The Postal Services Act 2000 requires companies planning to carry mail “in the licensed area” – that is, most types of mail weighing less than 350 grams and costing less than £1 to post – to be licensed by Postcomm, the independent regulator for postal services in the UK.
Other postal operators, for example those carrying heavier or more expensive mail, are not required to have licences.
As regulator, Postcomm must make sure that mail is carried safely and securely and must therefore ensure anyone planning to set up as a postal operator in the licensed area can provide the necessary guarantees, and meet the minimum standards we set down in our:
• mail integrity code, which covers safety and security of the mail, and
• common operational procedures code, which sets out agreed standards for dealing with mail that has entered the systems of the wrong postal operator and needs to be redirected.
The licence application procedure includes a series of checks by Postcomm on the suitability of applicants. All applications are put out to consultation for a minimum of 28 days, so that mail operators, mail customers and any other interested parties can comment on them.
There is an application fee of £50 and, for licensees with a licensed area turnover in excess of £10m per annum, there is also an annual licence fee based on market share.
If you are planning to apply for a postal licence, please contact Postcomm’s licensing team for further information and advice, including a copy of our guidance for applicants.
Head over to postcomm and download an application sheet here