- Official publishing
- Parliamentary papers guidance
- Publishing guidance
- Copyright statements
- The Gazette
- Supplying publications to MEPs
- Public Library Access Scheme
- Records selection and transfer process
- Information Management Assessment programme
- Crown and Parliamentary copyright
- Digital Continuity Service
How a parliamentary paper is produced
Government organisations should consult any in-house publishing guidance and/or information provided by their parent department.
Some papers are relatively complex, such as annual report and accounts, and statutory inquiry reports, where additional guidance applies. It may also be necessary to factor in an organisation's own procedures and where responsibilities sit within different teams.
In general it is best to start planning and liaising with colleagues and potential suppliers as early as possible.
Click on the image to the right to see key organisations and relationships.
Who to consult
In addition to those responsible for drafting the paper, you might need input from other teams within and outside a government organisation.
Within an organisation, you may need to consult parliamentary, communications and/or publishing teams to confirm that a paper is being produced and the expected date of publication, as well as discussing any media publicity or digital engagement that may support the paper. You may also need to seek external advice from a number of organisations.
- Who Area of advice Contact details
- Government organisations
The National Archives
Command Paper numbers and requirements
Publishing advice including the use of appropriate copyright and re-use statements
020 8392 5218
- Cabinet Office Information on making web PDFs usable and accessible digitalstandards.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/making-pdf-files-usable-and-accessible/
- Cabinet Office Information on HM Government identity system and branding firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office of Disability Issues Information on making publications accessible for disabled people odi.dwp.gov.uk/
The publishing contractor (The Stationery Office Ltd)
Publishing services regardless of which suppliers are being used for production services (such as design, typesetting and/or print)
020 7394 4272
- Other suppliers Production services as necessary
- Parliamentary offices
House of Commons Paper numbers and requirements
Un-numbered Act Paper requirements
Advice on laying procedures
020 7219 3361/3252
- Vote Office Distributes print copies of papers to members of the House of Commons As part of its publishing service, the publishing contractor is responsible for liaising with the Vote and Printed Paper Offices on the number of print copies they require. Generally, it should not be necessary for organisations to contact these offices directly on parliamentary papers
- Printed Paper Office Distributes print copies of papers to members of the House of Lords As part of its publishing service, the publishing contractor is responsible for liaising with the Vote and Printed Paper Offices on the number of print copies they require. Generally, it should not be necessary for organisations to contact these offices directly on parliamentary papers
You may have to consult the following organisations for advice on publishing annual reports and accounts:
- parent department (relevant to arm's length bodies)
- HM Treasury
- National Audit Office
- audit and accountancy services suppliers
Controlling costs and schedulesThere are a number of steps that government organisations can take to keep down the production costs of parliamentary papers. Consider these if a paper is being produced to a very tight schedule:
- use monochrome (black and white) throughout which is cheaper and quicker than colour. Avoid grey tints and photos - in other words - keep any images such as graphs to black and white lines or dots so that the document can be printed on uncoated (cheaper) paper
- opt for colour only if colour images or graphics are necessary for understanding the content of the paper
If the paper is being typeset, avoid high correction charges by ensuring the text is as final as possible before it is sent to an external typesetter
- produce black and white documents in Word to remove the need for a typesetter. If you have the appropriate Adobe software, and the skill, produce web and print PDFs from the Word file. Or the contractor can produce them for you for a fee
- avoid trying to produce print PDFs directly from colour Word documents - have colour documents typeset. This ensures that colours, bleeds and so on are correctly specified for printing
- avoid solid opaque ink coverage over large areas. The print technology used for short print runs can result in the finish of printed documents being poor. Large areas of colour can also take longer to dry
- aim for extents fewer than 72 pages. Papers longer than 72 pages have additional binding requirements that increase cost and production time
- keep the number of print copies required as low as possible. Additional copies increase the overall cost and take longer to produce. After the document has been laid and published, email the paper's URL instead of posting printed copies to the stakeholders
Can a paper be online only?Command and HC Papers must be published in print and online. Most of the steps involved in producing a parliamentary paper should also apply if an organisation is producing an online-only document for its own website. The primary difference is that Command and HC Papers are formally published as a book would be, to certain standards, including online and print. It is not acceptable to provide Parliament with a small number of photocopies of a document.
Production and publishing flowchart and planning checklist
The National Archives and Department for Transport have produced a production and publishing flowchart. The flowchart provides a detailed breakdown of the steps involved in the production and publication of parliamentary papers, particularly Command Papers.
Not all documents or organisations will include all of the steps outlined here; for example not all papers will include third-party copyright photographs. In addition, some organisations' documents are produced in an in-house Word template which may mean that there is no need to purchase typesetting services (though there is still a need to supply a print and web accessible PDF to the publishing contractor).
The flowchart will assist those who have no or limited publishing experience and can help ensure that no important steps are missed.
In addition you might find our planning checklist useful. It lists points to consider and what you must do.
Parliamentary papers production flowchart (XLS, 0.00Mb)
This page contains XLS files. See plug-ins and file formats for help in accessing these file types.