Royal Mail walk changes blamed on Chelmsford post chaos

Important documents such as “Do Not Resuscitate” forms are being held up for days because of a review of how post is delivered in Chelmsford.

That is the claim from one whistleblower after people living in CM1, CM2 and CM3 postcodes complained they haven’t been receiving post via Royal Mail since October 25.

Royal Mail has apologised for the delays blaming the disruption to service to “resourcing issues”.

But one whistleblower said that while there problems with manpower levels – the service can have 70 people off due to illness any one day – the main problem is that Royal Mail have reviewed the ‘walks’ at the worst time.

The machine-sorted mail goes on a frame – like a work station – which should be in the order of the way the delivery is meant to be delivered on the walks.

These walks – the route the postman takes and which should be arranged in order of house by the computer – are now longer but with post that is not ordered properly.

Instead of postmen walking down one side of road and then the other they are having to criss-cross the street which takes much longer.

Additionally, the whistleblower said that because the walks have been changed, the sorting process for parcels going into different bins for each walk has had to be relearned and that is holding up that part of the process.

The postman, who works out of the delivery centre in Montrose Road, said: “The problem is this has been introduced just before Christmas and the whole place is a mess. The morale is so low it’s unbelievable.

“There are frames at the depot where post has not been delivered for five or six days and it’s just building up to the point where you can’t put any more post in the frame because the original post has not gone out.

“What is concerning us is that we’ve been told to concentrate on packets and parcels at the expense of post.

“Post is accumulating.

“I had a woman two days ago worried because she said her mother was dying and she was waiting for a do not resuscitate form that doctors had sent but hadn’t arrived.

“Another lady had been sent some tablets and they hadn’t arrived five days after they were sent.

“I went back, found them and delivered them in my own time.

“The main thing is they have introduced this revision when lots of people are off in the run up to Christmas.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in the area – back in January, February and March of 2021 residents didn’t receive post for around five weeks.

People have reported waiting for letters from the hospital, motor insurance documents. Another said his wife had had a hospital appointment notification sent out the week before, but it never arrived.

The whistleblower added: “The ways things are going it’s just going to implode. People are just fed up.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We apologise to any customers who have experienced any disruption to their service in recent weeks in the Chelmsford area. The vast majority of mail and parcels are delivered safely and on time.

“There are a number of factors that can disrupt our service including COVID-related self-isolation, sickness absence and vacancies.

“In recent weeks, we have implemented revisions to our postmen and women’s routes in Chelmsford to ensure that they reflect changes in the local area, such as new developments, and are fairer and more balanced to reflect the growth in parcel deliveries.

“This has led to some disruption as the changes are implemented. We are working hard to rectify any remaining issues and normal service is now beginning to resume.

“Anyone who has further concerns over the delivery of their mail should contact the Royal Mail customer service team on 03457 740 740 or via the Royal Mail website: www.royalmail.com.”

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter