23 March 2022
Our Ref: E1/22
To: All Branches
Reinstatement of Doorstep Signature Capture on Signed-For Deliveries:
Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, the joint priority of Royal Mail and the CWU has beento protect our members and customers.
In order to maintain a Covid secure workplace, one of the many Covid-19 controls introduced was to temporarily suspend the capture of signatures from customers on Personal Delivery Assistants (PDAs) from 14 March 2020 in order to maintain social distancing and reduce potential risk of transmission of the virus whilst using the Personal Delivery Assistants (PDAs) in close contact with customers.
The UK Government has, as you know, now removed all Covid restrictions in England, as has the Northern Ireland Government. The remaining Covid restrictions and rules are in the process of being removed by the devolved administrations of Scotland and Wales over the next two weeks as two years on, life is now increasingly returning to normal and normal services are being restored by all industries across the UK, including public transport which is now operating at virtually full capacity.
Against this backdrop, Royal Mail have informed the Union that customers, both major companies and the public are asking for signatures to be reinstated as they value (and pay for) the added proof of delivery assurance that Royal Mail’s secure delivery signature feature provides them with.
Royal Mail and Parcelforce are increasingly using ‘Capture Photo’ to confirm proof of delivery but it is likely that there will always be some items that require a signature to be recorded and captured.
Following discussions with Royal Mail who have consulted CWU/HQ on this issue, Royal Mail will re-instate signature capture as a Standard Operating Procedure from 4 April 2022. There is no proposal from Parcelforce at this time to re-instate signature capture.
Initial and Refresher Training:
In order to ensure that in Offices where staff may need initial or refresher training, this should be provide as soon as possible with a view to full re-instatement of signed-for, signature capture deliveries being in place by 30 April 2022. This is in order to give workplace coaches time to check in with new starters and those that need a refresher.
WTLL Staff Briefing:
The WTLL Staff Briefing on ‘Re-instatement of Signature Capture’ for the delivery workforce has been finalised and is attached. This will be delivered by DOMs and WPCs. CWU Safety and IR Reps will be fully involved.
PPE will be provided to all delivery staff requesting it and this will include gloves, hand sanitiser and facemasks if required. The message to members is please do utilise and use the PPE items if you wish and maintain good hygiene standards. PPE use is recommended but not mandatory, in line with Government guidance.
Royal Mail and CWU agree that the safety of our delivery workforce is paramount, and dog awareness must be taken seriously. We have worked hand-in-hand with RMG over a number of years to minimise the risk to colleagues from dog attacks and to develop the right tools and procedures to keep our colleagues safe from harm by dangerous dogs. Royal Mail and the CWU are in full agreement that at this time of change and transition back to ‘business as usual’, capturing signatures once again, it is crucial that delivery and collections staff are reminded of the correct procedures around dog awareness.
More than 80% of dog attacks take place on the doorstep and garden path. Many households previously without dogs have acquired a pet during lockdown and it is estimated that the UK now has 17 million pet owning homes, with the majority of them being dog owners. While members are collecting signatures at the door they are at a higher risk of a dog attack. Members should therefore be vigilant at all times and be alert to a possible increase in the number of dogs they encounter on their rounds when delivering parcels or signed for items to addresses with a dog.
The WTLL Briefing will make reference to dog awareness and the risks that will be present. Additionally, a second WTLL Briefing on dog awareness will be delivered concentrating on the ‘AVOID’ acronym message;
The AVOID message, outlined below, is crucial at this time. ‘AVOID and Stay Safe’
Avoid: interacting with any dogs. More than 80% of dog attacks happen at a customer’s door or in their garden so take no risks and never put your fingers through a letterbox. Never accept a dog owner’s assurances – always ask owners to restrain their dogs – put them in a secure place and step away.
Value yourself: It could happen to you – don’t think it can’t!
Observe: Check your Walk Log and mark your frame with yellow dots.
Inform: Report all new dogs to your manager. Report all incidents involving dogs no matter how minor – all dog attacks must be reported to the manager, Police, Royal Mail Security Helpdesk and the Royal Mail USO share-point.
Defend: Use your delivery equipment (pouch or trolley) to form a barrier and defend yourself if necessary.
Managers and Workplace Coaches have been requested to ensure that staff are briefed on the importance of using ‘AVOID’ and being dog aware.
Risk of Confrontation
The risk of confrontation is to be briefed to staff and is included in the second WTLL Briefing along with dogs. The agreed position is that if delivery staff at any time feel threatened or find themselves in conflict with a customer then they should remove themselves from the threat and leave the item if necessary and leave the premises.
It is important that, if at any stage a frontline employee feels threatened or in danger, they should walk away from the doorstep (leaving the item if unable to take the item back) and inform the Security Helpdesk, their manager and the police (if required).
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
A revised and updated ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ (SOP) has been drawn up and is attached. This will be briefed to staff and be part of the training.
Attached please find copies of:
WTLL Staff Briefing ‘Re-instatement of Signature Capture’ for the delivery workforce via DOMs and WPCs.
WTLL Staff Briefing on Dog Awareness and Risk of Customer Confrontation as Signature Capture is re-instated and Capture Photo on Delivery is embedded as a delivery feature.
Standard Operating Procedure covering; Delivering Barcoded Items, Inflight Requests, Delivering To Customers and Signature Capture, Age and ID Verification, Capture Photo, Delivery To Neighbour, Not Delivered, Local Collect – Special Delivery, International, RM ‘Signed For’, RM Tracked Items and Barcoded Parcels, Issue Preventing Signing For the Item(s) of Mail and PDA Contingency.
Three examples of RM plasma screen shots which will appear on screens during April.
Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer
Mark Baulch Assistant Secretary
Davie Robertson Assistant Secretary