From Royal Mail Group

Dear Ms Cooper. Thank you for your communication dated 20 January regarding mail deliveries in the L39 and L40 postcode areas of your west Lancashire constituency, I recognise how frustrating it is for people who are experiencing disruption to their normal deliveries, and would like to apologise for the inconvenience that has been caused.

I have spoken with the Ormskirk Delivery office Manager, our postmen and women, and all the colleagues who play a vital part in keeping the network going, have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. The Christmas peak, which is always our busiest time of the year, concluded what had already been an extremely challenging year with unprecedented volumes of parcels, and significant changes to our working practices to comply with coVlD-19 restrictions.

The subsequent announcement of further lockdowns across the UK has led to continued high volumes of items in our network. Unfortunately, despite our best endeavours and all the precautions we have implemented, like the rest of the UK our people are not immune from the effects of coVlD-19. We are experiencing extremely high levels of absence at Ormskirk Delivery office, mainly due to colleagues having to self- isolate following contact from Test and Trace. As you will appreciate this has a direct impact on our staffing levels.

Unfortunately, because people have to isolate immediately, we receive no advance warning of a sudden drop in attendance, making it harder to plan ahead. As a result, mail deliveries to addresses in the L39 and L40 postcode areas have been impacted. We have hired additional agency staff; however it takes time to recruit, security vet and train the new recruits prior to them going out on a delivery round especially in the rural areas of your constituency, We are also receiving support from our colleagues at Wigan Delivery office.

I apologise to you and your constituents if they have experienced delays in receiving items. I know how much people rely on our service, and we are doing everything we can to deliver as comprehensive a service as possible.

Vaccination Letters. Every single letter and parcel is important to us. We are working closely with public health authorities and other letter carriers to play our part in the delivery of vaccination letters. We would like to reassure you that these vaccination letters are being prioritised, along with CoVID tests and PPE deliveries. Our people have been instructed to look out for the letters, which are identified by an NHS logo on the envelope, so that they can be prioritised during the sorting process.

We are being provided with daily data on the number of vaccination letters coming into the network and their intended delivery points. We meet regularly with the public health authorities, the mail producer and access carrier to jointly plan for the delivery of these important letters, This ensures we can focus our resources to deliver them as quickly as possible.

ln areas where Royal Mail delivery offices are experiencing particularly high levels of CoVID-related absences, we draft in extra resource to ensure swift delivery of vaccination letters. It is important to note that vaccination letters provide instructions on how to book an appointment rather than specifying a date and time. As such, recipients should not be concerned that they will miss appointments in these letters. Department for Health and Social Care has said that, in addition to a letter, patients should also receive a phone call, email or text rnessage inviting them for an appointment.

I hope that this update is helpful to your constituent, please be assured, we want to return to a daily delivery six days a week, as quickly as possible. ln the meantime, we will do all that we can to keep your constituents connected.

Yours sincerely, Michael Hogg. Senior Public Affairs & policy Manager Royal Mail Group

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