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Postal Services Bill


Postal Services Bill
Part 3 — Regulation of postal services

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Requirement 4: registered items service

           

A registered items service at affordable prices determined in

accordance with a public tariff which is uniform throughout the

United Kingdom.

Requirement 5: insured items service

5

           

An insured items service at affordable prices determined in

accordance with a public tariff which is uniform throughout the

United Kingdom.

Requirement 6: services to blind or partially sighted

           

The provision free of charge of such postal services as are specified

10

in the universal postal service order to such descriptions of blind or

partially sighted persons as are so specified.

Requirement 7: legislative petitions and addresses

           

A service of conveying free of charge qualifying legislative petitions

and addresses.

15

31      

Section 30: definitions

(1)   

“Insured items service” means a service of conveying postal packets from one

place to another by post which, in the event of the theft or loss of or damage to

the packets, provides for the payment of an amount up to the value of the

packets as declared by the sender.

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(2)   

“Legislative petitions and addresses” means—

(a)   

petitions and addresses to Her Majesty meeting the weight and covers

requirements which are sent by post to a member of a legislative body,

(b)   

petitions meeting those requirements which are addressed to a

legislative body and are sent by post to a member of such a body or to

25

the Clerk of the Scottish Parliament, or

(c)   

petitions and addresses forwarded to Her Majesty or, in Northern

Ireland, to the Secretary of State.

(3)   

For the purposes of subsection (2)—

(a)   

a “legislative body” means either House of Parliament, the Scottish

30

Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales or the Northern Ireland

Assembly, and

(b)   

petitions or addresses meet the “weight and covers requirements” if

they do not exceed 1 kilogram in weight and are sent without covers or

in covers open at the sides.

35

(4)   

“Registered items service” means a service of conveying postal packets from

one place to another by post which provides—

(a)   

for the registration of the packets in connection with their conveyance

by post, and

(b)   

for the payment of an amount determined by the person providing the

40

service in the event of the theft or loss of or damage to the packets.

 
 

Postal Services Bill
Part 3 — Regulation of postal services

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(5)   

In this section references to conveying postal packets from one place to another

include—

(a)   

the incidental services of receiving, collecting, sorting and delivering

them, and

(b)   

conveying them to places outside the United Kingdom.

5

32      

Exceptions to minimum requirements

(1)   

Nothing in section 30 requires the doing of anything in relation to a letter or

other postal packet—

(a)   

whose weight exceeds 20 kilograms, or

(b)   

whose dimensions fall outside the minimum and maximum

10

dimensions laid down in the Convention and the Agreement

concerning Postal Parcels adopted by the Universal Postal Union.

(2)   

The requirements in section 30 in respect of the delivery or collection of letters

or other postal packets (requirements 1 and 2)—

(a)   

do not need to be met on any day which is (in the part of the United

15

Kingdom concerned) a public holiday, and

(b)   

do not need to be met in such geographical conditions or other

circumstances as OFCOM consider to be exceptional.

(3)   

Nothing in section 30 is to be read—

(a)   

as requiring a service to continue without interruption, suspension or

20

restriction in an emergency, or

(b)   

as preventing individual agreements as to prices from being concluded

with customers.

33      

Review of minimum requirements

(1)   

OFCOM may from time to time review the extent to which the provision made

25

by section 30 reflects the reasonable needs of the users of postal services

provided in the United Kingdom.

(2)   

A review under subsection (1) may, in particular, consider whether the

requirements imposed by that section could be altered so as better to reflect

those needs.

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(3)   

OFCOM must send a copy of each review under subsection (1) to the Secretary

of State.

(4)   

The Secretary of State may at any time direct OFCOM to carry out a review

under subsection (1).

(5)   

Where OFCOM have carried out a review under subsection (1), the Secretary

35

of State may by order amend section 30.

(6)   

The provision that may be made by an order under subsection (5) does not

include the making of different provision in relation to different places in the

United Kingdom.

(7)   

An order under subsection (5)—

40

(a)   

is subject to affirmative resolution procedure, and

(b)   

may include such amendments of this Part as the Secretary of State

considers necessary or expedient in consequence of any provision

made by the order.

 
 

Postal Services Bill
Part 3 — Regulation of postal services

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Universal service providers

34      

Designation of universal service providers

(1)   

OFCOM may designate one or more postal operators as universal service

providers.

(2)   

But there are only two cases in which there may be more than one postal

5

operator designated as a universal service provider.

(3)   

The first case is where—

(a)   

OFCOM have made a procurement determination under section 43

(fairness of bearing burden of universal service obligations), and

(b)   

in the light of that determination, OFCOM consider it appropriate for

10

the number of postal operators designated as universal service

providers to be greater than one.

(4)   

The second case is where—

(a)   

a postal administration order has been made under Part 4, and

(b)   

OFCOM consider it appropriate for the number of postal operators

15

designated as universal service providers to be greater than one for, or

in connection with, achieving the objective of the postal administration.

