These documents, along with Command Papers, provide an amazing documentary store covering hundreds of years and many subjects.
House of Commons Papers cover a range of subjects and come from various sources. This is not an exhaustive list, but among others they include:
A Bill is a draft law, which needs to pass both the Commons and the Lords, then receive Royal Assent, in order to become an Act. Not all Bills do become Acts. A useful guide to the way a bill progresses through Parliament is available on their website.
To see how bills in the current parliament are progressing, see the Bills before Parliament page.
The research units of the Commons and the Lords produce very useful publications which discuss various topics, including government bills, see the Research Publications page. Recent examples include a 'Standard Note' on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill and a Research Paper on the Modern Slavery Bill
Members of the University can access an online full-text service, House of Commons Parliamentary Papers.
This has the widest collection of British Official Publications covering the greatest number of years. There are other services which have a smaller remit, see the list below.
If you wish to consult printed Commons Papers and Bills, or printed Command Papers, please note that only those from the Parliamentary Session 1979/80 onwards are on the open shelves in the Ford Collection on level 3 of the Hartley Library. We can retrieve older ones but need one to two working day's notice, please. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org stating clearly the paper or bill numbers and the parliamentary sessions.
If you don't have full details, including the parliamentary session and paper or bill numbers, you will first need to get that infomation. The tools which will help you to do that vary depending on the time period. Many, but not all, are indexed by WebCat - see 'Where do I start?' on the main British Official Publications page for more detail and a guide to interpreting WebCat references.
Whilst online full-text sources are prevalent, there may be occasions when it's more appropriate to use a printed index to start your research and/or to confirm a reference. Those most useful are shelved at P. P. Ref (Parliamentary Papers Reference) which is at the end of the Ford Collection on level 3 of the Hartley Library. Highlights include: