This review was established to maintain the universal postal service, that is the collection, sorting, transportation and delivery of letters to all 28 million businesses and residential addresses. It sets out a number of conclusions and recommendations on how the universal service can be maintained. The postal service is seen as having a strong social and economic rationale. Customers place a high value on the afford ability of the service, on a uniform tariff, and deliveries on six days per week. The Review states that the post offices provide a vital point of access for residential consumers and small businesses. The universal service is under threat though, with the explosion of digital media - the Internet, email, mobile text and broadcasting - which has prompted an unprecedented decline in the letters market. The Review does see a positive future for the postal service, provided that postal companies are able to respond quickly to the changing needs of customers and embrace the opportunities that new technology brings. Although the Royal Mail is the only company currently capable of providing the universal service in the UK, it is much less efficient than many of its European peers and faces severe difficulties. Therefore a radical reform of the Royal Mail's network is inevitable and the organization needs to modernize faster. To sustain the universal service, the Royal Mail needs to tackle inefficiency, the pension deficit, and the difficult relationships between the company, unions and regulator. The Review sees two distinct phases to modernization: Transformation: that is, changing the culture of the organization, by improving efficiency and reducing costs; and, Diversify: that is, finding new sources of revenue either by providing related products or expanding to cover a wider geographical area. The Review believes that the Royal Mail urgently needs commercial confidence, capital and corporate experience to modernize quickly and effectively and recommends a strategic partnership with one or more private sector companies with demonstrable experience of transforming a major business, ideally this would be a major network business.
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