Description & Request Overview
- The most frequent class of data requests received via ODUG’s request form on data.gov.uk is related to address data. In addition requests for a single national address register have been consistently made by three House of Commons Committees, ONS and many respondents to government consultations.
- At present there isn’t a single register, so requests are either for the NLPG (National Land and Property Gazetteer) now known as the National Address Gazetteer and marketed by GeoPlace LLP (a 50:50 joint venture of the LGA and Ordnance Survey under the trade name AddressBase. or for Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF)
Data Release Rationale
- A National Address register is probably the best single example of core reference data. This is data which has, or should have, a single correct version and is used to reference or link a wide range of other data sets. It is often stated that an address is attached to some 80% of records held by local and central government or private sector organizations.
- The corollary to our data request for a National Address Register is that its component parts should be treated as commercial assets by GeoPlace LLP and Royal Mail Ltd, priced at what the bodies regard that the market will bear and that the revenue should be used to cross-subsidize other loss making activities or to grow the production marketing and licensing parts of those organizations.
Please identify what opportunities would be available with an open national address register and which opportunities are not available under the current system
Target User Description – Community Fit
- Every government department, commercial enterprise and charity or social enterprise can take advantage of, and secure economies by access to, or use of, the National Address Register.
- Every motorist and every citizen needs to know the correct address or the location of an address almost every day.
- The emergency and security services are dependent on correct addressing for most of their activities.
- The financial services sector needs correct addressing as a critical part of verifying the identity of individuals and organizations.
- Many SMEs and larger companies will be able to build value added services on the back of an Open National Address Register. We believe, on the basis of the PAF Advisory Board’s paper on the economic value of PAF that these will grow the economy significantly and that that growth will generate government revenues orders of magnitude greater than the current modest revenue from address data
Please identify further user groups, businesses, sectors and organizations who would benefit from this release
Please identify where further case studies or quantifiable evidence to support the release of this dataset
Barriers for Release
- The decision to fund Ordnance Survey entirely out of data trading (now partially reversed through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement) made OS regard Address data as having a high capacity to generate revenue.
- Similarly when Parliament granted Royal Mail Ltd “ownership of the Postcode Address File for the time being”, commercial exploitation of PAF became a prime motivation. Royal Mail revenues from PAF have grown at least 8 fold since 1986 while it is not clear that costs should have grown similarly.
- An open National Address Register which is sustainably funded, potentially largely from land registration, planning and naming and numbering surcharges (which would be very modest compared to the full charge) would ensure that those who cause addresses to be allocated or changed would pay for the maintenance of the National Address Register, not those who need to use or verify addresses.
- Internet addressing works on this basis so that access to current databases of internet addresses is free, while registering those addresses has a modest charge. In an information based economy geographical/postal addressing is as critical as internet addressing and should not be subject to the friction, costs and inefficiencies that the current market in address data generates.
Please identify further barriers to releasing addressing data as open?
- We believe that address data generated out of an already funded Public Task should be released under the OGL and that the management of a central maintenance and dissemination hub should be a fee for service activity for which a contract would be awarded on a best value basis.
- We do not believe that there should be any payment for use or reuse of any data from the National Address Register which will generate significant savings in its operation as licensing, invoicing marketing and license compliance activities will no longer be necessary
- We believe that the decision on the future of an open National Address Register is the single most important measure of the Government’s commitment to an effective National Information Framework and to the role of open data in growing the economy and enhancing national economic efficiency