(5)   

OFCOM must publish each designation in such way as they consider

appropriate for bringing it to the attention of members of the public.

(6)   

The procedure to be followed for the making of a designation under this

20

section must be provided for in regulations made by OFCOM.

(7)   

OFCOM may—

(a)   

review the designations for the time being in force, and

(b)   

consider what (if any) designated USP conditions should continue to

apply to each of the universal service providers.

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(8)   

The procedure to be followed on a review must be provided for in regulations

made by OFCOM.

(9)   

Regulations made by OFCOM must provide for a postal operator’s

designation to cease to have effect where, in any case described in the

regulations, the operator is no longer subject to any universal service

30

obligations.

(10)   

Both the procedure for designations and the procedure for the conduct of

review of designations provided for by regulations under this section must be

one appearing to OFCOM—

(a)   

to be efficient, objective, proportionate and transparent, and

35

(b)   

not to involve, or to tend to give rise to, any undue discrimination

against any person or description of persons.

(11)   

OFCOM must notify the European Commission of the designations and of any

case where a designation ceases to have effect (and the notification must

identify the postal operator designated or ceasing to be designated).

40

35      

Designated USP conditions

(1)   

OFCOM may impose a designated USP condition on a universal service

provider.

 
 

Postal Services Bill
Part 3 — Regulation of postal services

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(2)   

A designated USP condition is a condition requiring the provider to do one or

more of the following—

(a)   

to provide a universal postal service, or part of a universal postal

service, throughout the United Kingdom, or in a specified area of the

United Kingdom, in accordance with the standards set out in the

5

universal postal service order,

(b)   

to provide, or make arrangements for the provision of, access points for

the purposes of a universal postal service,

(c)   

to provide specified information (at such times and in such manner as

OFCOM may direct) to other postal operators and users of postal

10

services about the services within paragraph (a) that it is required to

provide, and

(d)   

to do anything else that OFCOM consider appropriate for the purposes

of, or in consequence of, the obligations imposed under any of

paragraphs (a) to (c).

15

   

In this subsection “specified” means specified in the condition.

(3)   

OFCOM may impose a designated USP condition only if they consider it is

necessary to do so in order to secure the provision of a service of a description

set out in the universal postal service order in accordance with the standards

set out there.

20

(4)   

A designated USP condition may make provision as to the tariffs to be used for

determining prices in accordance with which a universal postal service, or part

of a universal postal service, is provided.

(5)   

In exercising the power conferred by subsection (4), OFCOM must seek to

ensure that—

25

(a)   

the prices are affordable,

(b)   

the prices take account of the costs of providing the service or part of a

service, and

(c)   

the prices provide incentives to provide the service or part of a service

efficiently.

30

(6)   

A designated USP condition may impose performance targets.

(7)   

If there are two or more universal service providers—

(a)   

OFCOM must secure that there is no overlap in the universal service

obligations imposed on the providers, and

(b)   

designated USP conditions may require the providers to make

35

arrangements for securing that a universal postal service operates

uniformly and effectively throughout the United Kingdom.

(8)   

In this Part “universal service obligations”, in relation to a universal service

provider, means the obligations imposed on the provider by any designated

USP condition.

40

36      

Publication of information about performance

(1)   

A designated USP condition must include provision requiring the universal

service provider concerned—

(a)   

to publish information about the extent to which it is providing

specified postal services in accordance with specified standards, and

45

(b)   

to publish annually an independently audited performance report.

 
 

Postal Services Bill
Part 3 — Regulation of postal services

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(2)   

The reference here to an independently audited performance report is to a

report that—

(a)   

contains information about the provider’s performance in complying

with specified requirements under the designated USP condition, and

(b)   

is audited by an independent person for accuracy and, if there are two

5

or more universal service providers, for its usefulness in comparing

information published by other universal service providers.

(3)   

An “independent person” means a person who is independent of both OFCOM

and universal service providers.

(4)   

OFCOM must notify the European Commission of anything contained in a

10

designated USP condition as a result of subsection (1).

(5)   

A designated USP condition may require the universal service provider

concerned to meet the costs of the audit required as a result of subsection (1)(b).

(6)   

A designated USP condition may include other provision requiring the

universal service provider concerned to publish information about its

15

performance in complying with specified requirements under the designated

USP condition.

(7)   

The provision made as a result of this section—

(a)   

must include provision—

(i)   

requiring information previously published to be updated and

20

published again, and

(ii)   

requiring the published information to satisfy requirements

that OFCOM consider appropriate to secure its adequacy, and

(b)   

may include requirements as to the times at which, and the manner in

which, the information is to be published.

25

(8)   

In this section “specified” means specified in the designated USP condition.

37      

USP access conditions

(1)   

OFCOM may impose a USP access condition on a universal service provider.

(2)   

A USP access condition is a condition requiring the provider to do either or

both of the following—

30

(a)   

to give access to its postal network to other postal operators or users of

postal services, and

(b)   

to maintain a separation for accounting purposes between such

different matters relating to access (including proposed or potential

access) to its postal network as OFCOM may direct.

