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Licensing the use of postal address and Postcode information in Royal Mail’s PAF database for the purposes of Market Research

The postal address and Postcode information in PAF is widely used by Market Researchers for the purposes of identifying and targeting their research activities. Like other users of PAF, Market Researchers have to license their use of the data, however, unlike in the 2010 PAF Agreement, there are no specific clauses relating to the use of PAF for Market Research Purposes in the 2015 PAF Agreement. This has created some uncertainty for those Market Researchers who are using, and intend to continue to using, PAF so they’ve asked us to clarify our position with regard to this type of use.


We recently issued guidelines for certain circumstances where it would be appropriate to consider multiple ‘individuals’ as only one User and therefore only charge one User fee.

Some examples from the recently issued guidance are:

  • Where an individual leaves an End User organisation (such as on resignation) and is replaced by another individual.
  • An individual User is on maternity or paternity leave and is replaced by another individual for a period of time, returning at the end of their leave.
  • An individual has a period of sick absence and is replaced by someone else until the indisposed individual returns (the period of time could be one day, one week etc.).

In the above examples we will not regard the additional or replacement individual as an additional User and will only require one User licence fee to be returned.

We will now consider Researchers* to be treated in the same way as long as those Researchers* are using PAF for Market Research Purposes**

*“Researchers” means individuals employed by or contracted (directly or indirectly) to an End User for that End User’s own Market Research Purposes.

**“Market Research Purposes” means social or opinion research to gain insight or support decision making in respect of individuals or organisations, by systematic gathering and interpretation of information and use of the statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied social sciences.

In the coming weeks, we will issue a short set of guidelines on the PAF Licensing Centre.

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