The Future of the Universal Postal Service -GCA meets with Ofcom

Mar 5, 2024 | News & Insights

The GCA met with Ofcom in February. The meeting was set up following the announcement of Ofcom’s review into the Future of the Postal Service on 24th January 2024 , see #Cardmitment 2024

GCA CEO Amanda Fergusson and David Byk, GCA Council Member and owner of Ling/GBCC, met with the Ofcom team leading the review and raised the industry concerns, and also shared an insight into our industry and the massive impact postal service levels and price increases are having on our 500 members across the country.

Greeting Card sending in 2024

Amanda and David highlighted that the UK greeting card industry is in robust health; a world-leading creative industry contributing £1.5bn to the UK economy annually[1],  leading the world in innovative design and exporting our cards across the globe.

They also expressed concern that Ofcom’s comparison with other countries in the review document didn’t recognise that the British continue to send more cards per person than any other nation, with Ofcom’s own research highlighting that 42% of UK consumers say that they only use Royal Mail to send greeting cards[2].

Ofcom’s research shows that 74% of postal users rely on the post for sending and receiving letters and cards. The GCA highlighted this, and the fact that 65% of 16-34 year olds reported that they too rely on the postal service for communicating with family and friends[3], highlighting the importance of the postal service to younger consumers too. The GCA shared industry data that is seeing increased card sending among 16-24 year olds.

The GCA team also highlighted that while 89% cards are bought in bricks & mortar stores[4] many publishers and retailers also take customer orders online and use Royal Mail to post these B2C orders, a reliable, regular and affordable postal service is crucial to these small businesses.

Ofcom Review

As the UK’s postal regulator, Ofcom’s role is to oversee the universal postal service, making sure it meets people’s needs while also considering its financial sustainability and efficiency.

Ofcom confirmed that this review document was ‘pitched to spark debate’. They see the review process taking 18-24 months. The current consultation closes on 3rd April 2024, after that they plan to review responses and make recommendations.

Ofcom confirmed reduction in the six day a week service will require legislation, other changes to the USO do not.  

There was robust discussion at the meeting about the Ofcom evidence that suggests the universal service obligation needs to change to better align with the needs of consumers and to ensure it can continue to be affordable and sustainable in the future.

Have your voice heard!

In March Ofcom are holding  stakeholder events around the country, in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast (took place on 5th March) and London, these can also be accessed online.

David Falkner, GCA Council Member lead on Royal Mail and co-owner of Cardology, will be representing the industry on the panel at the London event. We urge members to attend these events and have your voice heard.

  • London 2pm-4.30pm Thursday 14th March
  • Cardiff 2pm-3.30pm, Monday 18th March
  • Edinburgh 2pm-3.30pm, Thursday 21st March

NB: These are the times for online attendees (i.e. arrival times are a bit earlier for in person for registration). The venues are Ofcom’s offices in each city (online attendance is also possible).  The full details are on each email invite & RSVP deadlines are a week before each event but do email with late requests as we may be able to accommodate (particularly if online). To register to attend please contact

Please let us know by email if you plan to attend so we can share further detail on the key areas of concern we see ahead of the session.

Ofcom are inviting views and input from all stakeholders on their assessment of the need to consider changes to the USO, and the range of options for change they have set out. They are asking for responses to the evidence set out in their review document by 3 April 2024. The GCA will respond on behalf of the industry, but we urge members to submit their own response – via this link The Future of the Universal Postal Service . Please contact us if you would like to discuss

[1] According to the GCA’s annual report, (excluding boxes and packs of cards)

[2] Source: Para 5.25 Ofcom Review of Second Class safeguard caps 2024. Original Source Jigsaw Residential Postal Tracker 2022, QG1_1).

[3] The-future-of-the-universal-postal-service.pdf 5.6

[4] The GCA’s annual report by volume, 81% value

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