Public-sector delivery

Share

Anyone who doubts the achievements of the present management of the Royal Mail should look again at the condition of the state-owned operator only three years ago. The Royal Mail - then known as Consignia - was in deep trouble. It was haemorrhaging more than £1.5m every day. For a decade it had been missing its first-class letter delivery target. On top of all this, its workforce had the worst strike record in the UK.

Anyone who doubts the achievements of the present management of the Royal Mail should look again at the condition of the state-owned operator only three years ago. The Royal Mail - then known as Consignia - was in deep trouble. It was haemorrhaging more than £1.5m every day. For a decade it had been missing its first-class letter delivery target. On top of all this, its workforce had the worst strike record in the UK.

Contrast that with the situation that the Royal Mail finds itself in today: first-class mail deliveries are at their highest level for 10 years; 92.8 per cent of first-class mail was delivered on time between January and March this year, as was 98.7 per cent of second-class mail. And it has announced annual profits of £537m.

In 2002, when Allan Leighton came in as chairman and Adam Crozier took on the role of chief executive, they knew that the measures required to set the Royal Mail back on track would be painful and, for a while at least, would inconvenience millions of its customers. They were also impeded by the Royal Mail's statutory duty to provide a universal delivery service for a fixed price. But they did what was necessary. They cut 33,000 jobs, closed 2,500 urban post offices, reorganised collection routes and abolished the second post. And the fruits of that rational strategy are now beginning to emerge.

Whether Mr Crozier is worth the £1.85m in bonuses he has been awarded for his work over the past three years is open to debate. But that he has done an excellent job in turning around a failing organisation cannot be in doubt. His remuneration is no reward for failure. What he and Mr Leighton have done is demonstrate that it is possible to run a state-owned organisation with the efficiency of a decent private-sector company and still provide a universal service.

They have also shown that it is possible to provide incentives for staff by including them in a company's bonus scheme. It is not just Mr Leighton and Mr Crozier who have been rewarded for the Royal Mail's success. Some 180,000 postal workers will each receive a bonus of more than £1,000. It is heartening to see the employees of such a large company getting a share of the profits, albeit a much smaller one than the executives. And Mr Leighton's idea of converting the Royal Mail into an employee-owned organisation is one that is certainly worth pursuing.

The Royal Mail still has a long way to go. Half of its letter-delivery targets are still being missed. And its subsidiary, the Post Office, is losing £110m a year. But if the turn-around continues, the company will be in better shape to handle the loss of its monopoly over delivering letters next year. All those who have restored the Royal Mail to health are entitled to their rewards.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jihadist militants leading away captured Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq, in June  

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Robert Fisk
India's philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco feminist Vandana Shiva arrives to give a press conference focused on genetically modified seeds on October 10, 2012  

Meet Vandana Shiva: The deserving heir to Mahatma Ghandi's legacy

Peter Popham
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?