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    17 March 2014
    Royal Mail Statement on Postcode Address File

Royal Mail Statement on Postcode Address File

Royal Mail takes its responsibilities and obligations in relation to the Postcode Address File (PAF) very seriously. Royal Mail recognises the importance that PAF plays as a vital dataset supporting and sustaining key parts of the UK economy and we are committed to its widespread availability at a fair price. Royal Mail (on 13 February 2014) published its revised proposals to simplify the PAF licence following an initial consultation last summer. The proposal, which we expect to finalise very soon, aims to widen take up, encourage greater use of PAF, and meet the current and future needs of users, solutions providers and developers of PAF based products in today’s marketplace.  

The revised licence proposals follow new measures implemented last year, in collaboration with Government, to provide free access to PAF for micro businesses and small independent charities, encouraging innovation and growth. In addition, Royal Mail is working with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Scottish Government on the introduction of a centrally paid Public Sector Licence (PSL) to cover use of the Postcode Address File (PAF). The Public Sector License seeks to simplify PAF licensing arrangements and we believe that this will encourage wider use of accurate address and postcode information in the delivery of vital public services. Once an agreement is finalised, all eligible public sector organisations in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to take advantage of the terms for use of PAF under the PSL.

Background

Royal Mail introduced the postcode to every UK address almost 40 years ago to help it route and deliver mail. The Postcode Address file is a vital part of Royal Mail and will continue to be so. Since its introduction, the way in which the postcode is used has diversified and grown. PAF is now at the core of a wide range of systems and solutions which support many businesses and industries. These range from online retailing to financial services, estate agency to emergency services, local and central government as well as Satellite Navigation systems.

Postcode information is made available to individual members of the public free of charge through Royal Mail's Postcode Finder service. The Postcode Address File is also made available to all businesses and organisations through a flexible licensing mechanism that helps towards paying for the considerable and on-going investment in the maintenance and provision of PAF. Royal Mail and the Government recognise that PAF is also a key component in thousands of other applications which support business efficiency and growth. We are committed to driving increased usage of this data-set and thus innovation in the data business community to the benefit of the UK economy.