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Open data group puts its stamp on addressing issue

UKA - Postal addresses - created and owned by the public sector but not available for free reuse - are emerging as the test case of the government's commitment to open data. In its first significant action, the Open Data User Group (ODUG), set up by the Cabinet Office earlier this year to represent users of public sector data, is urging the government to strip Royal Mail of rights to the Postcode Address File (PAF).

With Royal Mail being groomed for privatisation next year, the call will attract high level political controversy.

ODUG says that addresses are so central to our lives that the generation and maintenance of a collection of individually addressed locations is essential to the efficient operation of modern society.

However it says that current arrangements for the National Address Gazetteer do not meet the criteria. Licensing is "complex and overpriced". It is particularly critical of the Royal Mail's custodianship of PAF. "The only reason ODUG can surmise that Royal Mail might wish to keep hold of the PAF would be a future intention to charge more for PAF licences. This option is not in the interests of our society."