Royal Mail rolls out 'good neighbour' scheme

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A Royal Mail scheme to deliver post to a neighbour if no one is at home is to be extended across the UK from next month.

A three-month trial of the initiative, involving around 750,000 households, saw less than 1 per cent of households requesting that their neighbours not be given their mail.

It will not be possible for people to select which neighbour receives their parcel. Nor will postmen be obliged to try different neighbours willing to accept the item.

Customers involved in the pilot welcomed the convenience of letters and parcels being left at a nearby address if they were not at home to receive them – rather than receiving a tedious "Sorry, you were out" card and having to travel to a local sorting office for collection. .

Royal Mail said those who do not want to take part in the system can opt out by ordering a sticker for their front door or letterbox.

The Royal Mail claimed 90 per cent satisfaction rates in its seven pilot areas – Edinburgh, Hull, Norwich, Swansea East, Wigan, Bolton and Gatwick North – and will roll out the system across the country from late next month, subject to approval from Ofcom.

Robert Hammond of Consumer Focus said: "As we do more of our shopping online, missed deliveries are becoming an increasing inconvenience for customers. Leaving post with a neighbour is a good option."