By Daniel Hunter

Royal Mail is preparing to roll out its Delivery to Neighbour initiative in late September, subject to regulatory approval.

The new delivery initiative will make it easier for people who are out and about when the post arrives to receive items that are too large to go through the letterbox or require a signature.

Royal Mail will distribute leaflets that will explain what Delivery to Neighbour means in practice and will include information about how to opt out, should a customer not wish to participate.

The initiative is still subject to a final decision from Ofcom following its current consultation. However, the regulator has stated it is minded to grant approval and has not objected to Royal Mail starting to notify customers about the initiative, pending the final outcome of the consultation process.

The initiative is part of a process of bringing Royal Mail’s terms and conditions more in line with other delivery companies. Currently, Royal Mail is the only major delivery company not allowed to deliver to a neighbour as part of its standard practice.

Feedback from households in the trial areas revealed that 92% of customers whose item was left with a neighbour were satisfied with the overall experience. 90% of neighbours who accepted an item expressed overall satisfaction. When questioned about their reasons for satisfaction, convenience and ease were top of the list.

Research by Consumer Focus also found that delivery convenience was improved for people whose undeliverable post was left with a neighbour as part of the trial. Its report, Everybody Needs Good Neighbours, said: “Both recipients and neighbours reported that items were collected quickly and conveniently, with no reports of loss or damage. Almost all consumers whose post was left with a neighbour, or who received post on behalf of their neighbours, believed they had benefitted from the delivery to neighbour trial.”

Mike Newnham, Royal Mail’s Chief Customer Officer, said: “The results of the trial showed that customers welcomed the convenience of having items delivered to a neighbour if they were not at home to receive them. We look forward to Ofcom’s decision on rolling out the initiative later this summer but wanted to give all our customers early information about our plans and outline their options.”

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