Postcodes, PAF and Pseudonymisation

Filed under: Assets,Innovation — lenand @ 7:56 am
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Toby Stephens provided the headline in his blog on Computer Weekly.  His scheme for personalising postcodes could have traction – although £33m per annum income might be ambitious and may not include the admin costs.

As he says:

“PAF is already a tightly-regulated product, with strict controls imposed on Royal Mail’s access fees. Postcodes were originally introduced by Royal Mail to facilitate automated sorting of deliveries, back in the days before computers were available to support that process. They’re now used for a whole host of purposes, from insurance and credit rating, through to navigation and lotteries.”

Quarkside adds that Postcodes only give a postman’s walk, and additional information from the address is needed to find the right letter box. Postcodes are not Unique Identifiers for properties.  Properties are uniquely identified by a Local Government controlled Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN).  Personalising this 12 digit code is potentially more practical.  The UPRN is presumably free, open data.  The Royal Mail could use it to minimise final local delivery errors via their own data processing systems.

As an aside, it is Local Authorities that are the official registrar of addresses – not the Royal Mail or Post Office.  It is part of the UK taxation system and includes properties that do not receive any post.  Try sending a letter to an electricity transformer.  To get a bit more income, perhaps Local Authorities should start charging the privatised Royal Mail for the copyright of property addresses!

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