Nearly every public sector organisation in England and Wales can become a member of the PSMA and experience the benefits of using Ordnance Survey digital map products. This includes all local authorities, central government departments and many health organisations.
Membership is available to:
a) Those bodies that fall within the definition of ‘contracting authority’ in Regulation 3 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 for England and Wales.
Note: ‘Schedule 1 GPA Annex 1 - Contracting Authorities’ gives a more detailed list, including the scope that where an entity listed the Schedule is succeeded by another entity, which is itself a contracting authority and also meets the PSMA eligibility criteria, the successor entity shall be deemed to be included in that Schedule.
In addition, for those not specifically named in the regulation, there are other public organisations that could meet the criteria.
For example, where an application is reviewed, if they are not one of the above organisations, of one of the most common areas looked at is limb (w) of Regulation 3.
This defines a group of characteristics that could make the applicant an eligible body where the organisation is:
- a corporation established, or a group of individuals appointed to act together, for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character, and —
(i) financed wholly or mainly by another contracting authority;
(ii) subject to management supervision by another contracting authority; or
(iii) more than half of the board of directors or members of which, or, in the case of a group of individuals, more than half of those individuals, are appointed by another contracting authority
In these circumstances, the applicant would be asked to provide documentary evidence of how:
- the criteria are met
- their activities meet the ‘Core Business’ definition contained in the PSMA Member Licence (that is “any public sector activity in central and local government and health services, excluding the defined Commercial Activities and/or Competing Activities”
b) Where deemed appropriate, certain other bodies (as agreed between BIS and Ordnance Survey).
Under this heading, it has been agreed that:
- the contributing members of the UK Search and Rescue (UK SAR) have been able to join the PSMA, please see this information
but, the following bodies are not eligible to join the PSMA:
- Those whose remit is mainly in Scotland (and are therefore covered by other arrangements)
- Any public or private limited company (including whether limited by shares or guarantee), unless Ordnance Survey and BIS have agreed otherwise
- Housing associations
- Social enterprises
- Community interest companies
- Schools (whether state, public, free, academy, independent or private)
Note: although these organisations are not eligible, they can still get access to information from members. For more information see the Public Sector Licensing Guidance.