About the Board

The PAF Advisory Board is intended to secure greater accountability to users and transparency in Royal Mail decisions about the PAF®. It is independent of Royal Mail and Ofcom. Through involvement with users of PAF at a senior level and encouragement to potential users, the board seeks to tender reliable and relevant advice to the Address Management Unit (AMU) to promote a wide use of the PAF, on a fair basis, and to the overall well-being of the UK.


  • To give independent advice to the Address Management Unit of Royal Mail on behalf of PAF users. In particular, concerning:
    • The terms and price of PAF licenses
    • Licensing procedures
    • Quality assurance of the PAF
    • Maintenance and supply of the PAF
    • Strategic technical development programmes for the PAF
    • Consultation procedures for material changes to the PAF and associated transitional arrangements
    • The establishment and maintenance of a level playing field between users
  • To provide a forum for PAF users to discuss PAF issues, its management and the ease of doing business with Royal Mail
  • To provide a channel of communication between the AMU and PAF users (seeking to present, where possible, a concerted user view of needs and to devise an escalation process for disputes with AMU).
  • To encourage the use of PAF and to promote data hygiene and good addressing
  • To review, at least annually, investment by Royal Mail in the PAF and, in particular, the development programme proposed by AMU
  • To consider PAF cost control, investment programmes and ROI
  • To consider the relationship between PAF and other postcode products such as Postzon and other address files

Key Result Areas

The success of the Advisory Board depends on the extent to which it can:

  • Attract members who are knowledgeable about, and representative of, the varied uses of PAF;
  • Take a broad view of PAF, acting on behalf of actual and potential PAF users generally and not restricted to the interests of members’ own organisations or industry segment;
  • Provide knowledgeable and practical advice about future directions for PAF;
  • Assist AMU in complying with section 116 of the Postal Services Act 2000, which requires Royal Mail to maintain PAF and make it available to any person who wishes to use it on reasonable terms;
  • Help improve the accuracy and relevance of the address file;
  • Command the respect of PAF stakeholders and commentators in general.

The Board will also have regard to the management of PAF so as not to present a barrier to the development of competition in the postal market and in such a way as to further the interests of postal users.


The composition of the Board must balance the cohesion and efficiency of a small membership against the need to be sufficiently representative of the variety of users of PAF. In consultation with Ofcom and the AMU, initial appointments are for two years as follows:

  • Ian Beesley – Chair
  • Charles Neilson, Whistl UK, representing the Mail Competition Forum
  • Stuart Watt, GBG plc
  • Paul Cresswell, Experian Data Services
  • Ian Paterson – Mail Competition Forum (postal operators)
  • Tim Drye – Direct Marketing Association, representing high volume end users
  • Paul Brough – Brough Consulting, representing the Mail Users Association
  • Nick Chapallaz, Geoplace LLP
  • Rob Parker, CACI
  • Neil Haydock, Metapack
  • Ron Wilkinson, Improvement Service, Scotland
  • Richard Hartland, Data8
  • Paul Roberts – Secretariat

Representatives of the Royal Mail Address Management Unit (AMU), Ofcom and other stakeholders may be invited to attend for specific items on the agenda.

Methods of Working

Meetings will normally be held on a fixed day every quarter and will usually take place on a rotation basis on the premises of the AMU, a board member’s organisation, or a suitable neutral venue. Video and/or audio conferencing may be used when required.

The Board will look to members to move beyond the short-term interests of the organisations from which they come to promote PAF and help the UK thrive and grow through encouraging PAF use.

The Secretary will compile a register of members’ interests

Board members shall declare an interest if their organisation is in negotiation with Royal Mail relevant to an item of the agenda.

Board members are expected to attend all meetings – substitutes will not normally be allowed.

Four Board members shall constitute a quorum.

The Board will usually hold at least one public meeting each year to which a wide range of those interested in the Postcode Address File will be invited.

The Board will operate openly with its papers and minutes normally available through a website clearly identified as that of the Advisory Board.

The Board may carry out research and publish reports. These and such technical issues as seem appropriate will normally be carried out by working groups under the chairmanship of a Board member, but not necessarily exclusively comprised of Board members. The Board as a whole shall, however, approve all publication of reports in its name.

The Board may respond to specific public concerns about the PAF, normally on the basis of written correspondence from members of the public.

The Chairman shall normally act as the spokesperson of the Board.


The Board Members are representing various sections of PAF usage.