Background and access to Deposited Papers

Deposited Papers are placed in the Commons or Lords libraries by a government minister, the Speaker of the Commons or the Lord Speaker.

The series of Deposited Papers began in 1832 and are not presented or laid formally before Parliament. Members of the public can view Deposited Papers online or receive copies of the papers by contacting the Parliamentary Archives.

A minister will deposit material in both libraries in response to requests for information by MPs or Members of the Lords in the form of parliamentary questions or requests during debates.

This means specific information can be made available to Parliament without the need to publish it formally.

Who can deposit a paper?

Backbench MPs may not deposit items in this series; apart from government ministers, only the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lord Speaker and MPs acting on behalf of bodies such as the Church Commissioners or the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission, may do so.

The following guidelines explain how government departments can Deposit Papers in the Commons Library and Lords Library.

The type of information in Deposited Papers can include:

  • tables of data
  • research reports not intended for formal publication
  • diagrams or maps
  • exchanges of correspondence

Deposited Papers are held in a joint series by the libraries of both Houses as a set and are numbered chronologically within each calendar year.

There is a public database which includes records of each Deposited Paper from 1987 onwards with digital versions from 2007. Documents received before this date are only available in hard copy.

Hard copy documents can viewed in the Reading Room in the Parliamentary Archives or made available from the Archive Reprographic Services.

New deposits

If you are seeking a document that a Minister has recently said they will deposit, but has yet to be actually deposited, please contact one of the information offices.

In addition to the database mentioned above, the Commons Library and Lords Library can email copies of Deposited Papers to MPs and Members of the Lords on request.

MPs and Lords (or their staff) can also ask for a printed copy to be made available in the libraries.

Other publications

Research publications

The Commons and Lords libraries publish research briefings which offer an independent summary on legislation and other subjects of interest.

Committee publications

The Commons and Lords committees publish reports on enquiries they have undertaken as part of their scrutiny of Government.

Bills and legislation

Keep up to date with the progress of current and draft Bills before Parliament