Statement of principles for parcel deliveries: review

In November 2018, the Scottish Government launched the Fairer Deliveries For All: An Action Plan which listed eight key actions to tackle the unfair and discriminatory parcel delivery charges faced by communities in remote and rural Scotland. This report is in response to action point 4.

1. Introduction

This report presents the findings of research commissioned by the Scottish Government's Consumer and Competition Policy Unit to help understand the impact and reach of the Statement of Principles for Parcel Deliveries (2013).[4]

The Statement of Principles was developed by the Scottish Government in partnership with members of a Working Group to increase good delivery practice among retailers. Members of the Working Group shared an ambition to optimise the way the parcel delivery market in Scotland works in the interests of consumers and business, especially in remote and rural areas.

The Statement of Principles has remained largely unchanged, although it was adopted, in a slightly revised form, by the UK Government the following year.[5]

This research has been commissioned in support of the Scottish Government's Fairer Deliveries For All: An Action Plan (2018).[6] More specifically, the Action Plan sets out the Scottish Government's ongoing commitment to undertaking a programme of work to:

  • raise awareness of the Principles among retailers;
  • develop the Principles into a simple pledge that retailers can sign up to; and
  • explore how the Principles can be more usefully applied to couriers.

1.1 Research Aims and Objectives

The detailed study objectives were to undertake research to provide an overview of:

  • awareness of the Principles among retailers;
  • views of stakeholders, including parcel delivery companies and retailers, on the content of the Principles and their effectiveness in driving behaviour change;
  • the extent to which retailers have altered their behaviour as a result of the Principles;
  • perceived or actual barriers to adoption of the Principles;
  • specific examples of retailer best practice, including whether or not these have been influenced by the Principles;
  • specific examples of parcel delivery company best practice and the reasons behind it;
  • the extent to which retailers and parcel delivery companies have developed clear policies of their own good practice - whether these are in line with the Principles, and how these policies are disseminated and monitored;
  • the appetite among stakeholders for the Principles to apply to parcel delivery companies as well as retailers; and
  • whether alternative strategies could more effectively drive change, and views on what these might be.

1.2 Study Method

The research was undertaken in four main stages, as presented in Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1: Study Method

Stage 1: Inception
Inception meeting and note

Stage 2: Desk Review
Rapid review of existing evidence base

Stage 3: Primary Research
Consultations with partners and stakeholders
Online survey of businesses/online retailers

Stage 4: Analysis and Reporting
Draft and Final Report



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