Case Study - Royal Mail plc


Company Name: Royal Mail plc
Business Sector: Public Utility
Postal Address: Fleet and Maintenance Services - part of Royal Mail Logistics
Rowland Hill House,
Boythorpe Road,
Postcode: S49 1HQ
Fleet Size Overall: 32,500
HGV: 1515   14 tonne and above
LGV: 2187    6.5 - 7.5 tonne
Car derived vans and other panel vans Approx 28,800
Company Cars: Approx 5,000
Private vehicles used for business purposes: Not known but possibly in range of 5,000 - 10,000



Royal Mail Holdings plc is a public limited company wholly owned by the UK Government.  It became a plc on 26 March 2001.  The framework for change was the Postal Services Act 2000 that created a commercially focused company with a more strategic relationship with the Government.  Royal Mail Holdings plc together with its subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures comprise 'the Royal Mail Group'.  The Royal Mail Group operates within a regulatory framework comprising an independent regulator, Postcomm (the Postal Services Commission) and Consumer Focus, a newly established statutory consumer organisation.  The Royal Mail Group encompasses a set of trusted brands and companies that combine the best of a public service ethos, with the commercial requirement to operate effectively in the highly competitive communications and fulfilments markets. Through our brands we reach everyone in the UK by way of our mail, parcels and express services together with our Post Office branches.  The Royal Mail Group plc (RMG) is the parent company of Royal Mail, Post Office® and Parcelforce Worldwide

Our brands are trusted household names, but we are continuously looking to develop and improve our products and services in this changing environment.

Royal Mail is our letters and packages business, covering the whole of the UK for our one-price-goes-anywhere universal service. Each working day we collect items directly from our 113,000 post boxes, 14,300 Post Office® branches and from some 87,000 businesses. These items pass through our network of 70 mail centres, 8 regional distribution centres (for customer sorted mail) and 3,000 delivery offices. Then our fleet of over 30,000 red vehicles and 33,000 bicycles help us to deliver them to their final destination.

Post Office Ltd is a separate company within and part of the Royal Mail Group that runs our 14,300 Post Office® branches across the country. We are the largest retail and financial services chain in the UK - bigger than all of the UK's banks and building societies put together.

Parcelforce Worldwide is our express parcels business. We deliver around 150,000 parcels a day to our customers. In the last few years Parcelforce Worldwide has successfully turned around its business and is now a key player in the competitive, unregulated, express parcels market.  It has dramatically cut its losses from operations and continues to improve the quality of service provided for customers, particularly for its time-critical products.  The challenge it now faces is to build on these improvements and to operate at sustained levels of profitability.

Take a journey on Britain's roads and the chances are you will see a Royal Mail Group (RMG) vehicle.  With a fleet of 33,000 vehicles and 90,000 drivers travelling 605 million miles each year, delivering to 27 million locations in the UK, road safety is a major challenge and is rightly a number one priority.  With such a large and distinctive fleet, we have a responsibility to make sure we provide a safe environment for our people and the communities in which we operate.

Royal Mail Vehicle Services (RMVS) is responsible for the cradle-to-grave life-cycle management of our vehicles.  In addition, RMVS manages Driver Risk Assessment (DRA), Vehicle Telemetry, Accident Management and Driver Training for the Royal Mail Group.

As the result of the scale of our operations and the commitment of time, financial and intellectual capital we make to them, we have the potential to influence general road safety within the wider communities in which we operate.  We have directly 'touched' over 50,000 employees with our Driver Risk Assessment (DRA) and other interventions over the last 18 months. The programs described in this case study represent an investment by RMG in excess of £10m, highlighting our commitment to improving road safety.

Given nation-wide prominence of our organisation we are highly conscious of the communities in which we operate and understand our responsibility to protect our drivers and the public within our Health and Safety 'Duty of Care' policy.  In additon, we have an on-going, long-term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme to manage work-related road safety both internally and externally.


