Postcode Address File


Postcode Address File

The Postcode Address File (PAF) is a data file available from Royal Mail.

Every house and business in the United Kingdom has been given a postal address by Royal Mail. This address is used as a routing instruction by Royal Mail staff to sort and deliver mail quickly and accurately. However, it is not always a geographically accurate description of where a property is located. [http://www.postcomm.gov.uk/policy-and-consultations/consultations/postcode-address-file--changing-postal-addresses/PAFCodeofPracticeReviewFinalDoc.pdf]

The PAF is a complete collection of over 28 million Royal Mail postal addresses and UK postcodes. It is available in a variety of formats including Digital Audio Tape and compact disc. A charge is made for lookup services or wholesale supply of PAF data.

tructure of the file

Application

Alias data

The Alias File is a supplementary file containing additional data, including details that have changed over time, or have been slightly amended by the public, and then used. This file is used to identify these elements and cross-reference with the official postal address.

The Alias File holds four types of record: Locality, Thoroughfare, Delivery Point Alias, and County Alias:

*The Locality record - holds short forms, local names, and 'postally-not-required' (PNRL) details.
*The Thoroughfare record - contains replacement street and road names for a given locality, thoroughfare or dependent thoroughfare combination.
*The Delivery Point Alias record - holds additional information at given addresses, such as trading names and building names.
*The County record - holds traditional, administrative and postal county information.

Royal Mail, in their guide to the data products ( [ftp://ftp.royalmail.com/Downloads/public/ctf/rm/PAF_Digest_Dec_03.pdf PAF Digest] , p12) imply that the county alias information was provided when Royal Mail removed the former postal county from the main file.

Errors

Royal Mail acknowledges that the PAF contains errors, and publishes forms for submitting error reports. A very small number of addresses are not listed correctly, and others (especially new developments) may not be listed at all for a period of time.

External links

* [http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/jump2?mediaId=400085&catId=5200019 PAF from Royal Mail]
* [ftp://ftp.royalmail.com/Downloads/public/cmwalk/doc/active/doc21800003/PAF_Digest_Dec_03.pdf Why, What and How. The guide to using the PAF file] - A document that explains the PAF file in some detail.
* [http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/jump2?mediaId=400086&catId=5200003 Alias File from Royal Mail]


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