On Monday, a new postcode system for Ireland will be launched. After years of planning, Eircode will come into being. Despite this several stakeholders are less than impressed with the kind of postcode we have adopted. Our reporter Brian O’Connell has been looking at the issue and joined Sean this morning.
Q&A with Eircode
Can you explain why the decision was taken to have a code that is not sequenced? In that it appears to me buildings adjacent bear no link to each other in the database. Why did we decide to go with this kind of system when the likes of freight operators for example are against it?
The fact that Eircodes are not sequenced with those of adjacent buildings brings no disadvantages to users. This is because each Eircode comes with co-ordinates, which means any series of Eircodes can be put in sequence for delivery or other purposes using basic software. See slide 6 in the attached presentation for more information.
From a citizens’ point of view, the most important thing is that the Eircode is easy to remember.
A sequenced code would require thousands of individual postcodes to be re-assigned every time a new premises was built between existing buildings. Aside from the administrative costs this would entail, it would mean an individual citizen’s post code could change frequently, making it difficult to remember the correct, current, code. It would also put additional costs on businesses, who would have to change stationary and other printed materials each time the code changed to maintain the sequence.
It is inaccurate to say that all freight operators are “against it.” For example Nightline, which is the biggest delivery company in Ireland, fully supports Eircode and says it will be using the system shortly after launch.
Gary Delaney from the company Loc8 proposed an alternative form of postcode, more in keeping he says with the way postcodes have evolved internationally. Why is it his system was not adopted?
Loc8 did not bid for the contract, either on its own or as part of a consortium.
As is required for all Government procurement, there was a comprehensive procurement process for a 10 year licence to provide the postcode system. This covered design, encoding of public sector databases, implementation, and the on-going operation and management of the system for ten years. This process was carried out in accordance with national and EU procurement procedures.
Can you explain maybe in a paragraph who exactly Eircode will benefit, and what the actual need for it is? How will it impact on people's day to day lives.
Eircodes will bring many benefits to citizens, communities and business. For example:
- It will be easier to accurately identify addresses, including the 35% of Irish premises that currently share their address with one or more others.
- It will be easier to shop online.
- Businesses that deliver parcels – or other goods and services – will have an affordable and effective new tool, which accurately identifies addresses and enables improved efficiency.
- A wide range of public services will be delivered more efficiently improving quality and planning, while reducing costs.
- Emergency services will be able to find the correct address more quickly, particularly in rural areas.
- On costs, is the total amount spent €27 million? Of this how much was spent on the actual code? I understand it may have been €2 million. Can you confirm what that amount is?
The total cost of €27m covers the various elements of design (including coding), encoding of public sector databases, and the implementation and on-going management of the operation of Eircodes. The costs associated with the design and verification of the code itself are included in the design element, which amounts to 9% of the total cost. The largest element of the costs were encoding public service databases and accessing the GeoDirectory database, which is owned by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland.
What happens if county or city councils decide not to adopt Eircode?
It is not mandatory for any individual or organisation to use Eircodes. As is common across the OECD, we expect it to be widely used because of the benefits it will bring (see above). This point also applies to City/Councils.
The Department has worked closely with a wide range of public service organisations, including the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). Local authority electoral registers and rates files have been updated with Eircodes.