Senior Management Leadership.  We have a board level champion who ensures road safety is the first item on the agenda at any Senior Leadership performance meetings and is also a key measure on the national and local management scorecards.  As well as the ownership at board level, Operational Area Safety Managers have been appointed this year onto each Area Leadership Team to drive safety related initiatives within the Area and to ensure best practise is shared across the organisation.  RMG is one of the first fleet operators in the UK to show road safety program leadership on such a large scale. In particular, the scale and scope of our initiatives are unprecedented.  We have taken a proactive approach to researching, trialling, piloting and implementing telemetry, DRA and a risk data-warehouse. The ultimate aim is to integrate all our information to target relevant interventions. This has touched tens of thousands of people already in one of the largest such programs ever undertaken anywhere in the world.

At the driver level, our RMG specific Safe Driving Pledge and Risk Foundation modules have been implemented to ensure that drivers understand and comply with our handbooks, policies and procedures. We are one of Europe's early adopters of this approach. Many organisations have policies and handbooks but in our benchmarking we found that few bring them to life and actively monitor the driver's understanding of them on this scale.

Linked to our policy and RoadRISK assessments, our automated Electronic Licence Entitlement Checks direct with the DVLA, is the biggest process of its kind by any company in Europe. To date we have checked almost 11,500 licences and have plans to check another 78,500 over the next four years. As far as we are aware, this is the biggest such compliance check and risk data-warehouse project undertaken in the world.

RMVS has led on the introduction of DRA, Telemetry and speed limiting the fleet. This involved an investment by RMG in excess of £10m and highlights Senior Management's commitment to reducing the level of road traffic crashes, related injuries and fatalities. RMG's Transport Safety Steering Group, including safety and operational experts from across our business units, ensures that there is a consistent and robust approach.  In the event of a road collision involving a serious injury or fatality, senior management is notified immediately through our post-collision escalation process. Regular updates review our performance against targets that have been set to our RIDDORs and traffic collisions.  To demonstrate RMVS' Executive Board commitment, all members have completed driver risk assessment and attended an improving driving skills training intervention course - to show leadership by example. This case study illustrates the development and effective performance of our introduction of major initiatives including:

  • Drivers manual
  • Driver risk assessment
  • Collision analysis and investigation
  • Driver training
  • Telemetry
  • Risk data-warehouse
  • Systems-based approach
  • Communication

The key initiatives combined are already producing impressive headline results:


down by 30%

Speeding Events

down by 61%

Over speeding duration

down by 73%

Accidents (telemetry sites)

down by 20%


down by 70%


We believe that to fully manage and plan for an effective road safety program it is important to adopt a systems approach and to look at the following 5 key areas, based on the Haddon Matrix framework:

  • Company Culture
  • The Driver
  • The Journey
  • The Vehicle
  • Community (see Section 4 on community road safety)

Company Culture.  The Policy verification assessment and Safe Driving Pledge described above, helps to reinforce all our safety rules as set out in our Driver Manual. This represents our safety culture. Our safety climate is measured on the basis of 'how we do things around here', via the Risk Exposure Summary MIS that develops automatically from our DRA program. At a glance, it identifies gaps in our safety climate, and how we can fill them.

The Driver.  Key tools here are the driver manual, online DRA and driver training. By using DRA we are able to identify our 'at risk' drivers and assist them. An illustration of this is by using the outputs from the risk assessment and cross-matching this against licence endorsements and incident data. This enables us to determine if there is a pattern to why incidents are happening. We are then able to determine the best training intervention for the individual. One typical example is that we have identified many slow speed manoeuvring incidents at our own sites and are developing a slow speed manoeuvring course for drivers with our training suppliers. We are also currently piloting a new training workshop for 300 of our managers focusing on our safety culture, particularly on 'Why it is important - and how to best implement'.  The use of telemetry in our vehicles is enabling us to see how the vehicles are being driven, if they are speeding or if they are continually harsh-braking. Where these behaviours are observed, necessary interventions can be utilised to change behaviours.

The Journey.  With the introduction of telemetry to the fleet we are better able to utilise our vehicles and determine the best routes to use. This is helping to reduce the probability of vehicle collisions and injuries to people as the initiative is resulting in fewer actual vehicles on the road doing less miles.  Also with regards to journey management, our collision analysis is identifying hot spots at our own locations requiring more detailed site risk assessments.

The Vehicle.  Our telemetry project has previously been described. We also undertake pre-procurement risk assessments to ensure our vehicles are fit for purpose as required by PUWER.  One good example relates to speed limiters.