35

(3)   

The provider’s “postal network” means the systems and all the resources used

by the provider for the purpose of complying with its universal service

obligations (and, accordingly, includes arrangements made with others for the

provision of any service).

(4)   

OFCOM may not impose a USP access condition unless it appears to them that

40

the condition is appropriate for each of the following purposes—

(a)   

promoting efficiency,

(b)   

promoting effective competition, and

(c)   

conferring significant benefits on the users of postal services.

 
 

Postal Services Bill
Part 3 — Regulation of postal services

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(5)   

In addition, OFCOM may not impose any price controls on a universal service

provider in a USP access condition unless it appears to them that the provider

concerned—

(a)   

might otherwise fix and maintain some or all of its prices at an

excessively high level with adverse consequences for users of postal

5

services, or

(b)   

might otherwise impose a price squeeze with adverse consequences for

users of postal services.

(6)   

In imposing price controls in a USP access condition in connection with the

giving of access to a universal service provider’s postal network or to part of

10

that network, OFCOM must have regard to such of the costs incurred in the

provision of that network, or part of that network, as OFCOM consider

appropriate.

(7)   

In imposing price controls in a USP access condition OFCOM may—

(a)   

have regard to the prices at which services are available in comparable

15

competitive markets, and

(b)   

determine what they consider to represent efficiency by using cost

accounting methods.

(8)   

In deciding what obligations to impose in a USP access condition in a particular

case, OFCOM must (in addition to taking into account anything relevant for

20

the purpose of performing their duty under section 28) take into account, in

particular, the following factors—

(a)   

the technical and economic viability, having regard to the state of

market development, of installing and using facilities that would make

the proposed access unnecessary,

25

(b)   

the feasibility of giving the proposed access,

(c)   

the investment made by the universal service provider concerned in

relation to the matters in respect of which access is proposed,

(d)   

the need to secure effective competition in the long term, and

(e)   

any rights to intellectual property that are relevant to the proposal.

30

(9)   

For the purposes of this section references to giving a person access to a

provider’s postal network include giving a person an entitlement to use, be

provided with or become a party to any services, facilities or arrangements

comprised in the postal network.

(10)   

In Schedule 3

35

(a)   

Part 1 makes provision about the kind of matters that may be included

in a USP access condition, and

(b)   

Part 2 makes provision about the resolution of access disputes by

OFCOM.

38      

USP accounting conditions

40

(1)   

OFCOM may impose a USP accounting condition on a universal service

provider.

(2)   

A USP accounting condition is a condition requiring the provider to do one or

more of the following—

(a)   

to maintain a separation for accounting purposes between such

45

different matters as OFCOM may direct for such purposes as they may

direct,

 
 

Postal Services Bill
Part 3 — Regulation of postal services

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(b)   

to comply with rules made by OFCOM in relation to those matters

about the identification of costs and cost orientation,

(c)   

to comply with rules made by OFCOM about the use of cost accounting

systems in relation to those matters, and

(d)   

to secure that its compliance with those systems is audited annually by

5

a qualified independent auditor.

(3)   

An obligation within subsection (2)(a)—

(a)   

may require the separation to be maintained in relation to different

services, facilities or products or in relation to services, facilities or

products provided in different areas, and

10

(b)   

may impose requirements about the accounting methods to be used in

maintaining the separation.

(4)   

An obligation within subsection (2)(b) or (c)—

(a)   

may include conditions requiring the application of presumptions in

the fixing and determination of costs and charges for any purpose, and

15

(b)   

may require the universal service provider concerned to publish such

accounts and other information relating to anything required to be

done as a result of those provisions as OFCOM consider appropriate.

(5)   

An obligation within subsection (2)(d) may require the universal service

provider concerned to meet the costs of the audit.

20

(6)   

If a USP accounting condition imposes rules on a universal service provider

about the use of cost accounting systems, OFCOM may secure that the

condition also imposes an obligation on the provider to make arrangements for

a description to be made available to the public of the cost accounting system

used.

25

(7)   

If OFCOM impose an obligation under subsection (6), the description of

information to be made available must include details of—

(a)   

the main categories under which costs are brought into account for the

purposes of that system, and

(b)   

the rules applied for the purposes of that system with respect to the

30

allocation of costs.

(8)   

In this section “qualified independent auditor” means a person who—

(a)   

is eligible for appointment as a statutory auditor under Part 42 of the

Companies Act 2006, and

(b)   

if the appointment were an appointment as a statutory auditor, would

35

not be prohibited from acting by section 1214 of that Act (independence

requirement).

Persons providing services within scope of universal postal service

39      

Services within scope of the universal postal service

(1)   

A postal service is within the scope of the universal postal service if—

40

(a)   

the service falls within the description of a service set out in the

universal postal service order, or

(b)   

the service would fall within the description of a service set out in that

order but for the fact that—

 
 

 
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