Postal bosses pledge to improve service

ROYAL Mail has apologised to customers and promised changes after new figures revealed it had missed all of its first-class delivery targets in East Anglia.

ROYAL Mail has apologised to customers and promised changes after new figures revealed it had missed all of its first-class delivery targets in East Anglia.

It blamed last year's industrial action for the failings, but pressure group Postwatch said the quality of postal services had been in decline for three years and called for urgent improvement.

Figures released yesterdayshowed the target of 92.5% of first-class post being delivered the next day was missed in every region in the east of England in 2003/04.

Colchester and Chelmsford were among the worst 20 regions in the UK, with delivery rates of 87.8% and 85.8% respectively.


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Only Ipswich reached the minimum target for next-day delivery of 90.5%, but fell short of the national target of 92.5%.

Roger Baynes, Royal Mail's director of operations in the east, said initiatives to improve the quality of service were starting to prove effective.

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"We now have to make up the ground lost because of the effect of the industrial action during the autumn of last year.

"Our performance in most of our east of England areas has shown improvement in the final quarter," he said.

Mr Baynes said major modernisation within the business had made it more challenging to improve on customer service.

"We're making changes of unprecedented scale and pace. But the change is vital for the future of the company, putting in place the foundation that will enable us to consistently meet or exceed targets and get more letters to our customers on time."

He added: "I apologise to customers that targets have not been met this year."

Dr Charles Winstanley, chairman of Postwatch East of England said: "This performance is part of a three-year decline in service and cannot be blamed on the unofficial industrial action which affected London and consequently the east region in November.

"Postwatch East of England has been particularly concerned about Colchester and Chelmsford as they have been significantly below targets for some considerable time.

"We met with local management in July 2003 and an improvement was seen. However, there was a further decline, prompting us to meet with them again at the beginning of May 2004.

"Early indications show that improvements have been made since April 1 this year and we will be meeting quarterly to review quality of service in this area."

He added: "We have agreed with Royal Mail to meet next with Norwich management and this will be happening all around the region."

jonathan.barnes@eadt.co.uk

First Class Quality of Service (National target 92.5%)

Chelmsford (CM) 85.8%

Colchester (CO) 87.8%

Ipswich (IP) 90.6%

Norwich (NR) 87.1%

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