Developed originally by The Royal Mail to enhance and streamline postal
delivery, Postcodes and Postcode geography have evolved to form an
integral part of business planning as an established reference point
throughout the United Kingdom. The applications are infinite and
effectiveness relies on current Postcode boundaries data. At Map
Marketing, the digital print technology we use to produce our Postcode
maps ensures our products are kept right up to date with The Royal Mail
boundary release information.
Enhance Your Map With Postcode Information
For no extra charge, we can overlay Postcode Information at Area,
District or Sector level onto your map. For many customers this
invaluable extra dimension transforms a simple map into a crucial
planning tool helping them to plan everything from delivery runs to
sales territories more efficiently. (Examples: Bartholomew’s GB Routes
& Counties Base in colour, with Postcode District level information
overlaid and Bartholomew’s GB Routes & Counties Base in greyscale,
with Postcode Sector level information overlaid)
How Postcodes Work
The Postcode is a group of between 5 and 7 letters and numbers that
identify a group of houses or addresses. The Postcode has two parts, an
Outward and Inward code, separated by a space. Each full Postcode
contains an average of 15 delivery points and each postal delivery takes place in two stages.
When a letter is collected it is routed to a main sorting office
identified within the first part of the Postcode, the Outward Code. The
local sorting office uses the second part of the Postcode, the Inward
Code, to direct a letter right down to the individual Postman’s walk.
Postcodes operate at four levels. Take, for example, the Postcode SW6 3AZ
Level 1: Area
The country is divided
124 Areas denoted by the first two letters of the Outward half of the
Postcode. The average number of delivery points within each Area is 183,000.
Level 2: District
Each Area is subdivided into District
Postcodes. The District is denoted by the number or numbers that
complete the first half of the Postcode (or Outward Code). There are
just over 2,900 Postcode Districts, an average of 21 Districts within each Area, and the average number of delivery points within each
District is 8,200.
Level 3: Sector
Each District is further segmented down into Sectors (9,000 in total)
which are denoted by the first number of the second part of the
Postcode. This half of the Postcode is called the Inward Code.
Example: SW6 3
Level 4: Units (Not Illustrated)
The fourth and final level of the Postcode
pinpoints a group of houses or addresses. Some organisations are
allocated a unique Postcode to ensure the segregation of large
deliveries of mail to a single address. If an organisation receives, on
average, fifty or more items of mail a day, then a large user Postcode
may be allocated.
Why Postcodes Change
There are times when it becomes necessary for Royal Mail to make changes
to postal addresses on a large scale. There are a number of reasons
these changes are undertaken. For example, new building developments,
both residential and business (e.g. housing estates and business parks
within an already densely populated area), may lead to Postcode
exhaustion thereby leaving no free Postcodes to allocate. Because of the
geographical nature of the Postcode system it is necessary to consider
the wider area and allocate new Postcode segmentation.
Royal Mail is committed to a policy of no change wherever possible.
Postcode changes are only made if it results in a major benefit to the
service they provide and new Postcodes work in tandem with the old ones
for an overlapping 12-month period.
The Royal Mail announces changes to Postcodes approximately every six
months and these changes are notified to all customers in the affected
areas via their Postcode Update publications. If you would like to
receive notification of future Postcode changes then simply register for our free update service.
Royal Mail Postcode Update
Published every six months, the Update outlines in detail all the Postcode changes
the Royal Mail has introduced. You can review the current Postcode
Update along with those published during the past few years by going to
Royal Mail's website.
If you would like Map Marketing to advise you when new editions of Postcode Update are published then simply register your interest.
When Postcode Update is released (twice each year), we will e-mail you a
notification containing a hypertext link direct to the new Postcode
Update on the Royal Mail’s website.