Our trucks are already governed by speed limiting legislation. However, even though there are no laws specifically covering vans, we are ensuring that none of our 33,000 vehicles will be capable of exceeding the speed limit on the UK's fastest roads.  All new vans are now limited to 70mph. Work to retrospectively fit limiters on our existing fleet has already started; 18,000+ vehicles have now been completed which represents 89% of our under 3.5t fleet.

Limiting our vans to 70mph is helping reduce the risk that our drivers are involved in accidents caused by speed. Our vehicles were involved in accidents that resulted in 10 fatalities during 07/08 - these were not all caused by excess speed but it has been recognised that we need to do what we can to improve our safety performance, for both our drivers and the public. Stickers on the rear of the van, such as the example here, are helping to reinforce our commitment to safety in the eyes of customers and the public.

This and the other projects described, has generated a great deal of publicity for road safety, both externally and internally.


Vehicle Services have a central driver training team to arrange all necessary driver-related training. Depending on the outcomes of our collision analysis, risk assessment, induction program and management requests, relevant behind-the-wheel training, with over 50 targeted courses available for drivers and managers - from expert to novice - is undertaken.

The training involves using both internal driving instructors and a number of external companies. Courses range from change over training i.e. when a driver is required to drive a different size or type of vehicle, through to HGV training. A number of specialised courses such as Defensive Driving and Pass Plus (introduced in RMVS for apprentices, who must pass before they can drive on their own in a company vehicle) are also available.

All driver training is recorded, whether it takes place in-cab, online or classroom-based. Work is currently being progressed to feed the information into the risk data-warehouse via an interface from Vehicle Services' driver training system. This process helps to systematically manage the outcomes and success of the training provided by all our internal and external trainers. It also allows new tailored training interventions (such as slow manoeuvring courses) to be identified and developed. Figure 1 shows the number of training courses attended over last 4 years.

Figure 1 - Behind the wheel training course completions


Driver's Manual.  RMVS provide all of RMG's 90,000 operational drivers with a Driver Manual which has information ranging from driver obligations and the law, personal safety, security of the vehicle and vehicle policy. The manual provides the drivers with details of their main responsibilities as a driver and guidance on the standards required when driving. It is constructed to allow drivers to insert additional sections or add their own records and notes during day-to-day driving duties.

As well as issuing the manual to all drivers, we believe that it is vital that this becomes a living, breathing document that drivers read, understand and comply with. This is achieved through a specific mandatory Royal Mail Group policy module and safe driving pledge- an integral element of our driver assessment programme.


Driver Risk Assessment, Monitoring and Improvement (DRA).  The DRA initiative was implemented by a specially assembled team. This followed a two year process that involved benchmarking along with a detailed evaluation trial with a group of our Bradford-based drivers and our managers, and a highly detailed tender process.  Our leadership, use of competent advice, a consultation process and detailed reviews all help ensure the program is suited to our needs. The scientifically sound, but practical, DRA program affects all employees who drive on behalf of the business. The scale of this undertaking should not be underestimated (90,000 drivers to be assessed over a 3-5 year period) and it is possibly the largest undertaken in the world. Everyone who drives for the business - whether it is an operational vehicle, company car, hire car or their own car - is participating.

Figure 2 shows how in its first 18 months this process has seen our manager risk-assess the driving exposure for over 53,000 people registered on the system. We have individually risk-assessed 20,525 drivers, the outcome of which feeds into our risk data-warehouse.

Management Action

Number of People

Driving exposure risk assessed by line manager


Safe Driving Pledge completions by drivers and managers


Risk Foundation policy assessment completions


Licence mandates completed by driver


Licence check records completed with DVLA showing on system


RoadRISK: Profile (driver, vehicle and journey) assessments undertaken


RoadRISK: Defensive Driving assessments undertaken


One More Second training completions


RoadSKILLS training completions


Figure 2 -DRA completion figures to date

The program comprises of an online process where managers verify the exposures faced by their drivers.  Drivers then go on-line to verify their understanding of and make their Pledge to comply with RMG policies. This is followed by a RoadRISK assessment, based on driving exposure, attitude, skills and knowledge.

