Parliamentary papers guidance

This guidance will help you to understand the process of producing parliamentary papers, including Command, House of Commons and un-numbered Act papers.

It explains the distinctions between the different types of papers, their significance in the parliamentary process and where to go for further advice and support.


'Parliamentary papers' is a term used to describe documents laid before Parliament.

Should a document be a Command Paper? The National Archives strongly advises that government organisations consider the Command Paper criteria at an early stage.

Government organisations should consult any in-house publishing guidance and/or information provided by their parent department.

Once there is agreement to publish a parliamentary paper, keep everyone involved informed of progress or any potential issues.

Copyright applies to parliamentary papers and must be indicated on a paper's title verso page (page 2).

Generally government organisations' annual reports and accounts are published as House of Commons (HC) or un-numbered Act Papers.

The National Archives is responsible for ensuring that services to produce documents for publication are available to government organisations.

If an error or omission is noticed after a Command Paper has been laid, government organisations need to contact The National Archives and the PVP contractor as a matter of urgency.

To consolidate and share knowledge of producing parliamentary papers once a paper has been published, government organisations should review how the paper was produced.