The strange case of S65 1YT

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Earlier this week I received an email about the map of the S65 1YT postcode. I was showing the location as Dinnington but apparently the postcode was actually located in Rotherham. I get these kind of emails fairly regularly and generally the problem is caused by a new postcode having duff data due to some kind of cock-up when it was created. But this postcode had been around since 1995, so something else was wrong here.

The first port of call was the Royal Mail's Postcode Finder. Searching for the postcode there brought up an address of the Halifax in Rotherham but looking at the map showed the location in Dinnington. Doing the same on Google Maps brought up Dinnington. Going into Street View, the Dinnington address was a residential street, there was definitely no Halifax there (unless they've started operating out of someone's house). The street names were the same so at this point I'm fairly convinced there's a problem with the source data and the address is correct but the location was wrong. Looking at other postcodes in S65 made me even more convinced the location is wrong, this one postcode sits miles away from other S65 postcodes.

So I fixed the location on my website. Unfortunately this doesn't fix a lot of the related data for the postcode and will also get wiped out when I upload the next version of the ONS Postcode Directory (which should have been released in May)

Next I decided to report the problem to Royal Mail. When I received a response, I was a bit surprised to read "I’m sorry, we don’t plot properties and postcodes on any maps" and "The map embedded into the Royal Mail website is a third party controlled service and we do not have any control or contact information I’m afraid". They literally plot postcodes on maps on their Postcode Finder page. The second point is accurate, if a little bewildering. The maps are provided by woosmaps and after a bit of searching I discovered their postcode lookups are provided by postcodeanywhere, which seems to be part of Loqate. It's a bit odd that the Royal Mail, provider of postcode data in the UK, are outsourcing their postcode lookup needs to a company who will be sourcing their data from the Royal Mail and then blaming any problems on the anonymous third party. 

I'm awaiting a response to my follow up questions. It would be nice to get the location for this postcode fixed 28 years after it was introduced

Update - I received another response from the Royal Mail, mostly repeating what they had already said, but adding

"The Postcode S65 1YT was made live on the database in February 2023 and once an address is made live on PAF the address can be seen on our postcodes on-line service at within 24-48 hours.  However, that information can take several months to filter through to end users of Postcode Address File data.  This will happen as external companies update their own databases and mapping systems with the latest Address Management Products over which we have no jurisdiction."

They seem to have completely missed the point that what is on the Royal Mail website is exactly what I'm seeing on my website. I don't have a lot going on so maybe I'll follow up and see if I get a more sensible response.


Tagged: Postcodes