Royal Mail’s staff vetting procedures slammed

Royal Mail’s staff vetting procedures have been slammed as the service was handed a record £11.4m fine for failing to adequately prevent mail being lost, damaged or stolen.

Postal regulator Postcomm said Royal Mail was guilty of “serious breaches” of its licence in relation to mail security measures and staff vetting.

The regulator launched an investigation in 2004 after media reports claimed that some staff were tampering with mail.

Postcomm found that many Royal Mail agency staff were not properly vetted before being employed and this had compromised the safety of deliveries.

Postcomm said Royal Mail had made significant efforts to tackle the problem over the past nine months. However, it said the proposed fine of £11.3m reflected the “extent and seriousness” of the identified shortcomings, most of which could be put down to “management failings”.

Royal Mail said the fine was “unreasonable”, stressing that it had significantly tightened up its security procedures since 2004.

Gareth Osborne, managing director at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said: “Clearly anyone being brought in on a temporary or permanent basis to handle post should undergo a full background check.

“Taking up full references and speaking to previous employers are the basic steps that any employer should take with a new permanent member of staff. No employer should rely solely on the content of an applicant’s CV or interview.”


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