Address Management in Great Britain

What you ought to know about maintaining your British addresses

Here you find useful information on maintenance, updating, cleansing and enrichment of British customer addresses.

Data Quality Solutions in Great Britain

Geographical and postal classification

The official long form of the state name is ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. The state consists of four sub-states: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The respective administrative structures are organised locally.

England is divided into nine regions, including Greater London. The eight regions outside Greater London are divided in various ways. To explain it briefly, there are 6 metropolitan counties, 27 non-metropolitan counties and 56 unitary authorities.

Wales is divided into 22 unitary authorities with various descriptions (cities, county boroughs and counties). Scotland consists of 32 unitary authorities, Northern Ireland has 26 areas, known as districts.

The United Kingdom is divided into 133 postcode areas, 12 of which refer to the British overseas territories or to the Channel Islands owned by the crown. These postal areas are characterised by a combination of letters, not by a sequence of numbers. This is followed by a further division into the so-called postcode districts.

Street Directory

Royal Mail’s postal address File (PAF) is the most common and complete street directory in Great Britain. Nearly all data service providers use this data e.g. when  providing a postal cleaning service.

Data ProtectionData Protection

Data protection is regulated by the 1998 “Data Protection Act”. The consumer must be informed about the collection and storage of the data. Usage of the data is illegal should the person receiving the advertising message have disagreed. The requester may demand a correction to or deletion of the data. The opt-out principle is generally used in Great Britain.

The EU commission has criticised Great Britain for not transposing the 1995 agreed EU data protection guidelines fully into law. This concerns in particular data protection guidelines on duty to inform, where it suffices to give corresponding information retrospectively.

Postal Service

State-owned Royal Mail is the largest postal service provider in the UK. It employs 130,000 permanent postal workers. Postcomm (Postal Services Commission, which was merged into the communications regulator Ofcom in 2011) has licensed about 20 other postal operators to transport or consolidate mail (i.e. acceptance and sorting letters, without the actual delivery), including DHL Global Mail UK.

Marketing Association

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) is the official British Direct Marketing Association in Great Britain. The DMA is well organised, represents primarily the interests of its members and organises events on various direct marketing topics.

The DMA also has its own no mail file.

Analysis / Test your British addresses

A test is available and recommended as the market is complex.

Check your addresses

Quick Info UK

  • Inhabitants: 62.3 million
    (world ranking 22 of 193)
  • Households: 24.5 million
  • Companies: 1.4 million
  • Cities > 100,000 inhabit.: 71
    (London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield …)
  • GDP per capita: $ 35,334 
    (world ranking 22)
  • Human Development Index:
    world ranking 26
  • Mailing Volume: very high
    (170 per head/year)
  • Mail Order Affinity: high
    (62% of the pop., Europe: 52%)

Any questions?Questions on addresses in the UK?