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Official Documents

Official documents include House of Commons Papers, Command papers, Departmental Papers, Reports and Hansard (House of Commons and Lords). See here for a useful glossary of terms.

For useful information on the work of Parliament see the U.K. Parliamentary website -  

The Library only purchases those of relevance to courses being taught at Teesside University and therefore does not have a complete sets. Those that are available can be found using Discovery.

Types of Official Publications

Command Papers are the collective name given to different types of papers prepared by the Government and presented to Parliament with the words "presented to Parliament by command of Her Majesty" 


Access Command Papers from the Official Documents website

Reports and publications of committees can also be found on the Parliamentary website.

The following documents are all types of Command Paper:

  • State Papers (e.g. treaties and international agreements)
  • White Papers - government policy initiatives and proposals for legislation
  • Green Papers - government consultation papers
  • some government replies to Select Committee reports
  • reports of Royal Commissions and other Committees of Inquiry
  • annual reports of some government bodies
  • statistics of certain bodies (judicial, penal, immigration).

The first numbered series of Command Papers was introduced in 1833. The current series began in 2019 and uses the prefix CP. The prefix changes with each series:

  • C 1 to C 9550  (1870-1899)
  • Cd 1 to Cd 9239 (1900-1918)
  • Cmd 1 to Cmd 9889 (1919-1956)
  • Cmnd 1 to Cmnd 9927 (1956 to November 1986)
  • Cm 1 to Cm 9756  (November 1986 to December 2018)
  • CP 1 -  (January 2019 - present)

These are the working papers of Parliament and include publications of Government Departments, Committees, National Audit Office, Parliamentary Ombudsman, Health Service Ombudsman,and reports of major inquiries.

For more information see: Parliamentary papers.

House of Commons papers are normally numbered sequentially within the parliamentary session and prefixed with HC e.g. HC 530 2015-16 (Learning from mistakes: an investigation report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman into how the NHS failed to properly investigate the death of a three-year old child). 

House of Lords papers are normally prefixed with HL


Hansard Online

The Official Report (Hansard) is the edited verbatim (word-for-word) report of proceedings of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Daily Debates from Hansard are published on the website the next working day.

Early Day Motions are formal motions tabled by MPs to draw attention to an event or cause. Very few are actually debated, but MPs show their support by signing the motion. Each EDM is given a unique number, starting at 1 at the beginning of each parliamentary session.

Many of these are now online on the Official documents website