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Paper 6 - 28 January 2000 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

28 January 2000

COMPUTERISED ADDRESS SYSTEMS

Report by the Chief Executive, Hampshire County Council

RECOMMENDATION

That the County Council representations aimed at strengthening community identity be supported.

SUMMARY

The County Council is making representations to the Royal Mail and the Local Government Association to press for village and county names to be included in computerised address systems. The County Council seeks parish council and district council support.

BACKGROUND

1. The following motion moved by Councillor Mrs Bailey was referred to the Policy and Resources Committee by the County Council on 16 September 1999:

"Hampshire County Council views with concern the loss of village and county names from computerised address systems, used by postal and other authorities, which rely on the use of postcodes. The County Council supports the efforts of the Hampshire Federation of Women's Institutes to have both village and county names included in addresses and requests the Local Government Association to pursue the matter, as apart from the loss of identity, there may be delays if emergency (999) calls are directed to the wrong place. For example, if people in the east of Hampshire with a GU postcode are put through to Surrey emergency services and the call has then to be re-routed".

THE ISSUE

2. One of the difficulties in respect of defining standard address structures is that addresses themselves are used for more than one purpose.

3. The Royal Mail has an address model that it uses for the purposes of postal delivery. This allows for the inclusion of locality names such as villages. However, it also embodies and 'postal county' name. The areas of 'postal counties' are not coterminous with those of administrative counties. For example there are parts of the administrative county of Hampshire which fall within the postal county of Surrey. The postal address model reflects the operational requirements of Royal Mail, both in terms of the delivery infrastructure within each postcode defined delivery area, and of the sorting and transport arrangements to get mail to that area. Changing delivery structures is expensive and liable to damage service both in the change-over period and sometime after.

4. a British Standard (BS 7666) address model has also been defined. This model is intended to facilitate the exchange of address-based data and allow the addition of other data related to it. The standard also includes a street gazetteer that has already been completed by the County Surveyor; a land and property gazetteer and one for public rights of way which is still in the course of preparation. The British Standard address model provides for the inclusion of village names as a 'locality' and the administrative county name.

5. In terms of the potential misdirection of emergency service calls, all Police and Fire and Rescue Services are supplied, under the terms of a Service Level Agreement, with an Ordnance Survey product known as 'AddressPoint'. This product includes a record for every addressable property, each record including the relevant postcode and the related national grid reference. When used in association with appropriate software an operator receiving an emergency call is able precisely to locate geographically any postcoded property and thus determine responsibilities for responding to it. There is a separate Ordnance Survey Service Level Agreement that individual Ambulance Trusts can, if they wish, sign up to.

6. However, a matter of concern is the ability of systems to cope with street names which have been used in more than one place and, on an address, are not accompanied by the name of the town or village. This can result in misunderstandings and delay and does erode local identity and community pride. The County Council is committed to developing strong communities and it is considered that the Local Government Association (LGA) should be encouraged strongly to press for village and county names to be an integral part of computerised address systems.

ACTION TAKEN

7. The County Council considered the matter at its last meeting and resolved as follows:-

(1) That representations be made to the Local Government Association to press for village and county names to be included in computerised address systems which rely on post codes in order to encourage and maintain community identity and unity.

(2) That the County Council makes representations direct to the Royal Mail that it should adjust its own organisation and distribution arrangements so as to recognise loyalties.

(3) That action to achieve these objectives also be pursued in consultation with parish councils, district councils and the Post Office Users National Council.

(4) That the Head of IT Services be asked to investigate the implications of the possible adaptation by the County Council of the BS7888 Computerised Address Standard which makes provision for the inclusion of locality names, including villages and the name of the geographic county of Hampshire.

8. A response from the Post Office is attached.

PETER ROBERTSON
Chief Executive, Hampshire County Council

Date: 14 January 2000
Annex: 1
Contact: Len Ruffell - (01962) 847330

NOTE: Copy of annex available on request

Last update: 25/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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