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Organisation Information on PAF

Listed in PAF are names of companies, organisations and departments. This organisation information can be useful and appropriate for specific use cases

Updated 3 Jun 2020

Royal Mail's PAF lists organisations that are present at an address, providing information such as the name, department name and organisational specifics about the delivery point.

Before asking what kind of organisation data you wish to search for, it is helpful to disambiguate whether you are searching for:

  • Physical branches associated with an organisation (e.g. McDonald's)
  • The legal registered or correspondence address of an organisation or company (e.g. McDonald's Associates London Limited)

Organisation Data on PAF

In order for an organisation to be listed on the PAF, it must inform Royal Mail of its presence. Royal Mail will subsequently verify the presence of that organisation and may subsequently insert into an organisation record for that address.

For larger organisations, an premise may receive a postcode for itself. In these instances, it's designated as a "Large User".

Limitations

Updates to whether an organisation occupies a premise are not actively managed by Royal Mail. Royal Mail relies on the public and business operators to report these changes.

If not reported, it is possible for:

  • An organisation, which has since moved on, to be at a premise
  • A new organisation to not appear on PAF

PAF is not a good resource for finding the registered address of an organisation. Instead you should use Companies House dataset.

When to use Companies House Data

The dataset from Companies House bears the following advantages:

  • Free, liberally licensed dataset
  • Enumerates the correspondence and business addresses of an organisation
  • These must be kept up-to-date by UK law
  • Ideal for identifying the legal presence of a company

Disadvantages of Companies House Data

  • As premises are self-identified, it can contain errors, typos or other misrepresentations of the correct address
  • It will not list organisation branches. For sprawling organisations, a list of branches is more likely to be found on PAF

Organisation Specific Datapoints

The Postcode Address File contains 4 datapoints pertaining to organisational information.

Organisation Name

Simply the name of the organisation. E.g. "University College London"

Department Name

Any applicable department name registered at that address. E.g. "Language Sciences"

Postcode Type

  • This indicates the type of user. It can only take the values "S" or "L" indicating small or large respectively.
  • Large User Postcodes. These are assigned to one single address either due to the large volume of mail received at that address, or because a PO Box or Selectapost service has been set up.
    • No private residences would be classified as Large User.
    • Large Users occupy the entire postcodes (i.e. no other organisations are present).
  • Small User Postcodes. These identify a group of Delivery Points. On average there are 15 Delivery Points per Postcode. However this can vary between 1 and, in some cases, 100. There will never be more than 100 Delivery Points on a Postcode.
  • Labelled as postcode_type

Small User Organisation Indicator

  • Small User Organisation Indicator can have the values "Y" or space.
  • A value of "Y" indicates that a Small User Organisation is present at this address.
  • Labelled su_organisation_indicator

Important Patterns

  • Non-Small User Organisations premises with Small Postcode Type will not have an organisation or department name
  • A premise cannot be both Small User Organisation and Large Postcode Type
  • All PO Boxes are Large Postcode Type

Identifying a Commercial Premise

A commercial premise can be identified as having a Small User Organiation Indicator value of Y or Postcode Type of L.

Identifying a Residential Premise

A residential premise will have an empty Small User Organisation Indicator value and Postcode Type of S.

Querying for Organisational Attributes

It is possible to query for a particular postcode_type or su_organisation_indicator by attaching them as filters to a request.

Filtering for postcode_type

Append postcode_type= to your request

https://api.ideal-postcodes.co.uk/v1/addresses?api_key=iddqd&q=10&postcode_type=L

Filtering for su_organisation_indicator

Append su_organisation_indicator= to your request

https://api.ideal-postcodes.co.uk/v1/addresses?api_key=iddqd&q=10&su_organisation_indicator=Y