After this risk assessment stage, RMG has made it mandatory for all drivers irrespective of their rating to undertake two online safety improvement interventions to give all drivers some valuable safe driving tips and a basic level of training. A key message when the driver undertakes their DRA is that the skills learned are life skills - just as useful and important when driving their family and friends as when they are driving as part of their job. This also benefits the wider community in which we operate.

In addition to the managers identifying the exposure of their team along with the policy verification, assessment and basic training, the DRA program also includes an online driver's licence check directly with the DVLA. This ensures the validity of the licence as well as recording any information with regard to endorsement or penalty points which are built into an overall Driver Index or risk data-warehouse. As far as we are aware, the 11,500+ licences checked to date is the biggest ever such program by a UK fleet operator.

The licence checks aim to support and verify our existing 6 monthly physical Driver Licence Checks, whereby everyone who drives on behalf of RMG (operational, company car and occasional) has their driving licence checked to ensure it is current, legal and appropriate for the type of driving they are undertaking.


Performance reviews take place at several different levels within RMG to help ensure our programs remain fit for purpose:

  • The Transport Safety Steering Group is responsible for reviewing performance against targets, setting new priorities and reporting to stakeholders on a quarterly basis.
  • Working groups focus on specific issues and campaigns such as road safety week, telemetry, data analysis, DRA and behind the wheel training on an on-going basis.
  • The CSR Governance report is produced monthly, which includes the reporting of collision trend data.
  • Output KPIs are monitored on an ongoing basis as part of our benefits tracking to monitor the reduction in number of Blameworthy Road Traffic Accidents, along with vehicle misuse and abuse.
  • New ways to analyse and improve the collision data are constantly evolving. Given the scale of RMG, this is a major task.
  • Process-based KPIs, such as reporting of Road Traffic Accidents within 24 hours, are also monitored on an on-going basis to allow for systems improvements.
  • We are also one of the leading contributors to the Fleet Safety Benchmarking project. This has helped to compare our performance against others, and to make the business case to develop the programs described.

Overall, this demonstrates we have very comprehensive and effective arrangements for consulting and involving the workforce, and ensuring the program described is fit for purpose.

Telemetry.  Although still in its infancy, we have already seen quantifiable outcomes from our telemetry project, with dramatic improvements in our Harsh Braking performance in our trial vehicles. In the first year of monitoring, harsh-braking events reduced by 69%, equating to a reduction from 78 to 25 harsh per vehicle. As our telemetry and risk data warehousing projects develop and expand over time, we hope to see such outcomes across the whole fleet through more appropriate targeted awareness raising and interventions.  Telemetry is currently fitted to 8000+ of our vehicles with promising results to date.  Already, telemetry has enabled us to monitor and reduce our risks. For example, in the first year of monitoring of the fleet with telemetry fitted, harsh-braking events have reduced by 69%, which equates to a drop from 78 to 25 harsh-braking events per vehicle.

Using Our Risk Data-Warehouse To Set Control Measures And Targets.  The end result of these initiatives is that we are increasing our visibility on all our key indicators and moving toward identifying the complete risk profile of our all our drivers as LOW, MEDIUM, HIGH and VERY HIGH risk from an online data-warehouse made up of risk assessment, collision, licence, training and telemetry data.  Figure 3 shows the risk profile of all drivers who have completed their DRA to date.

Figure 3 - DRA risk ratings based on first 20,525 completions

Our pilots and trials suggest that the data-warehouse data provides great opportunities for targeting driver risk reduction activities on the basis of need via a combination of both lag (pre-collision) and lead (post-collision) indicators.  This approach is helping to shape the future training requirements for our drivers and managers in order to improve their skills, knowledge and safety - with the intention of keeping our drivers driving.

Collision Analysis and Investigation.  We have a very good track record on collision reporting and recording.  Over the past year we have put a great deal of effort into our collision analysis procedures to ensure that its programs are sustainable and fact-based:

  • Developed in-house database system for collision analysis and data-analysis.
  • Setting up the CrashCOUNT and Driver Indexing system to have data visibility and use it to develop targeted risk management strategies.
  • Successfully improved data collection, based on gaps identified through data-analysis, to allow targeting of the specific areas of risk.
  • Used crash and benchmarking data to persuade the board and senior managers to invest time and money in road safety.
  • Targeting specific major risks such as reversing on site, delivery and collection points.
  • Shown clear improvements in safety performance by using the data effectively (further information is included in subsequent sections).

