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Free Letterbox Delivery - Multiple Residential Units - Regional Publications

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Definition

Copies distributed to multiple-residential units, intended for pick up by residents. 

Principles

  1. Prior notification of distribution details and any changes to ABC

  2. Distribution follows a regular and consistent pattern to known multiple residential units

  3. Copies are delivered into multiple residential units, intended for pick up by residents 

  4. Quantity claimed should not exceed potential demand by the intended residents

  5. There will be effective management controls over distribution

 

Requirements | Reporting | Guidance


Requirements 

1. Prior notification of distribution details and any changes to ABC

  1. You must obtain ABC’s agreement that your distribution system is capable of being compliant and verifiable to ABC standards before the distribution of the first issue for which you intend to claim multiple-residential copies. This will include:

    1. A master list of all multiple-residential units, with the number of households held for each unit and the distribution round they are situated in.

    2. Details of how the distribution will take place.

    3. The controls over the distribution.

  2. After initial approval of the distribution system, you must, on an on-going basis, notify ABC of any permanent changes to the method of distribution or details on the master list of addresses (such as changes in distribution quantities, new or ceased multiple residential units) as and when they occur.

Guidance available

2. Distribution follows a regular and consistent pattern to known multiple residential units 

  1. All issues will be part of a Distribution Cycle.

    1. A Distribution Cycle is defined as a controlled and recognisable regular pattern of distribution, based on issues.

      • Note: Any claimed free circulation categories not distributed on an every issue cycle must follow the same Distribution Cycle based on issues. For example if you move Free Letterbox Delivery to a 2 weekly cycle then Free Pick Up must either remain on an every issue cycle or also follow a 2 weekly cycle.

    2. The same rounds must be distributed to within each Distribution Cycle.

      • Example 1: Delivery could be on an all issue Distribution Cycle. This would mean the same rounds are delivered to for every issue.  

      • Example 2: A weekly publication could be delivered on a 3 weekly cycle. This would mean the same rounds are delivered to on weeks1, 4, 7 etc, a different set of rounds are delivered to on weeks, 2, 5, 8 etc and a different set of rounds are delivered to on weeks 3, 6, 9 etc.

      • Example 3: A daily publication could be delivered to the same rounds each Monday, and to a different set of rounds each Tuesday to Friday. 

    3. The quantity of copies distributed must be broadly the same for all issues within and between Distribution Cycles.  Note:

      • Only for publications published more frequently than weekly (e.g. daily) the distribution may be varied without limit between each Distribution Cycle. For example: Mondays 10,000 copies, Tuesdays no copies, Wednesdays 5,000 copies etc.

      • Rounds uncovered due to unavailability of distributors are not considered as changes and can be ignored.

  2. Only multiple residential units in the UK or Republic of Ireland can be claimed.

  3. ABC must have the right to visit or contact units or households for verification purposes.

 3. Copies are delivered into multiple residential units, intended for pick up by residents

  1. Distribution must be made to an area where access is restricted to residents of the multiple residential unit. For example through a communal or secure letterbox as opposed to distribution to a lobby area accessible by the general public. 

  2. You must be able to provide evidence of the number of copies of the publication delivered to each multiple-residency unit. This may be from:

    1. A third party whose business is distribution; or 

    2. Where the copies are delivered by distributors that are not 3rd party to the publisher (such as in-house distributors or from a joint venture), it may be possible to include these in the claim as long as:

      • It can be demonstrated that the drivers/distributors have sufficient independence and are specifically contracted to deliver/distribute the publication.

      • The auditor/ABC has full and unrestricted access to the relevant parties’ documentation and financial records.

      • ABC has specifically agreed this distribution method.

  3. If your systems and controls indicate any apparent failure in the scheduled distribution then the copies delivered to those multiple residential units must not be claimed. 

  4. You cannot claim distribution of back issues.

Guidance available

 4. Quantity claimed should not exceed potential demand by the intended residents

  1. Your multiple-residency claim must be reported on a capped basis. The number of copies claimed for a multiple residential unit will be the number of copies distributed into that unit limited to the number of households, up to a maximum of 10. 

 5. There will be effective management controls over distribution 

No additional requirements.

