Amendments to the Postal Services Ordinance

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Swiss Post is committed to its universal service obligation and wants to ensure a high-quality universal service, which meets the requirements of the general public now and in the future. That is why Swiss Post has played an active role in the process of revising the Postal Services Ordinance and endorses the new provisions despite much tighter regulations.

Foundations of a modern universal service

The Postal Services Act and the Postal Services Ordinance regulate how the universal postal service is organized. Following a wide-ranging debate in parliament, Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard set up a working group in August 2017 to develop solutions for the future organization of the universal postal service. Swiss Post joined forces with the participating organizations to play an active role in the work, and the outcomes produced by the working group resulted in a widely accepted solution.

Based on the working group’s recommendations, the Federal Council initiated amendments to the Postal Services Ordinance. With the revision, the Federal Council aims to create a regulatory framework that will ensure the sustainable development of the universal postal service.

The amendments to be included in the revised version of the Ordinance will mean far-reaching changes with cost implications for Swiss Post. However, Swiss Post endorses the new provisions. The amended Postal Services Ordinance takes effect at the beginning of 2019.

The main amendments

  • Accessibility is measured at cantonal level: accessibility requirements will no longer be defined at national level, but at cantonal level. This will place greater weight on the equal treatment of regions.
  • Density criteria for cities and conurbations: at the same time, the requirements of cities and conurbations will be taken into account. In order to reflect living habits in urban areas, one access point will be guaranteed for every 15,000 inhabitants or workers.
  • Institutionalization of dialogue with the cantons: dialogue with the cantons will be intensified and institutionalized. Swiss Post and the cantons are encouraged to maintain regular dialogue with regard to the planning and coordination of the network of post offices and postal agencies within their respective regions.
  • The time provisions for postal and payment transactions will be unified: in accordance with the new provisions of the Postal Services Ordinance, payment transactions will from now on generally be accessible within 20 minutes instead of the previous 30 minutes. This means the standardization of the accessibility requirements for postal and payment services.

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Swiss Post holds the following viewpoints

  • Flexible, mutually agreed solutions: Swiss Post believes that dialogue must also permit the parties involved to find mutually agreed solutions that deviate from the accessibility requirements.
  • Clearly defined implementation: it is essential for the implementation of the new accessibility criteria that the concrete data on which the density criteria are based and the deadlines that will apply to Swiss Post are clearly defined. This will enable a response to any shortcomings with regard to meeting thresholds for these two parameters in individual cantons or regions.
    No construction of physical infrastructure, only a focus on services: Swiss Post would like to continue to be in a position to focus on services within its network and to be able to provide each of these services in an appropriate manner. The freedom to design the service range is accentuated by customers’ needs for round-the-clock access and will become even more important for Swiss Post in the future. As a general rule, digitization and new solutions should be employed without neglecting the universal service.
  • Strengthening of branches with partners: strengthening the branches with partners is a key element in strengthening the format and its acceptance among the general public. Swiss Post is actively working to increase the attractiveness of its branches with partners. The focus here is on better information for customers and on staff training.
  • Clear commitment to self-operated branches: Swiss Post is also clearly committed to its own branches and will invest around 40 million francs in the modernization of around 300 self-operated branches over the next few years.
  • Immediate implementation of the new requirements: Swiss Post will implement the new accessibility requirements by the end of 2018 and the required network adjustments in the course of 2019. Once the new measurement method is approved by all competent bodies, the measurement to be carried out for the 2019 calendar year using this new method may be carried out at the beginning of 2020.
  • Periodic review of requirements: to avoid the universal postal service becoming mired in the status quo, it essential in Swiss Post’s opinion that the legal requirements be periodically evaluated and brought into line with reality. A simple focus on maintaining structures without bearing in mind the future is neither effective nor sustainable.


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