Royal Mail

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 13th November 2015.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 12 October 2015 to Question 11315, whether local authorities (a) retain intellectual property rights over the postal addresses they have helped to create and (b) benefit financially from those rights from Royal Mail.

Photo of Nicholas Boles Nicholas Boles The Minister for Universities and Science, Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Jointly with the Department for Education)

Local Authorities have the responsibility for creating the official street naming and numbering under the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 and Public Health Act 1925. Royal Mail has the responsibility under its Universal Service obligations to create the postal address for each home and business in the UK. In creating the postal address Royal Mail utilises the official street name and number where appropriate and adds a number of additional address elements, including the postcode, which forms the basis of the Royal Mail distribution network. Royal Mail also pays Local Authorities £1 per new address that it receives from local authorities. Royal Mail compiles the list of postal addresses in to the Postcode Address File (PAF).

The intellectual property rights over the data contained in the PAF, which occurs once the data is in the PAF format, belongs to Royal Mail as owners and maintainers of the PAF.

In 2015, the public sector licence agreement was introduced which gives Local Authorities, Central Government, Emergency Services and Health, free access to the PAF.

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