Guidance available

 


Reporting

 

You will report copies as follows, which will be broken out on the ABC certificate: 

    1. By total average multiple-residency copies per issue for the period, analysed into geographical type:

      1. United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland analysed as one figure.

      2. A statement describing the Free Letterbox Delivery – Multiple Residential Units Distribution Cycle. For example: weekly or 2 week cycle.

      3. For the last issue of each Distribution Cycle in the reporting period (ignoring excluded issues) you may optionally report an analysis of the distribution by postcode sector. For example: A weekly publication using a 2 week Distribution Cycle will report a postcode analysis for both the ultimate and penultimate issue.

        1. If opting to report this analysis, daily publications must report it for each issue in the last week of each Distribution Cycle in of the reporting period.  For example: A daily publication using a 2 week Distribution Cycle will report a postcode analysis for each issue in both the ultimate and penultimate weeks.

 


Guidance

 G1. Prior notification of distribution details and any changes to ABC

  1. Distribution round cards or equivalent of all multiple-residency addresses. We would expect this to include the following for each address:

    • Unique point ID (to enable clear identification when changes are made).

    • Address, including postcode.

    • Total number of letterboxes per multiple residency unit

    • Whether the point has a responsible individual based at point (e.g. concierge) and, if so, their name and telephone number

    • Point restrictions. For example it is particularly important to identify any points which can only be accessed via doorbell or concierge, or if no entry is possible

    • Normal day/date of delivery.

    • Approximate time of delivery.

    • Method of delivery. For example: in house, name of 3rd party distribution company.

    • Normal supply quantity.

      • The master list of all addresses must be supplied to ABC at the time the controls are submitted to ABC for approval prior to certification. All changes to the above details for existing addresses, any removal of addresses and all additions to addresses should be notified to ABC as and when they occur.

  2. Other information needed for audit typically will include:

    • Issue by issue summary: This is an issue by issue summary of all copies to multiple-residency units by number of copies, units and rounds. 

 G2. Distribution follows a regular and consistent pattern to known multiple residential units

No additional guidance.

 G3. Copies are delivered into multiple residential units, intended for pick up by residents

  1. You must be able to provide evidence, from the third party responsible, of the number of copies made available at each multi-residency unit for end users.

    1. ABC may approve reports from electronic tracking or logging systems, subject to satisfactory audit of the system (and access to live reporting if applicable).

    2. Paper based systems may be approved on an individual basis. Typically, suitable evidence will be a delivery note signed and dated by a responsible third party individual (at the time of delivery) confirming the number of copies of the particular issue of the publication supplied and that they have been delivered into the multiple residential units. Ordinarily an individual should be signing the delivery note at the time of the delivery. However if the signatory is unavailable at the time of delivery they can complete the delivery note left with the consignment and return to the publisher within 5 working days or before the distribution of the next issue (whichever is the sooner).

    3. Where the individual confirming the delivery is the driver/distributor, additional verification such as the deliverer’s manager signing to confirm completion, or the inclusion of a time of delivery may be required where ABC deems appropriate for audit purposes.

    4. If the evidence is from an individual that is not third party to the publisher  (such as an in-house distributor) then the records that additionally might be needed for audit could include run/route sheets, evidence of contractual arrangements, wage claims or distributor invoices. 

    5. Depending on the method of distribution, and controls in place, ABC may undertake additional checks (reality testing) on the distribution.                

 G4. Quantity claimed should not exceed potential demand by the intended residents

No additional guidance.

 G5. There will be effective management controls over distribution

  1. The publisher is responsible for ensuring that the copies they claim have been delivered and undelivered copies are accounted for. This requires a publisher to have appropriate management controls and processes in place to ensure that this is happening.  

    1. For each publication the detail and extent of these controls and processes will vary as they should be appropriate to the type of distribution. These could include training of staff, spot checks, customer complaint handling, live monitoring of electronic distribution records etc.

    2. These controls and processes are reviewed by ABC as part of the joining process and continuing audit of a publication. These help underpin the audit in that they form part of the consideration of risk and consequently the type and extent of audit work done.

    3. If weaknesses in management controls are found during the audit work, the publication’s circulation auditor / ABC will inform the distributor and the publisher of defined improvements to be implemented and a timescale to ensure copies are still eligible for ABC purposes.

  G6. There will be effective management controls over distribution

No additional guidance.