NEWS20 October 2010

Royal Mail escapes fine over rigged customer service research

Legal UK

UK— Royal Mail will not face a financial penalty after staff members were found to be rigging research to ensure members of a service performance measurement panel received their post on time, the postal regulator has ruled.

Postcomm said that the manipulation of the research had not affected service “in any material way” and that Royal Mail had not benefited financially as a result. The regulator said there had also been “no adverse impact” on Royal Mail customers.

A whistleblower brought the scam to light last year, revealing that staff in a number of locations had obtained a list of the names and addresses of people taking part in the research and were sorting through post to ensure that panellists received their mail promptly and correctly.

Postcomm said: “In light of the investigation’s findings Royal Mail has put in place a comprehensive remediation programme to address areas of concern and to strengthen its performance monitoring system. Postcomm considers that although Royal Mail is taking appropriate steps to secure compliance, it will not be fully compliant until the actions identified as necessary by Royal Mail are completed in March 2011.”

The regulator had previously warned Royal Mail that it could face penalties for failing to realise that the research was being rigged and that the organisation had breached its licence condition requiring independent monitoring and anonymous panellists.

However in its final decision it said it was not appropriate to issue a financial penalty because of the costs Royal Mail had incurred through its own investigation and the price of its remedial action programme.

Postcomm chairman Nigel Stapleton said: “This process has led to significant change within Royal Mail in terms of its risk management process, which will ultimately benefit customers.”

The performance measurement research was carried out for Royal Mail by Research International (now merged with TNS), which set up a panel of individuals and businesses to send and receive letters through the post and record delivery times.


1 Comment

10 years ago

This isn't news - this happened in early September!

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