Improved access to the Postcode Address File

14/06/2013

ROYAL MAIL UNVEILS IMPROVED ACCESS TO POSTCODE ADDRESS FILE

  • Royal Mail today unveiled new measures designed in collaboration with Government to improve access to the Postcode Address File (PAF®) for micro businesses and small charities, encouraging innovation and growth
  • These include:
    • Free access to PAF® for independent small charitable organisations
    • Free access to PAF® for one year for independent micro businesses to support them in developing PAF®-based products and taking them to market
    • An increase in free online address look-ups on Royal Mail’s website from 15 to 50 per day
  • Royal Mail will also consult on a wide-ranging package of measures to simplify PAF® licensing and ensure it meets the needs of users and innovators in today’s marketplace
  • 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

Working in collaboration with Government, Royal Mail today unveiled new measures to improve access to the Postcode Address File (PAF®) for micro businesses and small charities, encouraging innovation and growth.

Royal Mail will also consult on a wide-ranging package of measures to transform and simplify PAF® licensing and ensure it meets the needs of users and innovators in today’s marketplace.

The evolution of the postcode

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 the dataset.

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. We recognise that further simplification and improvement to the current licensing arrangements is required.

Improving access to micro businesses and small charities

From the beginning of July, Royal Mail will provide free access to PAF® to micro businesses and small charities. These measures will encourage innovation and growth for those businesses and organisations in the crucial first year of operation. The measures are:

  • Free access to PAF® for independent1 small charitable organisations2
  • Free access to PAF® for one year for independent1 micro businesses3 to support them in developing PAF®-based products and taking them to market
  • An increase in free online address look-ups on Royal Mail’s website from 15 to 50 per day

Consultation on licensing reforms to meet the needs of today’s marketplace

Prior to the introduction of the current PAF® licence Royal Mail consulted extensively with the market and its representatives to develop a framework that offered customers new features such as pay per click and user-based options.

However, following Ofcom’s consultation document on PAF® in February 2013 and feedback from users, Royal Mail agrees that a simpler approach for PAF® licensing is now required.

In July, Royal Mail will undertake a market consultation on a wide-ranging package of licensing reforms to change the regime to better enable it to meet the needs of users and innovators in today’s marketplace. Following extensive input from Government and market representatives, Royal Mail is proposing a licensing framework that:

  • Is permissive, rather than the current restrictive licence, and simplifies licensing concepts such as derived data
  • Focuses on the direct licensee and replaces the indirect licensing model
  • Minimises on-licensing and places fewer requirements on licensees than exist at present
  • Simplifies pricing, from nearly 40 price points, and instead presents a small number of licensing choices
  • Replaces the 60 pages of licensing terms and conditions with around 10 pages and uses clear, simple language

Footnotes:
1 Independent – not associated or affiliated with any existing Solutions Provider
2 Small charitable organisations – less than £10m per annum income who are registered charities or CICs
3 Micro businesses – 1-9 employees and less than £2m turnover p.a.

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