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Thread: Brown envelopes no more.

  1. #1
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Brown envelopes no more.

    In response to a recent FoI request the DWP have stated:

    ..... we are reacting to an external change in mail sortation that could lead to elongated delays in the customer journey, which we want to avoid
    at all costs.
    The way to avoid this is to move to white envelopes later in the year.
    From other sources they will still be window envelopes to show the address printed on the letter.

    I believe they are still deciding what to print on the outside of the white envelopes so that you know it's from the DWP about your benefits, without telling anyone else that you are on benefits.
    That's pretty impossible, which is why the brown ones don't have anything "DWP" printed on them other than the return address on the back.
    But they can have some all-expenses-paid meetings to talk about it.

    TBH it's just going to make them harder to tell from all the (other) junk mail that comes through the door.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    It's started today (well yesterday but that was a bank holiday).

    Tweet from the DWP about using white envelopes instead of brown ones:
    https://twitter.com/DWP/status/1378022042600140806

    From 5 April 2021, we will be making a change to some of the envelopes used to send you letters

    You may receive some post from the Department in a white envelope rather than the usual brown (manila) envelope

    Don't bin it, open it!
    Apparently it says on the front "Important Information Please Read" - Just like every piece of junk mail that you ignore.

    Is the idea that they dliberately wanted you to miss letters? (So they could sanction you or stop your benefit for not responding).
    Last edited by nukecad; 06-04-21 at 11:13.
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  3. #3
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    I saw the postman coming up my path today with a couple of things in one hand & in the other hand a DWP brown envelope! with a stack of other things

    Thankfully I got the ones in the hand without the DWP letter

    They want us to stop saying the dreaded brown envelope that's fine we can change it to the dreaded white envelope

    And I think your right that people could miss them because they look like spam letters

  4. #4
    Senior Member gus607's Avatar
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    I received a brown DWP type envelope a while back. Looked official enough until I opened it. From Capital One trying to sign me up for a credit card !

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    Thanks for the heads up Nukecad.

    So now I'm dreading the arrival of a white envelope too.

    Funnily enough, I received a white envelope at the weekend with "Important information please read" on the outside, it was from the hospital, but like has been said, easy to miss among junk mail that has similar wording too.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TheFlyingKidney's Avatar
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    Virgin has done the 'Important information' wording and a couple of other scams.
    Are the DWP either so dumb, so diabolical or what to actually bother not to check these things!

  7. #7
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    There has been an explanation of just why they are changing from brown to white envelopes.

    It's not a DWP choice, it's been forced on them by changes to the "Royal Mail Scheme for Franking of Letters and Parcels (2017)".

    The DWP say:
    From 5 April some DWP system-generated customer notifications will be sent in white rather than manila (brown) envelopes. This requirement is driven by a change in the way Royal Mail sorts bulk post. The new system requires a legible barcode to be printed onto the envelope. Testing has shown printing onto our manila envelopes regularly fails.
    Odd that, there's plenty of stuff already printed onto the DWP's brown envelopes without any problems.

    A bit more searching finds that it's the Royal Mail barcode readers that can't read barcodes off a brown/manila envelope. (And some other colour envelopes).

    From a franking machine manufacturers website:
    If you use a Mailmark franking machine you MUST use white envelopes and labels. All Mailmark franking machines must use blue ink as this creates a clear franking indicia when printed on to white envelopes and labels. This allows for Royal Mail’s machines to easily read the barcode and process the item correctly. The machines have difficulty reading the barcode on manila envelopes and dark plastic wrapping.
    Last edited by nukecad; 24-04-21 at 09:26.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I've just got my first DWP white envelope.

    No identification on the front, just "IMPORTANT INFORMATION - PLEASE READ" above the address window.

    ENVW27 top left corner (Envelope, White, type/size 27 - the Brown ones say ENV 27)
    UK mail stamp top right.
    Printed on number and barcode in black, with two more barcodes in a kind of light orange.

    The only reason that I knew it was from the DWP before opening it was because of the Belfast return address on the back.

    PS. I suspect that it's the 2 light orange barcodes that were the problem, looking at the brown envelopes they are there but you can hardly see them against the brown.
    Take a quick look at any envelopes you have from anywhere, they all have the orange barcodes.

    PPS. The change may be for the good, it may mean that less mail from/to the DWP gets 'lost in the post'.
    Last edited by nukecad; 28-04-21 at 11:41.
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