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Royal Mail reversions: programme of reform


December 2012 update

Royal Mail has announced the six-month programme of reform that it will be following to review all aspects of reversions and the process of revenue protection; the proposed changes are scheduled to be implemented by April 2013.

Royal Mail shared the details in November at the second meeting of the reversions working party chaired by the DMA that includes representatives from Royal Mail Wholesale and Royal Mail Retail, Strategic Mailing Partnership, Mail Competition Forum, Mail Users' Association and the DMA's Mailing Houses Council.


Royal Mail’s stated aims for the programme of reversions reform are to:

• review and relaunch machine-readable specifications to make them as simple as possible for customers to achieve, but consistent with its automation objectives
• ensure policies continue to be ‘commercially sound, equivalent and compliant’
• consider how it can approach revenue protection activity based on actual performance of mail
• update processes to be customer focused without compromising its finances
• engage with and seek input from customers, supply chain partners and industry groups as part of the proposed solution development
• ensure there is regular communication with customers and the industry to keep all informed of progress as part of the ambition to implement a more customer focused approach - without compromising its automation programme - by April 2013

Managing the programme of reform

The programme will be overseen by a steering group chaired by Royal Mail Group’s chief financial officer, Matthew Lester. A working group will report into the steering group. The working group in turn has three ‘action groups’, with each tasked with reviewing specific aspects of the programme. Below outlines the areas of interest for each of the three action groups.

Specifications group

Chaired by Jenny Ledgar, commercial director of Royal Mail Wholesale

Review aspects:

• mechanical specification
• address interpretation
• requirement for 100% adherence
• clarity on list of faults for letter / large letter

Process group

Chaired by Tim Cable, product director for MarketReach from Royal Mail

Review aspects:

• alternatives to current revenue protection
• sampling
• controls to prevent alleged ‘tampering’
• communication to customers
• reporting of faults
• records and record keeping training

Policy group

Chaired by Natalie Davies, finance director of Royal Mail Wholesale

Review aspects:

Pricing and impact on pricing of non-compliant mail
Validation of sampling
Pricing of surcharges and other fees

Appealing reversions surcharges December 2012 – April 2013
Royal Mail has also confirmed details of the appeals process for any company affected by a reversion – regardless of whether it has a contractual relationship with Royal Mail or not.

Click here to download the Guide to appealing a Royal Mail reversion surcharge

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