At the Government’s request, Arcep has issued an opinion on the temporary exceptional measures put into place by La Poste during the Covid-19 crisis.
The current public health emergency has forced La Poste to redefine its organisational rules to reconcile its continuity of service objectives and the need to protect the health and safety of its workers. At the Government’s request, Arcep has issued its opinion on these new organisational rules.
Back in mid-March, La Poste re-concentrated its resources on those activities it deemed top priority. This resulted in a reduction in the scope of its operations, in the number of post offices that were open across France, and in the number of weekly postal deliveries (from the usual six to three). After this initial stage, La Poste gradually introduced changes to its operations, after having consulted with the different stakeholders. With the goal of gradually resuming all of its services, post offices and partner agencies have been re-opened. The number of weekly postal delivers was also increased (up to four days a week by 21 April 2020).
In its opinion, Arcep underscores that, under the current circumstances, La Poste must increase its communication with users, its capacity to detect malfunctions and its dialogue with elected officials.
In its opinion, Arcep recognises La Poste and its employees’ commitment to fulfilling their public service mandate, but also stresses how vital it is for La Poste to provide users with detailed, accurate and up to date information, in real time. Arcep therefore recommends that the information La Poste provides over its various channels (website, telephone, local information displayed by post offices) be reinforced.
Arcep also invites La Poste to display information about which post offices are open more prominently on its website, to list the planned reopening dates when they are known, and to provide information on collection boxes still excluded from pick-up. It is also important that every post office physically display (on a screen or a sign) its opening hours, the services it is providing, planned re-opening date for those that are still closed, etc.
In addition, to guarantee that La Poste operate as smoothly as possible, it is recommended that it strengthen its mechanisms for detecting operational malfunctions. Arcep thus urges La Poste to take the necessary measures to achieve this and, as an adjunct, to develop instruments for logging user complaints which would enable staff at every level to be apprised rapidly of local issues, to implement the right solutions as quickly as possible, and to provide users with the necessary information.
Arcep also underscores the need for ongoing dialogue with local elected officials, to keep them fully informed of any operational changes at La Poste.
Finally, Arcep invites La Poste to take stock of the lessons learned during the current health crisis, to improve its ability to manage and anticipate crises, and so to maximise the resilience of its operations, to adapt to the current situation and prepare itself for the future.