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United Kingdom-London: Data services
Contract award notice
Results of the procurement procedure
Section I: Contracting authority
Section II: Object
Public Sector Geospatial Agreement
The contracting authority has entered into an agreement with Royal Mail Group Ltd under which Royal Mail will continue to grant a licence to public sector bodies in England and Wales for the use of their intellectual property contained in their postcode address file (PAF), multiple residence (MR), and Not Yet Built (NYB) datasets. The terms of this licence cover the public sectors use of the Royal Mail’s intellectual property in products and solutions provided by Royal Mail solution providers and as such does not require public sector bodies to pay any royalties associated with the use of PAF, MR or NYB within the third party solutions or datasets. It is not a direct supply agreement and therefore does not make provision for Royal Mail to directly supply data to the public sector.
The PAF Public Sector Licence (PSL) was first entered into between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2014 and the Royal Mail Group Ltd. The PSL is a collective purchase by government, on behalf of the public sector in England and Wales, of a licence for Royal Mail’s intellectual property within the postcode address file that forms a critical part of a wide range of addressing datasets and solutions that are used across the public sector. Each of use of PAF therefore attracted a usage-based royalty payment to be made by the public sector body to Royal Mail through the solution provider.
The public sector’s use of addressing data that contains PAF IPR continues to grow and as such the PSL have been extended in 2017, 2018 and 2019 with the last extension due to end on the 31 March 2020. This procurement has therefore sought to extend the PSL for a further 3 years on the same terms as the original agreement to continue to enable the public sector’s use of address data.
Following requests from their solution providers and the public sector to further reduce the administrative burden on the market Cabinet Office and Royal Mail has agreed to extend the PSL to also include Royal Mail’s Multiple Residence and Not Yet Built datasets within the licence. As with PAF these additional datasets are included on a use licence only basis and doesn’t cover any supply of the data whether directly from Royal Mail or from the wider solution provider market.
Section IV: Procedure
The extension to the PAF PSL has been awarded to Royal Mail Group in accordance with Regulation 32(2)(b)(ii) and Regulation 32(2)(b)(iii) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 because Royal Mail group is the sole provider of the licence for the IPR due to both technical reasons associated with the obligations placed on them under their Universal Service Obligations under the Postal Services Act 2000 and also due to their exclusive ownership of the IPR in the dataset.
PAF® is a complete UK address database containing c.29 m business and residential postal addresses and 1.9 m postcodes. Each address record comprises a significant number of data elements including a building number, thoroughfare, post town and postcode. In its simplest form, PAF is the data describing each postal delivery point in the UK and is the basis on which the public recognises and understands addressing. Consequently it is the address that they give when calling the emergency services, accessing public services, getting insurance, as well as having goods delivered. As such PAF forms a key component of the nearly all of the address datasets and solutions used across the public sector.
Royal Mail owns the Intellectual Property Rights within the PAF and maintains the dataset them by licensing their use. As such there is no alternative source of the data. Given this and the importance of the data, Ofcom regulate PAF under section 116 of the Postal Services Act 2000. This means Royal Mail is required to maintain and provide PAF on fair and consistent terms to all which they do through a charged for licensing framework. Ofcom, through their role as regulator. The Address Management Unit which licences PAF is a ring-fenced unit within Royal Mail and has the responsibility of meeting the regulatory requirements.
Section V: Award of contract
Section VI: Complementary information