On the 2nd of April 2020, the Government announced that the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) will be released under Open Government Licence. Additionally, the Open Standards Board, via Government Digital Service (GDS), has mandated that from 1st July 2020, the UPRN and USRN are the public sector standard for referencing and sharing property and street information.
Read the GDS blog on the announcement.
"The availability of the UPRN and USRN as Open Data, and the approval as Open Standards by the Standards Board, represents a step change in the referencing of property and street information and supports GeoPlace’s vision where ‘everyone benefits from the power of location data’. The adoption of these identifiers across the public sector provides a platform for transformation and efficiency through the way location data is managed, linked, shared and used."
Steve Brandwood – Executive Director of Engagement at GeoPlace
- See the April 2020 announcements here
- Read our guide: Central Government mandates the use of the UPRN and USRN to reference addresses and streets
Access free address data using AddressBase
On 28th July 2021, the Central Digital & Data Office (part of the Cabinet Office) issued new guidance to comply with the UPRN standard. It states that if you work in the public sector and you need to use address data, such as property and street information, then you should follow this guidance.
You must use the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) standard when identifying places in the UK. This allows users to easily cross-reference between different data sets and reduces errors in data exchange and communication. Every addressable location in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales and excluding Northern Ireland) has a UPRN, and using this standard can save money, time, resources and lives.
Publish reference data for use across government
Additionally, on 11th March 2021, the Government Digital Service provided best practice guidance for creating a strategy to manage and support reference data for publishing. The guidance is aimed at government employees who need to publish reference data so others can use it across government.
The guidance specifically highlights the use of UPRNs. Follow this external link to view the new guidance on the Central Digital and Data Office website.
Make better use of data
The Central Digital and Data Office has published guidance on using data more effectively by improving your technology, infrastructure and processes. They have outlined how making better use of data will help government guidelines, highlighting the Identifying property and street information UPRN/USRN data standard:
- Reducing the risk of error and fraud, such as using standard identifiers for properties and streets to catch invalid addresses
Joined up data in government: the future of data linking methods
Data linkage provides insight, informs policy change and helps answer society’s most important questions through increasing the utility of data. See this review published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 16th July 2021 on improving work in data linkage across government.