Post Office Undercover

8th February 2010| Channel 4 Dispatches

Two reporters go undercover as agency postmen to find out if the Royal Mail has delivered on claims that it is modernising and improving its service.

In 2004 and again in 2005, Dispatches went undercover to investigate the Royal Mail. These reports exposed serious systemic and individual failures within the organisation, resulting in an enquiry by the postal regulator, followed by a fine of almost ten million pounds. Five years on, the Royal Mail claims it is modernising and improving its service.

The reporters find an antiquated system with lax security, poorly trained agency workers – many of whom are clearly not up to the job – damaged and defective equipment and allegations of stealing.

Out on their rounds, they are bombarded with complaints from angry members of the public who have experienced damaged mail, delays and poor service, and behind the scenes some managers and worker’s express contempt for the customer and their concerns.

Joining just before the busy Christmas period, when an industrial truce has been publicly announced by both management and the unions, both reporters find that normal service is far from being resumed. Managers tell the reporters that disputes with unions over working times and the size of postmen’s rounds are causing continued disruptions to the service.

With over four million pounds a year being paid in compensation to customers for lost post and a recent dip in Royal Mail’s delivery performance, Dispatches asks if the organisation is fit for purpose.


Directed & Produced by Joanna Potts & Charlotte Rodrigues
Narration: Joe Duttine
Executive Producer: David Henshaw