Hancock backs open address register

Moves to create a new open register of property addresses has the ability to improve public services, according to Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock.

Earlier this year, chancellor George Osborne promised to spend £5 million to build an open address register of all 29 million UK postal addresses and 1.8 million postcodes.

The move came after the government lost control of the existing Postcode Address File system after it sold of Royal Mail in 2013.

Speaking this week, Hancock said: “Addresses are a fundamental part of all our lives and the bedrock of our nation’s data infrastructure. They are also an old data system and digital technology has long since moved on.

“I want to revolutionise how we use addresses: we cannot rely on systems developed in a different era which make address data difficult to use and reuse.

“The UK is leading on data, and now is the time to ensure we have precise and accurate addresses for companies, buildings and houses. This is good for business, government and the public.”

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Geoplace, a separate organisation set up in 2010 currently maintains a national database of addresses.

Geoplace produces spatial address products with added grid reference coordinates that include data from Local Government, Ordnance Survey and the Postcode Address File.

The government is now investing £5m to explore options for an open address register and the ways in which businesses and the public can use the data to precisely pinpoint an address.
Hancock was speaking at the annual Geoplace conference.

Colin Marrs

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