The National Archives: Two new services for EU legislation

James Cleverley MP, Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union made a written ministerial statement on the 3rd July 2019 confirming that the Queen’s Printer’s duties and powers to publish European legislation under Schedule 5 paragraph 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act (c.16) which were brought into force on the 3rd July 2019.

The National Archives has released two new services:

. this new EU Exit Web Archive is a comprehensive archive of a wide range of legislative materials in English, French and German. This includes Treaties, legislative acts, the Official Journal of the European Union and other supporting materials, and judgements of the European Court of Justice. This archive will continue to be maintained until exit, at which point it will stand as a permanent record of EU law as it stood when the UK left the EU.

.      We have added legislation originating from the EU to  We have also  published details about the amendments to EU legislation from the EU and, crucially, the corrective amendments made by UK legislation in preparation for exit. This new collection of EU legislation will continue to be maintained with new content from EUR-Lex until the point of exit, at which point we will maintain the UK versions of the legislation, with amendments incorporated into the texts.

Hannah Chandler, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford



The Launch of the Sub-Committee on Disinformation; and Discovery of the Parallel Parliament Website

Published on behalf of Ruth Hayes, SCOOP (Standing Committee on Official Publications)

On 9 April 2019, Steven Hartshorne, Secretary of SCOOP sent members an email with the subject, “New information-related subcommittee launched”, in which he said ‘This may be of interest to you (it seemed to sneak under the radar of press coverage last week): Report: The launch of the Sub-Committee on Disinformation ‘. This is the title of the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s tenth report of session 2017-19, published on 2 April 2019 (HC 2090):

Among the Sub-Committee’s aims is that it “will become Parliament’s ‘institutional home’ for matters concerning disinformation and data privacy; a focal point that will bring together those seeking to scrutinise and examine this threat to democracy.” The plan is also to “make use of the new Standing Order [137A(e), Select committees: power to work with other committees] enabling us to invite members of any other select committee to attend any meeting of the Sub-Committee to ask questions of witnesses.” A week or so later, (16 April), I replied to Steven, thanking him for the link, and telling him that I too had found “very little press coverage other than in the likes of Press Gazette”. Maybe, though, he would already be aware of the website, Parallel Parliament; and this is the link I found during my searching which includes mention of the report, among other things: My initial thought was that that the “current” page relating to each department changes with time, but that you can specify that you want to look at less recent information as well. And the links given take you very nicely either to the relevant bit of the Parliament website, or else Parallel Parliament brings information together, as in the case of recent Written Answers.

Another result of my search for press coverage of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s report was this page on the BBC News website by Mark D’Arcy, The Week ahead in Parliament, 29 March, which includes mention of the debate in Westminster Hall on 4 April announcing launch of the report.

After the seeming initial lack of interest and/or coverage, more results were found in early May. For thorough coverage, this contribution by Michela Palese of the Electoral Reform Society to UCL’s Constitution Unit has an air of authority:

She outlines the main findings from the major inquiry and report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on fake news, and discusses what the Sub-Committee’s priorities should be. James Warrington of the free newspaper CityA.M. reported the report’s publication on 2 April; his coverage was linked to news about Facebook. See: The Committee’s Twitter has received some reaction. See:

The They Work For You website has coverage of the debate in Westminster Hall on 4 April, which followed publication of the Committee’s report: Although this debate is in Hansard, the contributions in this version include links to Wikipedia or elsewhere on They Work for You, to inform the layperson.

The BBC News website, 2 April at adopts a similar approach to that of CityA.M., though the explanation seems clearer, even if mention of the Sub-Committee is confined only to the last two sentences.

