Press Release 15 October 2015:
Following the successful initial trial to add more 2D barcodes to parcels going through the Post Office network, additional branches have now been added to the trial.
210 Post Office branches, predominantly in the South West, will now put 2D barcodes on Large Letters and Parcels.
Additionally, all post office branches will now produce 2D barcoded posting labels for Royal Mail Signed For, Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed and International Tracked, International Signed and International Tracked and Signed products.
Over the past few months, we have been asking many of our parcels customers to change the way they label their parcels. We want them to use a 2D barcode (pictured), rather than 1D, or no barcode at all.
We’re asking them to do this as part of our plans to track significantly more parcels by the end of the year.
However, the evidence is slightly different to the stated position in paragraph 3. A correspondent in Glasgow reports that a Special Delivery 500g packet required a label with the 2D bar code, but a Special Delivery 100g letter had a traditional label with no bar-code.
IF what Royal Mail is aiming for is that all mailpieces which are not basic letters will have a barcode, while basic letters will not, then the Glasgow situation is logical. (There is no distinction with Special Delivery 100g between ordinary and Large Letters: SD is only by weight, and of course over 100g must be at least a Large Letter and maybe a Small Packet.)
I will be asking outside the UK for examples of the International mail with new barcodes, to find out what the top-line text is, and what is entered for the addressee details. I'll add more pictures here to this post when I get them. For now, though, I think we can say that the short IDs that we have been used to - IS, ITS, SD9 , are on their way out!
UPDATE 25 October
Courtesy of a customer in Australia I can show this IT International Tracked label, also with S in the lower corner for a (small) letter.