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No: 433/21

12th October 2021

For the Immediate Attention of All:

Postal Branches Divisional Representatives

Dear Colleagues


In 2014 the PEC endorsed and agreed to a trial regarding Collection Hub Optimisation and Enhanced Mail Preparation as outlined in LTB 452/14. The trial never produced any agreed outputs.

Branches and representatives will be aware however that as part of the Pathway to Change Agreement, the following was stated:

Both parties will jointly develop and agree the approach to the ongoing changing dynamics of declining letters and growth in parcels within the collection function. This approach will consider the collection approach for low volume letter postboxes, the increased use of priority postboxes, the expansion of the parcel postbox network and the growth in consumer collection services.

Therefore, discussions have been taking place with the business in relation to activity to improve the flow and presentation of collections into Mail Centres, support the optimisation of Processing capacity and reduce congestion.

A Terms of Reference has been concluded which has been endorsed by the Postal Executive to enable activity to progress, a copy of which is attached for your information.

As part of an initial study and modelling activity approach, it has been agreed to conduct a joint review across selected and agreed Collection Sectors within four Mail Centre catchment areas. This will allow us to jointly identify and develop improved methods and processes to enhance the flow and presentation of mail from Collections into Mail Centres. This will be achieved by understanding what takes place in all Delivery & Collection Hubs currently and whether they are able to fully containerise all mails prior to despatch and if there could be consolidation of the number of units performing those operations. The activity will also include an evaluation of the optimisation and efficiency opportunities that may be available, along with assessing the people/employee, environmental, safety, quality of service and commercial benefits this may provide.

The four Mail Centres that will form part of the review and exercise will be:

  • Plymouth

  • Sheffield

  • Nottingham

  • London Central

The rationale for the selection of the trial sites is that the CWU leads on the National Collections JWG cover those respective catchment areas, which means we will be able to fully engage in the data gathering and modelling activity and thus have the knowledge and expertise to lead the local JWG.

The review across four Collections Sectors within the nominated Mail Centre catchment areas will be to jointly identify what UTR/EMP operations are in place and develop enhanced methods and processes to improve the flow and presentation of mail from Collections into Mail Centres.

This activity will include:

  • Reviewing how many units are actively performing UTR and EMP work on a regular basis.

  • Whether UTR/EMP takes place on every day from the units.

  • Are the segregation methods compliant with the Service Level Agreement.

  • What volumes are generated across all Collection Hubs.

  • How do mails connect via all Collection Hubs to the Mail Centre.

  • What Road Services are used across all Collection Hubs.

  • How are the units managed and operated.

  • Reviewing the distribution of mails to Collections Hubs and whether it takes place at the same time as the Collection operation.

  • Whether Collection Hubs undertake other work or activity at the same time, for example Customer Service Points and/or Delivery LAT products.

  • Modelling activity to determine whether there could be a reduction of Collection units and a review of their locations and if so what the overall impact on the Mail Centre would be as a combined result of arrival profile and presentation of mails, accepting any collective changes should not make the service worse.

The above list is not exhaustive and will form part of the formal reviews carried out by the Collections Joint Working Group.

Given the ongoing pressures in relation to the deployment of revisions linked to the Pathway to Change Agreement, the phased approach and timescales have been agreed to ensure the activity and data gathering is undertaken in a controlled manner. This will then inform future discussions and next steps as part of the National reviews that will take place.

Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to the relevant department:

Deliveries/Collections: Outdoor Department, email: quoting reference: 532.

Distribution/Processing: Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: quoting reference: 714.14.

Yours sincerely Davie Robertson Assistant Secretary

Mark Baulch Assistant Secretary

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