This section explains in more detail the various stages and issues that you should consider.

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 

  • Crown Commercial Service

    Information on using the PVP contract and contract fees and charges Contact existing departmental Crown Commercial Service Print Category team contacts or email
  • Government Digital Service

    Manages GOV.UK 

    Information on making web PDFs usable and accessible

    Contact existing Government Digital Service contacts (which maybe through a parent department if applicable) or email
  • Cabinet Office

    Information on HM Government identity system and branding

  • Office of Disability Issues

    Information on making publications accessible for disabled people
  • Suppliers

  • PVP Contractor Command and House Papers Service Delivery Team

    Production services (print, creative and distribution)

    020 7394 4571

    Organisations should continue to liaise with their usual Command and House Papers contact on or contact their Williams Lea Account Manager

    Any initial queries about using the PVP contract and its charges and fees should be put to the Crown Commercial Service

  • Other suppliers

    Production services as necessary
  • Parliamentary offices

  • Journal Office

    House of Commons Paper numbers and requirements

    Un-numbered Act Paper requirements

    Advice on laying procedures

    020 7219 3361/3252

    Guidance on laying parliamentary papers

  • Vote Office

    Distributes print copies of papers to members of the House of Commons The PVP 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 The PVP 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 (generally central government departments and trading funds only)
  • National Audit Office
  • audit and accountancy services suppliers

Controlling costs and schedules

There 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. Avoid using text, images and tints that 'bleed' off the page, this will enable the document to be printed on less paper. 
  • opt for colour only if colour images or graphics are necessary for understanding the content of the paper
  • as far as the publication date allows, ensure the text is as final as possible before it is sent to an external typesetter (if it is being typeset), to avoid high correction charges
  • 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.
  • 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

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.

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, 0.10Mb)

This page contains XLS files. See plug-ins and file formats for help in accessing these file types.