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About Deposited Papers

Deposited Papers are documents that are placed in the Library of either House, usually by a government minister. They can be a convenient way for the government to make information available to members of parliament, without publishing it formally. 

They are, then, different to and separate from those parliamentary papers that are formally 'laid before Parliament'.

The original series of Deposited Papers began in 1832. Members of the public can view recent Deposited Papers online or obtain copies of most older papers by contacting the Parliamentary Archives.

Deposited Papers procedure

Items are often deposited in the library in response to a specific request for the information from an MP or Member of the Lords. The request may be made through a parliamentary question or in the course of a debate.

Depositing material in this way means that specific information can be made available - not just to the MP who requested it, but to all Members - in a timely manner or without the need for formal publication. Since 2007 they have also been made available digitally to the wider public.

Who can deposit a paper?

Government ministers, 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. Backbenchers cannot deposit items in this way.

Guidelines for Government departments

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

Types of Deposited Papers

The type of information in Deposited Papers can include:

  • tables of data
  • correspondence
  • research findings
  • diagrams or maps

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.

Items deposited in relation to a particular Bill can be found on the relevant Bill's publications page in Bills before Parliament.

Public access to Deposited Papers

Digital copies of Deposited Papers from 2007 onwards can be found in the Deposited Papers online. This service also contains entry records of earlier deposits back to 1987. Records of deposits received before this date are in hard copy only.

Copies of hard copy deposits can be requested from the Parliamentary Archives. 

New deposits

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

Deposited Papers requested by members of the public or the media will only be released once the document has been published online.

Contact information

Parliamentary Archives

  • 44 (0)20 7219 3074
  • Fax 44 (0)20 7219 2570
  • archives@parliament.uk
  • Parliamentary Archives, Houses of Parliament, London, SW1A 0PW, United Kingdom

Glossary

An alphabetical list of parliamentary terms with definitions.

View glossary