures in other sectors like rail, energy, and water. The government’s decision-making process at the time, and the subsequent underpricing of the sale, are points of contention.

Toynbee also delves into the environmental and social impact of the current postal system, emphasizing the inefficiency and exploitation within the industry. The proliferation of delivery companies, as she notes, leads to unnecessary carbon emissions and poses challenges for delivery personnel.

Reflecting on the current state of affairs, Toynbee suggests a need for stringent regulatory enforcement and potential public ownership if compliance remains unattainable. This approach could ensure adequate modernization and fair compensation for the workforce.

As I await the delayed delivery of my granddaughter’s gift, Toynbee’s insights resonate deeply, highlighting the critical need for a reassessment of Royal Mail’s operational model and its role in contemporary society.

Polly Toynbee’s original article in The Guardian provides an in-depth analysis of these issues and serves as a basis for this discussion.

Something we would like to add as a business, since the pandemic we have seen a huge decline in the Royal Mail service.

Tracking unavailable, and misleading customers saying that the item/items have not been posted or lost in the post.
Then checking their own tracking info which is most of the time not updated or correct.

They just read back the tracking info they got with out initiative or concern, and pass the blame on to the person that sent the Post/mail in the beginning. Sadly our trust in the Royal Mail has diminished 10 fold in the past 3 years..