How to correct a paper

Errors in parliamentary papers are rare but there are services available to help correct a document appropriately.

If an error or omission is noticed after a parliamentary paper has been laid, government organisations need to contact the Journal Office and the PVP contractor as a matter of urgency.

Organisations with parent departments must also inform their parent departments of errors or omissions contained within laid documents. As a published paper must be the same as its laid version, organisations must not amend the online version without publishing a correction slip.

An amendment can be included in several ways, depending on the change required:

  • ‘stickering’
  • a correction slip (sometimes known as an erratum slip)
  • withdrawing and re-laying the paper

Any of these options may involve additional cost. Where possible, to minimise the cost, corrections should be dealt with before print copies are despatched to Parliament or stakeholders.

Stickering

‘Stickering’ can take place if the Journal Office notices a minor error while a paper is being laid.

If this is the case, the print copies (including the laid copies and those to be distributed on publication, where not already despatched from the contractor) should have a sticker with the correct text placed over the erroneous text.

The online versions of the document including web-optimised PDFs and print-ready PDFs should also be corrected before publication.

Correction slips

Use correction slips where an error or omission is noticed after laying has taken place and print copies have been despatched. In these circumstances the government organisation must issue a correction slip to Parliament, stating what is corrected, and provide certain other information about the publication. Correction slips are usually used to correct typographical errors rather than factual inaccuracies.

To ensure correction slips include the relevant publishing information, The National Archives provides correction slip templates for House of Commons and Command Papers ready for organisations to complete. Examples of filled out correction slips are also available. Blank templates can also be obtained from the PVP contractor. Organisations must obtain Journal Office approval before correction slips are distributed in print or online.

Organisations must also ensure that the correction slip is uploaded where the paper is published online, including GOV.UK. We recommend that organisations embed correction slips in papers’ web and print PDFs to ensure that the corrected information is not missed by users. Organisations will also need to indicate that the content of the PDFs has been updated through the ‘public change note’ on the document’s page GOV.UK.

Organisations must also distribute printed correction slips to the legal deposit libraries, and Parliament. The PVP contractor provides services to government organisations to ensure that this distribution takes place. Organisations should also ensure that correction slips are sent to stakeholders provided previously with print copies to ensure clarity on the document’s final content.

House of Commons Paper correction slip template (DOC, 0.02 MB)

Command Paper correction slip template (DOC, 0.02 MB)

Examples of completed correction slips (PDF, 0.08 MB)

Withdrawing and re-laying a paper

If the error or omission is significant, it may be necessary to withdraw and re-lay a new version of the paper.

If you are withdrawing a paper seek advice from their departmental parliamentary unit and from the Journal Office.

Costs to correct a paper

If the error is the fault of the government organisation, it will be liable for any additional costs involved. If the error is the fault of a supplier then it will be liable for the costs involved.

It is the responsibility of the authoring organisation to check the final proof of a paper and approve it for laying and publication.