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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Postal Services Bill
 
 

 
 
A

B I L L

TO

Establish the Postal Services Commission and the Consumer Council for Postal Services; to provide for the licensing of certain postal services and for a universal postal service; to provide for the vesting of the property, rights and liabilities of the Post Office in a company nominated by the Secretary of State and for the subsequent dissolution of the Post Office; to make further provision in relation to postal services; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-
 

  PART I
  INTRODUCTORY
The Postal Services Commission.     1. - (1) There shall be a body corporate to be known as the Postal Services Commission (in this Act referred to as "the Commission").
 
      (2) The functions of the Commission shall be performed on behalf of the Crown.
 
      (3) Schedule 1 (which makes further provision about the Commission) shall have effect.
 
      (4) The body which, immediately before the coming into force of this subsection, was known as the Postal Services Commission and was designated in accordance with Article 22 of the Postal Services Directive as a national regulatory authority for the postal sector in the United Kingdom is hereby abolished.
 
The Consumer Council for Postal Services.     2. - (1) There shall be a body corporate to be known as the Consumer Council for Postal Services (in this Act referred to as "the Council").
 
      (2) The Council shall not be regarded as the servant or agent of the Crown or as enjoying any status, immunity or privilege of the Crown and the Council's property shall not be regarded as property of, or held on behalf of, the Crown.
 
      (3) Schedule 2 (which makes further provision about the Council) shall have effect.
 
      (4) The Post Office Users' National Council, the Post Office Users' Council for Scotland, the Post Office Users' Council for Wales and the Post Office Users' Council for Northern Ireland are hereby abolished.
 
Duty of the Commission to ensure provision of a universal postal service.     3. - (1) The Commission shall exercise its functions in the manner which it considers is best calculated to ensure the provision of a universal postal service.
 
      (2) The Commission may, in particular, impose as a condition of a licence under Part II a requirement that the licence holder provides a universal postal service or part of such a service.
 
      (3) Where the Commission has imposed such a condition, it may include in the licence such conditions and other provisions as it considers appropriate in relation to the provision of such a service (including conditions and other provisions about activities which do not require a licence under Part II).
 
Provision of a universal postal service: meaning.     4. - (1) For the purposes of this Act and subject to subsection (2), a universal postal service is provided if-
 
 
    (a) except in such geographical conditions or other circumstances as the Commission considers to be exceptional-
 
      (i) at least one delivery of relevant postal packets is made every working day to the home or premises of every individual or other person in the United Kingdom or to such identifiable points for the delivery of relevant postal packets as the Commission may approve, and
 
      (ii) at least one collection of relevant postal packets is made every working day from each access point,
 
    (b) postal services for the collection, sorting, transport and delivery of relevant postal packets are provided at affordable prices determined in accordance with a public tariff which is uniform throughout the United Kingdom, and
 
    (c) a registered post service is provided at such prices.
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)-
 
 
    (a) the interruption, suspension or restriction of any service in cases of emergency, or
 
    (b) the conclusion with customers of individual agreements as to prices,
       shall not be taken to preclude the provision of a universal postal service.
 
      (3) References in this Act to a universal service provider shall be construed as references to any person-
 
 
    (a) whose identity is notified by the Secretary of State to the European Commission in accordance with Article 4 of the Postal Services Directive as that of a person providing a universal postal service or a part of such a service in the United Kingdom, and
 
    (b) on whom the Secretary of State has served a notice informing him of that fact and the fact that he will be treated as a universal service provider for the purposes of this Act.
      (4) The Secretary of State shall take such steps as he considers appropriate for the purpose of bringing to the attention of the public the identity of any person who is a universal service provider for the purposes of this Act.
 
      (5) References in this Act to the provision of a universal postal service shall, in relation to a universal service provider who provides part of a universal postal service, be construed as references to the provision of that part of such a service.
 
      (6) In this section-
 
 
    "access point" means any box, receptacle or other facility provided by a universal service provider for the purpose of receiving relevant postal packets, or any class of relevant postal packets, for onwards transmission in connection with the provision of a universal postal service,
 
    "permitted limits", in relation to the dimensions of a postal packet, means the minimum and maximum dimensions laid down in the Convention and the Agreement concerning Postal Parcels adopted by the Universal Postal Union, and
 
    "relevant postal packets" means postal packets whose weight does not exceed 20 kilograms and whose dimensions fall within permitted limits.
Other duties of the Commission in the consumer interest.     5. - (1) Subject to section 3, the Commission shall exercise its functions in the manner which it considers is best calculated to further the interests of users of postal services, wherever appropriate by promoting effective competition between postal operators.
 
      (2) In performing its duty under subsection (1), the Commission shall have regard to the interests of-
 
 
    (a) individuals who are disabled or chronically sick,
 
    (b) individuals of pensionable age,
 
    (c) individuals with low incomes, and
 
    (d) individuals residing in rural areas,
       but that is not to be taken as implying that regard may not be had to the interests of other descriptions of users.
 
      (3) Subject to section 3 and subsection (1), the Commission shall exercise its functions in the manner which it considers is best calculated to promote efficiency and economy on the part of postal operators.
 
      (4) In exercising any of its functions in relation to licence holders under Part II, the Commission shall have regard to the need to ensure that such licence holders are able to finance activities authorised or required by their licences.
 
 
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