Departmental publications are not produced as part of the parliamentary process but are generated by government department day to day business.
Papers and other documents are issued to inform Parliament and the public about their activities and to disseminate their findings, policies and data.
The content is varied and, amongst many other types of content, it includes:
The documents may be published by the department itself on its website or via The Stationery Office (TSO). Highlighted below are some of the key online search services you can use to help you track down relevant publications.
There is a huge amount of information disseminated in this way in our information rich society. Most of this information is distributed online and is available in a timely fashion. However where the information is solely published online this does present challenges for tracking down older material which may not have been archived. Publications that are only published online can, and do, disappear or move – so keeping tracking of web based publications for subsequent use and referencing is particularly important in this area.
The UK Government Web Archive maintain the UK Government web archive, which preserves important digital content selected from government websites. It includes archives of twitter accounts and videos which can be useful research resources if you are looking at new or controversial policies of decisions of government.
You can search or browse to find relevant information.
TSO's Online Bookshop offers a comprehensive bibliographic database of over 700,000 titles currently in print in the UK and in the TSO catalogue of official publications.
Publications are organised by subject category allowing for easy browsing and navigation, with details of new and forthcoming releases and current bestsellers, as well as The Daily List – a daily update of all official publications published and distributed by TSO, featuring abstracts from the day's key titles.
The site is divided into over 500 subjects, categories and sub-categories (accessed via the blue navigation bar on the left of the site or from the All Subjects and Categories' page.
As the official public archive of the United Kingdom government, the National Archives hold records covering more than 1,000 years of history. Government records which have been selected for permanent preservation are sent to The National Archives.
You can search descriptions of the records held in the National Archives catalogue.
Some records have been digitised. Other records can be viewed in the Archives reading rooms at Kew.
The National Archives collects records from all government departments and bodies whose records are public records under the Public Records Act.
A number of research guides are available and are a good starting point if you wish to see what is available in your research area.