Finding information about the Parallel Parliament website was initially elusive. A Google search found on page 3 on 24 April 2019; by 5 May, it had climbed to number 4. High on the list are two reports from the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons: Second report, session 1998/99, in which paragraphs 4-13 come under the heading, “The arguments for a parallel Chamber”; and a section from that Committee’s first report, with 4 mentions of the word “parallel”; See:

Initially at number 3 doing this search (but now further down the first page) is a House of Commons Library Research briefing, ‘Social care forthcoming Green Paper (England)’ published on 10 April 2019, in which the word “parallel” appears 13 times!

Thereafter, the parallel parliament search threw up references to Venezuela, Moldova, Afghanistan, Libya, European Parliament, Egypt, India, until at the top of page 3 (on 1 May 2019), we came to ‘I wanted a better way of finding information than Parliament’s clunky website, so I built my own to share: ‘ The weblink for this is: On 5 May 2019, it had reached page 2 (last but one item); in my first search for something about this website on 24 April 2019, it was on page 4, or page 5 if in quotes. The link given opens a new window and will take you to

So now for a look at what you can expect to find on this page, based mainly on results on 9 and 11 May 2019. “Parallel Parliament is constantly updated to keep you informed of the latest legislative and departmental news, providing a single source for the latest developments on Government and legislative issues.” A link to House of Commons Twitter feed gives latest news according to that site, which included on 9 May: “The best Prime Minister this country has never had.” 25 years on from the sad death of then-@UKLabour leader John Smith, we asked @IanMurrayMP to explain why he applied for a @CommonsBBCom debate on this anniversary.

Then, looking at Parallel Parliament home page on Saturday 11 May, clicking on Business today in the box, Future Parliament schedules, takes you to Business for Monday 13 May 2019 Here, you see everything on that day’s House of Commons order paper (including oral and topical questions, in this instance, to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; and Select Committees’ subjects and names of witnesses appearing at oral evidence sessions). A final section lists Committee reports being published on that date. I don’t think I’d ever come across a presentation such as this, not even on the Getting the best out of the Parliament website course six years ago (see my articles: Refer, vol. 29, no 3, Autumn 2013, pp 21-27; or, with correction, ISG (L&SE) News, issue 53, October 2013, pp 5-8).

Especially useful is Parallel Parliament’s section on Bills. Whether you select All Bills, Government Bills, Private Member’s Bills, or Royal Assent (i.e. that have become Acts), you are presented with a list in reverse date order of last update, and with a brief explanation of the legislation’s intention. Clicking on the title of an Act or Bill gives you anything and everything you need to trace and go to each of the links to that Bill’s progress through Commons and Lords. For example, European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019, which was presented by Yvette Cooper and supported by Sir Oliver Letwin [and 10 other MPs]. Returning to we come to Government Departments. On a smart grey background are buttons for links to each of the departments listed. Next, a section headed Latest Department Information provides Department news (from Departmental twitter feeds). For example: 11 May 2019, 11:06 a.m. DCMS WATCH: 60 seconds with new Poet Laureate Simon Armitage – Link:

The View Recent Tweets, takes you to list of All Tweets made during the week for all Government departments. Examples I’ve found range from the seemingly frivolous to the more serious:

11 May 2019, 11 a.m. Department for International Trade

???? It’s #NationalDoughnutWeek ???? Do you prefer jam or custard? ????????????????????????????’s @Mackays_jams ???? are the top UK jam brand in ????????. And #DidYouKnow in 2018, ???????? jam exports increased by 9% to £145m ????#ExportingisGREAT

10 May 2019, 8 p.m. Home Office

We’re establishing a new statutory duty of care to make companies take more responsibility for the safety of users online. Compliance will be overseen and enforced by an independent regulator. #OnlineSafety Find out more:

Back at the Parallel Parliament website very nicely brings together answers to Written Questions. You can choose one of the headings given, but more useful is to View Recent Written Questions (taking you to Here, you can see either the day’s, week’s, month’s or year’s Written Questions, which can also be filtered by name(s) of Government Department(s). Up to 10 May, there had been 2867 Written Questions made in the past year!

