Staff shortage causes mail problems

PROBLEMS in recruiting staff and meeting distribution deadlines have been blamed for the failure of Ipswich sorting office to meet its mail delivery targets.

PROBLEMS in recruiting staff and meeting distribution deadlines have been blamed for the failure of Ipswich sorting office to meet its mail delivery targets.

The sorting office improved its performance over a 10-month period, but just failed to meet its targets for the delivery of first class mail, second class mail and parcels.

Consignia area operations manager, Steve Ratcliff, said the Commercial Road sorting office had improved its from 88 per cent of deliveries meeting their delivery times in April 2001 to within 0.5% of the 92% target by February this year.

But he added the performance figure for mail posted and delivered within the IP postcode areas for the past three months was above target at 96.5%.


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Mr Ratcliff told a meeting of the East of England committee of the mail consumer watchdog Postwatch staff at the sorting office were working hard to overcome difficulties.

He explained factors like winter fog, accidents on main roads and difficulties in getting mail sorted in time to meet Cosignia's national distribution schedule had brought the overall performance down to slightly below target.

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Mr Ratcliff said Consignia had also experienced difficulties in recruiting staff for some postcode areas and providing cover for staff who were on holiday or absent from work through illness.

But he pointed out new equipment would be installed to make the mail sorting operation more efficient and key managers had been appointed to address weaknesses in the system.

Robert Burgin, chairman of the East of England committee, said: "We were delighted to hear there were changes afoot to improve the service in Ipswich. We would expect to see at least a 95% standard. In many local sorting offices they achieve close to 100%."

He added when committee had first started looking at delivery targets, the Ipswich sorting office had a performance figure of under 90%, which it had not regarded as satisfactory.

Mr Burgin said it accepted the logistics of getting mail sorted and delivered in time from Ipswich to Consignia's national distribution depots had been a particular problem and added it was pleased to see performance had improved over the past year.

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