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National Statistics Postcode Products

The ONS Postcode Directory

The ONS Postcode Directory (ONSPD), formerly known as the NSPD, is a key ONS Geography product and is used by a variety of customers, including central and local government, private industry and academia.

It links all current and terminated UK postcodes to the administrative, health and other geographic areas in which the postcodes fall.

Users should note that postcodes which straddle two geographic areas will be assigned to the area where the mean grid reference of all the addresses within the postcode falls.

The ONSPD is a Gridlink® branded product which pulls together data from members of the Gridlink® Consortium (Royal Mail, Ordnance Survey, General Register Office for Scotland, Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland and ONS).

The NSPL should be used by producers of National Statistics to allocate their source statistics at postcode level to a wide range of higher geographies.

The NSPL does this by allocating UK postcodes to Output Areas (OAs). These OAs are then referenced to a wide range of higher geographies, for example local authorities, by a best-fit methodology that uses 2001 Census population data.

The methodology used within the NSPL to allocate postcodes to higher geographies is different from that used in the ONS Postcode Directory.

A list of the fields that comprise each version is included in the Postcode Products Order Forms, available from the Downloads section.

Information on the latest postcode changes is available on the Royal Mail website.

Product details

Postcode products are released quarterly in February, May, August and November.

ONSPD products are supplied with various elements of the Postcode Address File (PAF) data depending on whether Full or Part PAF options are required.

Additionally, an ‘Open’ version, containing no PAF elements (and not attracting Royal Mail royalties) is also available.

The NSPL is supplied without PAF data.

ONSPD Open samples are also available to download. These are taken from February 2011 and are for viewing only.

The postcode products are provided in all the following formats: MS ACCESS, DBF, TXT, and CSV and are supplied zipped on CD-ROM (containing all formats) or unzipped on DVD-ROM (containing all formats).

Version Notes and a User Guide, providing additional information about the products, are included with the data and are available to download.

Availability and cost

The PAF versions of the postcode products are available either for the whole of the UK, for individual countries or individual Government Office Regions (GORs) with grid references at 1 metre resolution.

The ‘ONSPD Open’ and the NSPL versions, also at 1 metre resolution, are available for the UK only.  All versions can be ordered by completing the appropriate order form and returning to ONS Geography by email.

Details of applicable charges are available to download.

Academia

The postcode products are available to download free of charge for academic users who have completed the Athens registration process.

Registration is only available to those carrying out academic work in UK Higher and Further Education, and some Research Council staff.

Postcode products can be accessed via UKBORDERS on the University of Edinburgh website.

Details of Royal Mail terms and conditions applicable to the PAF versions are available by contacting ONS Geography.

For other use of the ONSPD data, for example website or commercial re-distribution please contact us.

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