The page focuses on two sorts of Departmental publications: Consultations seeking feedback; and Latest publications, in each case listing (with links), the three most recent, to give you an idea, so that if you opt to View all …, it will generally just give the most recent week. And while there is the option to filter/expand both to include all in the last month or the last year, it does tell you that “This database is maintained primarily to create live updates, and is not a comprehensive record …”, and suggests you use the search features on the Official Government publications site.

The final sections on the page focus on the most recent day in the Commons displayed in two columns. On the left, are the subjects of debates or other business in the Commons (and how many speeches), with a link for each to the entire Hansard debate. On the right, are Written statements, debates in Westminster Hall and Ministerial corrections (linked in likewise fashion). Until today (Saturday 11 May 2019), I had not previously managed to find direct links to Hansard using the What’s on section of the Parliament website; but at last, there is now such a facility.

The overall (more aesthetic) impression of this website is its very nice use of colours which do not jar or detract from the content. If we want to keep up to date with the work of Select Committees in general, this link on the Parliament website is the most useful, authoritative and comprehensive: It gives links to all such Committees, and lists subjects/titles of new inquiries. (Lords and Joint Committees not currently covered on Parallel Parliament.)

In its Eighth Report, Disinformation and ‘fake news’: Final Report (HC 1791), the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee stated upon publication on 18 February that “this is the Final Report in our inquiry, but it will not be the final word”. See: You will notice that the Committee had started this inquiry (and took written evidence) in the previous Parliament; and in the box, Scope of the inquiry, that the Government responded to the Committee’s final report on 9 May 2019.

On the same date, Steven Hartshorne circulated information about the Parallel Parliament website to the wider SCOOP membership as a useful and potentially timesaving resource for tracking progress of current legislation, departmental information, and government or Parliament activity. He notes that it seems to be independently produced (using the Open Parliament Licence), and that the domain was only registered in March 2019. If you’ve not already done so, do give this website a try.

[This article first appeared in K&IM Refer 35(2), Spring 2019]

SCOOP Vice-Chair named Scottish Library and Information Professional of the Year

We’re very pleased to announce that SCOOP’s Vice-Chair Fiona Laing, who is Curator of Official Publications at the National Library of Scotland has been named Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year. Fiona was presented with the award on Monday at CILIPS annual conference by Michelle Elkington from Bolinda, who sponsored the award. The nomination recognised Fiona’s work on the Scottish School Examination Papers Digitisation Project, the Legal Deposit programme and her invaluable contributions to SWOP and SCOOP.    

Fiona’s achievement was covered by The Bookseller (which sadly doesn’t mention SCOOP, SWOP or the Government Information Group)!

Fiona Laing awarded Scottish Library and Information Professional of the Year
Fiona Laing with Michelle Elkington from the sponsors Bolinda (credit: Charlie Sherry)

Drones, Roadkill, and Defamation – New Official Publications 21.01.19

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

The European Union

General view of the Plenary chamber in Brussels – PHS Hemicycle – Plenary session week 46 2014

Artificial intelligence and civil law: liability rules for drones – study.This study analyses existing European and national legislation on the regulation of drones for civil use, discussing how they are defined and classified, whether certification and registration is required, how liability is apportioned between the subjects involved, and if compulsory insurance is provided for. Finally, on the basis of a risk-management approach, the study elaborates recommendations for future policy formulation.

Renewable energy in Europe 2018: Recent growth and knock-on effects.This report outlines the progress made in 2016 in the deployment of renewable energy sources (RES) in the European Union (EU) as a whole, and at country, market sector and technology level.

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Brexit Unknowns, Scottish Health Survey, and Young People’s Career Aspirations Versus Reality – New Official Publications 01.10.18

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

Westminster and the UK Government

House of Lords Library: The Queen's Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament House of Lords Library: The Queen’s Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

The gender pay gap – “This briefing paper provides statistics on the size of the gender pay gap in the UK, looks at some of the reasons why the gender pay gap arises and discusses the duty on large employers to report on the size of the gender pay gap in their workforce.”