Electronic Reporting of Incidents for Collation and Analysis (ERICA).   For collision reporting and investigation, we use ERICA, a bespoke online incident-reporting system for road traffic collisions, developed over many years, which drives investigation through a series of structured and context-sensitive questions.  This then interfaces with our claims handling system (TRAX) which is used to determine why and how an incident has occurred and how the incident can be learned from.  The system gathers an extensive range of data with regard to the details of the collision. This includes the driver's report, road, weather conditions and other external factors.  In the event of a road collision involving a serious injury or fatality senior management is notified immediately through our post-collision escalation process.  Our internal systems are currently being adapted to provide automatic interfaces of collision and incident data to be exported into our Driver Index or risk data-warehouse. This interface provides history details by driver of all road traffic collisions involving RMG drivers and vehicles.


Speed of collision reporting.  Speed of collision reporting - or time to report - is a key process indicator for managing road safety. In order to ensure that collisions are dealt with as soon as possible, a target to report all collisions within 24 hours from the time of the incident happening was introduced. This measure is seen as vital in order to manage the claim effectively and for undertaking the investigation and corrective action process in the most effective way.

This target is included on the RMVS managers' scorecard and reported on a monthly basis, an extract of which is shown below in Figure 4:

Figure 4 (click for larger version)-Manager scorecard showing collision reduction and reporting targets:

A great deal of effort has gone into improving our time to report KPI, which has resulted in the improvement in performance from 47% to 87% shown in Figure 4. This is a significant step in improving our processes for fleet safety analysis and action.


Our DRA initiative has already assessed the driving exposures of over 50,000 employees. As well as these process measures, we have also undertaken initial studies to evaluate the outcomes of the driver assessments against driver crash and violation history, which is a particularly important active indicator to allow risks to be predicted and targeted (Figure 5). As our risk data-warehouse and Driver Index becomes more sophisticated, increasingly sophisticated analysis of this type is helping to make our processes even more data-led.

Figure 5 -DRA trial scores versus collision outcomes


Figure 6 summarises our trend data from 2004/5 to 2007/8. It shows clear improvements in our total collision numbers and costs, our own vehicle repair costs, our blameworthy collisions, our collision reporting and our collision rate per miles travelled. In 2007/8 we also reduced the number of fatal road collisions in which we were involved, although we are cautious about this indicator - because one major incident can very easily influence its outcome.

KPI data from TRAX





Total number of collisions





Solicitors costs





Total third party (TP) costs





Recoveries from Third parties





Total third party costs - net recoveries





RMG Internal reported accident repair costs





RMG Internal unreported accident repair costs





Total RMG TP and internal Costs










Overall totals





Average Accident Cost Per vehicle





RMG Blameworthy %





Reported within 24hrs





Incident rates per vehicle





Incident rates per 100,000 miles





Fatal road collisions





Actual number of road fatalities





Figure 6 - RMG road safety outcomes KPI trends

Digging a little deeper into this data, Figure 7 illustrates the reduction in volume of blameworthy Third party collisions involving our Letters division. Comparing the total for 2008/09 to date with the same time period for 2007/08, it suggests a clear reduction of 363.

Figure 7 - Reductions in collisions involving Letters fleet

Overall during the most recent 12 months, we have seen a 14% reduction in Parcelforce collisions and a 7% reduction in RMG collisions as a whole.


