Royal Mail plans to recapture Internet Delivery from White Van Man?

I am delighted to report progress since I blogged on Royal Mail’s failure to organise local collection points to replace sorting offices it was planning to close.  I have received an e-mail from the Office of the Chief Executive of Royal Mail regarding plans for West Norwood, where I live.

“We have been using the Delivery to Neighbour process for a number of years now and more recently we have been giving our customers the chance to choose which of their neighbours they would like items to be left with.  It has proven very successful in allowing our delivery officers to deliver mail first time.

“The feedback we have received from our customers has prompted us to look into the possibility of a local Customer Service Point in the Post Office; this is something that we are currently considering along with Post Office Ltd.

I also learned that the “Local Collect” , which I knew was available in Rural Areas, is also now available in urban areas.

“Some Post Offices do offer a Local Collect service, as you’ve described, with a £1 fee when collecting your item.  West Norwood Post Office at 12 Knights Hill, London, SE27 0HX does offer Local Collect, so if an item is undelivered you can follow the instructions on the ‘Something for you’ card and pay the fee on collection.  This service is offered in 10,500 Post Offices, for more information please see our website.”

My e-mailed reply of welcome concluded:

I look forward to the completion of negotiations with  the Post Office when this service becomes not only only free but widely promoted as part of an exercise to recapture the Internet Delivery market from White Van Man“.

My personal interest in this subject was partly as Chairman of Thurlow Park Conservatives, (our  action team of prospective councillors were photographed in support of the demonstration convened by the local labour MP, Helen Hayes which I mentioned in my previous blog), but more particularly in memory of my late Uncle, William D’Oyley Arthurton, who I mentioned in my first blog on this subject .

Not only did he lead the National Federation of Subpostmasters in their attempts to negotiate genuine modernisation with John Stonehouse, Tony Benn and Sir Ron Dearing, but his first sub post office, in Foulsham (since moved) was a steam-age one-stop-shop for all local dealings with government, with an attached postman and the sorting office in a back room, though, unlike some, he did not have the local telephone exchange behind the counter. His last sub-post office, Walton, used the extended Post Office opening hours and Girobank to capture the business of the freight forwarding companies shipping through Felixstowe.

He, and his fellow subpostmasters had visions for locally integrated, but also computer-assisted, services that I do hope the new Government will “help” Royal Mail and the Post Office to rekindle.

Today their visions, I met some of his younger colleagues at his funeral, include to help:

  • liberate our suburban streets from jams of delivery vehicles of all shapes and sizes
  • enable the vulnerable and elderly to personally identify themselves to some-one local who knows them – despite the attempts of everyone else to herd them on-line to be fleeced.
  • address the current plague of on-line crime (integrating phishing, vishing and courier fraud) by providing an integrated chain of trust based on physical, not merely digital, trust.

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