The Universal Service means that anyone in the UK can send letters and parcels to any part of the country for the same affordable prices. It also means a guaranteed daily collection from every post box and post office, and a delivery of mail to every UK house and business, every working day.
We license Royal Mail to provide this service, which we safeguard through our regulatory work.
We license organisations and individuals to convey mail costing less than £1 to deliver and weighing less than 350 grams.
In 2003, we opened the UK mail market to competition for bulk mail services (postings of over 4,000 items) to ensure the best price for customers. Full market opening followed in January 2006. Competition has created an energetic postal market; forty nine licensed operators can now collect, sort and deliver mail throughout the UK.
Royal Mail is the pivotal player in a market worth over £6.6 billion. It’s the main provider of mail services in the UK, so we regulate the quality of its services and its prices to protect customers and to prevent the company from taking unfair advantage of its position.
Although we don’t regulate post offices or make decisions about closures, we provide information to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the number and location of public post offices, and their accessibility to users of postal services. Further infomation
We survey customers regularly for feedback on postal services, and we attend the Joint Regulators’ Group, a quarterly meeting of regulators at which we discuss issues of concern and report on recent developments in our various sectors.
The industry has changed since current regulations were set in 2006, so we are consulting on a new regulatory framework for a stable and sustainable postal service to be in place by 2012.