The experience of developing a management culture focussed on delivering improved safety within radical organisational change has reinforced 2 key principles which provide the basis for management within RMG.

a.         Using Competent AdviceRMG has made best use of its access to a great deal of advice, both internally and externally.  Internally, as a recognised leader in the field of large fleet operatiors, our Transport Safety Steering Group has contacts to expert advice from all around the business, ranging from engineering and IT, through to HR, Occupational Health Services, claims management and training.  There are also many opportunities for internal networking and sharing of good practice, for example via our Area Transport Manager structure as well as an initiative which introduced Operational Area Safety Managers to all Area Leadership Teams.  Externally, we work closely with our DRA and Telemetry suppliers, along with Brake and RoSPA.  We are active members of the Fleet Safety Benchmarking Group and a road safety working party hosted by Arval, one of our fuel suppliers. All such initiatives provide us with access to competent advice and the sharing of good practice.

b.         Consulting and Involving the Workforce.  The RMG workforce is represented by two unions; the Communication Workers Union (CWU) for operational employees and CMA/Unite for managerial employees.  Both these groups represent their members on safety issues and policies. In addition to this, each operating unit has its own local Health & Safety representative.  There have been a number of good examples of where RMG and RMVS have engaged with the workforce and its representatives in relation to road safety.


The value of engaging and briefing the work force on operational decisions has been reinforced during the course of recent change activities.  Examples are given below:

a.         Questionnaire Surveys.  During the introduction of the two main safety initiatives this year (Telemetry and DRA) both the drivers and their Union representatives in the trial areas were fully involved. All parties participated in questionnaire surveys to obtain feedback at the end of the trial process. In addition, a national tour involving a number of open days for all major transformational initiatives was undertaken. Stands representing both Telemetry and DRA enabled drivers and managers to observe, understand, question and provide feedback on what was involved.  The feedback from these surveys was used to make any necessary improvements and develop future communication materials prior to the full programme rollout.  Special days to involve and engage with our Area Transport Managers, who are one of the key stakeholder groups, were held with representatives from all operational areas. For our non-operational drivers, an open day was held at one of our largest support units to ensure understanding about the initiatives.

b.         DRA Trial Evaluation Survey.  After the initial deployment of DRA, it was seen as vital to obtain feedback from the individuals who had been involved. A feedback survey was undertaken by the DRA central support team based within RMVS.  Some 78% of drivers understood and accepted the need for risk assessment.  Where feedback highlighted a potential problem with the system or deployment, action was taken.  For example, where the issue was raised around the length of time taken to complete the DRA, RMVS worked with the supplier to identify ways the process could be less time-constraining, without detriment to the integrity of the system or its results.

c.         Vehicle Selection Event.  We have recently been involved in a major contract tender for future vehicle needs.  To involve our people in influencing the type of fleet that RMG runs, a series of driver days were held. A number of our operational drivers were invited to the Millbrook testing track where they had the opportunity to drive different vehicles. This culminated in a Family Day at the end of the week where the drivers brought along their families to take part in a series of activities.  It was important to generate this involvement, as ultimately, our drivers are the people who will be out on the roads operating the vehicles on a daily basis. Their feedback on suitability and ease of use is important in helping to make the decision on what vehicle is best, which in turn helps lead to safer driving.


We raise the profile of driver hazard awareness and safety for our employees and their families through a number of initiatives both internal and external, including:

  • Messages promoting Road Safety Week and its theme were included with all employee pay slips, such as the example here. This meant that a key safety message hit approximately 170,000 RMG employees and their families.

  • A nationally deployed Work Time Listening and Learning session cascaded through various internal eChannels, namely "Leading Our People", "Transport Weekly" and "Asset Weekly".This featured the powerful Arval DVD which re-enacted a crash and aimed to influence the way we drive - and help us influence the way our children drive.
  • Free private vehicle 15 point winter driving checks available to all staff attending Road Transport Workshops.
  • Guess the safe stopping distance competitions engaged over 100 employees in road safety.
  • Number plate reading eye tests were undertaken engaging over100 employees.
  • Parallel parking training undertaken by 35 staff at one of the large administration sites and featured in Courier; our internal employee newspaper.

  • Tyres checks were completed on 25 employees' private vehicles at RMVS Head Office.
  • Managers from the RMVS Head Office visited schools in the Chesterfield area to promote road safety to 100+ 15-17 old pupils.

RMG has also worked to improve road safety in the wider business community. For example, RMG has been heavily involved in the Fleet Safety Benchmarking Project and has presented at industry events and conferences on behalf of ROSPA, Brake and IOSH.  In addition, RMG has approximately 20-30 employees who have been trained as road safety ambassadors for Brake. This training has been used to undertake presentations to internal bodies as well as schools.

< Back to list of case studies