Trading funds such as OS and the Met Office are charged with using their data to generate revenue, but Russell – whose organisation oversees both bodies – told CSW that “there is more to be done in terms of open data” in those organisations. Trading funds’ support for open data is “a point of continual challenge and debate, and I think we’re going to see further progress on that,” he added.
However, Russell defended his organisation’s decision to allow Royal Mail to retain ownership of its postcode database (PAF) in the event of privatisation. “It was seen to be integral to the job of Royal Mail,” he said. “They are the best people to keep the PAF up to date”.
Nonetheless, he said, Royal Mail aims to broaden access to the database. Last month, Royal Mail offered small charities and micro-businesses free access for one year, and increased the number of free address checks that an individual can perform on Royal Mail’s website.
See also: CSW's full interview with Mark Russell