- Official publishing
- Records selection and transfer process
- Information Management Assessment programme
- Crown and Parliamentary copyright
- Digital Continuity Service
The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes are the Official Journals of the United Kingdom, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They are published by a private company under the superintendence of Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
Re-tendering the Gazettes' contract in 2012
Early in 2012, Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO), part of The National Archives, is running a competition to award a new concessionary contract to deliver the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes. The Gazettes are government's official journals of record, used to publish 'statutory notices' - adverts that are required by law to be officially published. The service is predominantly delivered online, but has some print requirement.
Potential bidders will need the technical skills and innovation to deliver an authoritative, online public record, complete with digital audit trail and provenance. They will need expertise in maximising data re-use - data from the Gazettes is re-used across the UK to support the finance and insolvency industries, for example. They will need the ability to capture information from diverse sources, transform it and disseminate it online and in print. They will have the business skills and resources to develop existing and new markets, while expertly managing customer service and delivery.
In return, candidates will be given the opportunity to run and develop a truly ground-breaking statutory publishing service, with the potential for considerable growth.
This tender will be advertised in the OJEU (the Official Journal of the European Union) early in 2012. Interested suppliers can also email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Intellect Event Presentation 13 January 2012On 13 January 2012, Intellect (an organisation that represents ICT suppliers) held an event to promote the tendering opportunity for the Gazettes' contract, and to provide some background information. Speakers from The National Archives included Carol Tullo, Director of Information Policy and Services, and John Sheridan, Head of Legislation Services.
History of The London Gazette
The London Gazette (originally called The Oxford Gazette) is the world's oldest continuously published newspaper and is still published "with Authority", as it has been since it was established by Charles II whilst the Court (effectively the government of the time) was removed to Oxford during the Great Plague of 1665. Samuel Pepys even recorded the event in his diary and said that:
'This day the first of the 'Oxford Gazettes' came out, which is very pretty, full of news, and no folly in it-wrote by Williamson.'
When the Court returned to London the name was then changed to its current title.
Since the beginning The London Gazette has provided a mix of State intelligence, government notices and trade/business news. The earliest editions were full of the movements of ships and reports from the trade routes published alongside official notices about royal appointments and state visits. The start of the Great Fire of London was recorded on 2 September 1666.
As one of the few widely available publications, the Gazette was even used to distribute descriptions of highwaymen and stolen property. Circulation reached an early peak in 1683 with publication of the latest reports from the Austro-Turkish war that was having a devastating effect on the trade routes, with merchants eager to make alternative transit arrangements for their goods.
The London Gazette contains all official dispatches when Britain is at war. For example The London Gazette extraordinary published 22 June 1815 announced victory at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June. The declaration of War against Germany in 1939 was also recorded in The London Gazette.
The Gazettes today
Publication in the London Gazette has business and legal significance with the courts. It is published Monday to Friday.
The Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes fulfil similar functions in respect of Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Edinburgh Gazette is published on Tuesday and Friday and the Belfast Gazette every Friday.
The Gazette is of the utmost importance in a number of legal situations, with the court clock starting to tick only when the Gazette publishes an official announcement, and it is accepted as evidence in legal matters.
The Gazettes are the primary source of a wide range of official notices. These include:
- State (including Royal Household), Parliamentary and Ecclesiastical notices
- Implementation of Statutory Instruments
- Corporate and Personal insolvency notices, including petitions for winding-up of companies and notices relating to meetings of creditors
- Transport and planning notices
- Other public notices
- Trustee Act notices
In addition various supplements are published which include:
- The Queen's Birthday and New Year's Honours Lists
- Other honours and awards
- Details of Premium Bond prize draws
- Armed Forces Promotions and Re-gradings
- Companies information
All three Gazettes are, in addition to the printed edition, published on the internet. There are also individual websites for each Gazette. Each of the websites contains information about the placing of notices/advertisements in each of the Gazettes.
On behalf of HMSO, the publisher of the Gazettes is currently undertaking a major digitisation programme of the entire historical printed archive. The first phase, which is now available free online, covers all London Gazettes of the 20th Century including the war years (1914-1920 and 1939-1948) and all the 20th Century Honours and Awards. These can be searched on the London Gazette website.