Parliament Sitting on 11 February 2019
QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
*30. Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) what is the status of the Postal Quality of Service framework review; (b) how many complaints has SingPost received about missing mails in the past year; and (c) how many of these missing mail cases have been resolved.
*31. Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) in the past 36 months, how many complaints have been received on misuse of failed postal delivery notices when recipients are home; and (b) whether IMDA investigates these complaints to ensure compliance of the Postal Quality of Service framework.
Mr Speaker, as the designated public postal licensee, SingPost is responsible for delivering letters on time, and accurately. SingPost has to meet the Postal Quality of Service (QoS) standards set by the Info-communications Development Authority (IMDA) for letter delivery. SingPost also provides other services, such as advertisement mail and parcel delivery, that are not subject to IMDA’s Postal QoS standards. The recent lapses by SingPost involve services covered by the Postal QoS standards, and those that are not.
2 For letter delivery, the QoS standards are: to deliver 99% of local basic letters destined for the Central Business District (CBD), and 98% for those destined for non-CBD areas, by the next working day; and 100% for all letters by the second working day. IMDA imposed a financial penalty of $100,000 on SingPost last week for failing to meet the QoS standards in 2017. SingPost has accepted IMDA’s decision and committed to improve its service delivery standards, including its QoS performance. IMDA is reviewing SingPost’s performance for letter delivery in 2018.
3 In 2018, SingPost received 91 complaints about mis-delivered and lost mail. SingPost has investigated each complaint, and has apologised to the complainant whenever there was a confirmed service lapse, and re-delivered mail that has been found.
4 IMDA has also reviewed its QoS standards for letter delivery, and has decided to maintain them.
5 Dr Lee also asked about complaints relating to consumers receiving failed delivery notices even when there was someone at home. These pertain to the delivery of parcels and registered articles. Eight such complaints were submitted directly to IMDA in 2018, and seven in 2017. SingPost is unable to provide the specific number of complaints it receives on failed delivery notices. Nonetheless, we believe that there are likely to be more incidents which were not formally reported.
6 IMDA will pay attention to this area as well. It is now considering regulatory standards for the delivery of parcels and registered articles.
7 SingPost’s Board and management agree with my Ministry and IMDA that a thorough review of its operations and manpower has to be made even as it takes immediate steps to remedy the service lapses. They have reaffirmed SingPost’s commitment to prioritise improvements to service delivery standards and the welfare of its workforce. SingPost has already made a start by announcing measures such as extending parcel delivery to Saturdays, cutting back on advertisement mail delivery and improving staff remuneration.
8 Mr Speaker, please allow me to make brief remarks on the issues of operations and manpower. SingPost has pointed out that the popularity of e-commerce has significantly increased the volume of parcels. As a result, it has to deliver 38,000 items daily which cannot fit into letterboxes and its postmen have to now conduct more deliveries for parcels. This works out to an average of 35 to 45 doorstep deliveries per postman per day in Singapore’s urban landscape with many high-rise HDB blocks and condominiums, in addition to delivering letters to letterboxes. My Ministry and IMDA are of the view that SingPost must make itself ready for this new operating environment.
9 Next, on manpower. The work of the postman is labour-intensive and has become more so over the years. My Ministry and IMDA are of the view that, even as SingPost remedies its service lapses, its postal workforce should be treated fairly and be well-equipped to perform their job. Where necessary, IMDA will provide support to SingPost in the training of postmen, delivery process re-engineering, deployment of technological solutions and infrastructure upgrades to optimise its delivery process.
10 It may take time before the gaps in SingPost’s service delivery are fully addressed. The SingPost Board and management know there is hard work ahead, and have told us that they are committed to work together with my Ministry and IMDA. Further regulatory action from IMDA can be expected, as it reviews SingPost’s letter delivery performance for 2018 and beyond, investigates infringements under the Postal Services Act and considers additional regulatory standards.