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Agreement on acacia programme for a single national infrastructure of definitive addresses

Posted: 13 September 2002

Four Government Agencies, the Local Government Information House (LGIH) and Royal Mail are to work together to develop a single national infrastructure for Great Britain of definitive addresses and related property information and mapping to support thousands of key services from Government and business.

They have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding on a joint programme for this purpose, known as the Acacia programme.

The six member bodies participating in the programme are HM Land Registry, Registers of Scotland, the Local Government Information House, Ordnance Survey, Royal Mail and the Valuation Office Agency. In developing their plans and proposals, they have kept in close touch with the Cabinet Office, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Office of the e-Envoy, other central Departments and the Scottish Executive.

The programme will co-ordinate development and maintenance in the national interest and the interests of customers of definitive national databanks of addresses (including postal and other elements), streets, non-addressable properties and in due course property ownership and occupancy parcels and possibly other elements as well, together with the related definitive mapping, all linked together and held as a land and property layer within the framework of OS MasterMap (Ordnance Survey's new digital map database and online service), and all continuously updated and readily accessible to users.

The new single infrastructure is intended to facilitate major economies, efficiencies, convenience and service improvements in all the many public and business services which rely on definitive, up-to-date addresses, street names and other land and property information. Examples are the emergency services, services by the utilities, electronic conveyancing and online submission of planning applications. It is hoped that the new definitive list of national addresses, in particular, incorporating the data from the local authorities' National Land and Property Gazetteer, Royal Mail's Postal Addresses File and the Valuation Office Agency's Council Tax and Business Rates databanks, will replace the many thousands of separate address lists currently in use and will be used throughout the public services, utilities and private sector.

The aim is to link addresses, streets and other textual data from sources such as Local Government's National Land and Property Gazetteer and Royal Mail's Postal Addresses File with mapping and map reference data from Ordnance Survey so that each of these datasets will be fully consistent with, and readily accessed from, any other.

Welcoming the initiative, ODPM Minister Tony McNulty said:

"If we are to deliver more efficient e-Government services to the community, we need to have a national data infrastructure in place. I welcome the proposed co-ordinated approach to developing this infrastructure and look forward to early delivery of results."

Scottish Deputy First Minister and Minister of Justice Jim Wallace said:

"The linking of Government and other bodies' datasets within a common infrastructure based on a definitive list of national addresses has to be of major benefit to business and to the public"

The six Members have met so far as an informal Group chaired by Peter Collis, Chief Land Registrar for England and Wales. They have jointly commissioned work from consultants to assist them in developing plans and structures for the Programme and in evaluating existing datasets.

The Members now propose to set up a Programme Executive Board and Secretariat to ensure that the Programme is effectively co-ordinated and driven forward. The Members will all play a full part in the Programme, both at the development stage and in the ongoing procedures for updating and maintenance.

The Members and Secretariat propose to keep in close touch with the ODPM, other Government Departments and the Scottish Executive and with potential users including the geographic community.

Further Q and A briefing on the initiative is attached.

13 September 2002


Ordnance Survey Press Office: Telephone no: 023 8079 2265

HM Land Registry Press Office: Telephone no: 020 7917 5996

Local Government Information House: Telephone no: 020 7296 6529

Registers of Scotland Telephone no: 0131 200 3944


The text of the Memorandum of Understanding of 12 September 2002 on the Acacia Programme is annexed.

Electronic copies of the Memorandum and of this Press Notice and briefing can be obtained from the Press Offices listed above or accessed on the internet at the following addresses:


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