Brexit Unknowns (update) – “What do we still not know about the Brexit process or the withdrawal agreement with the EU that is currently being negotiated? This paper looks at some of the main unknowns.”

Scotland: Public spending and revenue – “Public spending and taxation in Scotland was a hotly debated issue in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum, and has remained so since. A range…

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SCOOP Survey 2018

The Standing Committee On Official Publications (SCOOP) is canvassing its members (and non-members) to find out what they think of its current activities and what they would like to see us do in the future.

We would like to hear your views on SCOOP and get feedback on what we can do for (and with) our members so we have put together a short survey here.

We will be grateful if as many people as possible can complete it: if you have colleagues who you think might be interested in taking part in the survey, please send the link on to them.

Thanks in advance.

Steven Hartshorne

Secretary of SCOOP

Launch of the Northern Ireland Official Publications Archive Online


Following up from this post last year, the online archive of the Northern Ireland Official Publications Collection at Queen’s University was officially launched last week. Thanks to Norma Menabney of the NIOP Team for the following overview of this excellent resource:

“The Library at Queen’s University Belfast has historically played an important role in collecting Northern Ireland official publications and making them available to the research community and the wider public.

Print publications have been collected for many years under National Archives and earlier HMSO guidance that the Library should be treated as an official deposit library for Northern Ireland official publications. Since the formal cessation of print publication and move to electronic format (and in particular for the period of September 2015 onwards) the Library has focused on the creation of a digital archive of Northern Ireland official publications. The main focus of the work is to sustain the official publications collections for future generations.

The NIOPA team harvests documents from all Northern Ireland government official websites, adding monographs and serials to the archive for long term preservation using DSpace open source software. Associated document descriptions also enhance the ability of researchers to find the publications from a single source. With the full text search facility it is now possible to discover document content from the initial search query. As a result we are achieving a high search ranking within search engines such as Google. Our statistics and user feedback also tells us that content is being viewed internationally. Collection development guidelines for the archive have been agreed with the British Library and records and documents are supplied to the British Library to support its commitment to preserve digital works under the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013.

Queen’s University’s status as an official deposit library for Northern Ireland official publications has enabled the Library to collect a wide range of Northern Ireland departmental publications in print and also includes a complete set of Parliamentary Papers for the Northern Ireland Parliament, along with Northern Ireland Assembly Papers for both the 1983-86 Assembly and the current Northern Ireland Assembly (1999 onwards).

The wider collection of the Library’s Official Publications includes an almost complete set of printed UK Parliamentary Papers from 1801 onwards along with selected copies of British and Irish departmental and agency publications along with more limited print collections of Council of Europe, Canadian, European Union, OECD and UN publications. The official publications collection in print consists of approximately 700 bays of print publications.

The Northern Ireland Official Publications Archive, (NIOPA) is available at

Steven Hartshorne

Secretary of SCOOP

Houses of Parliament courses available from FutureLearn

FutureLearn offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop.

Four interesting, free to access, online courses are available from the UK Parliament. You can sign up for email alerts to be alerted to course availability.

Introduction to the UK Parliament: People, Processes and Public ParticipationDate to be announced

UK Parliament Explored: Petitions. Date to be announced

UK Parliament Explored: the Work and Role of Select Committee. Available now

and Royal Holloway, University of London working with UK Parliament have produced:

Beyond the Ballot: Women’s Rights and Suffrage from 1866 to Today. Available now

Hannah Chandler, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

A New (Beta) Interface for the UK Web Archive

The UK Web Archive has a new user interface! Please try it and give us your feedback by completing the short survey at . There are several new features:

  • For the first time you can search both the ‘Open UK Web Archive’” and the ‘Legal Deposit Web Archive’ from the same search box. The Open UK Web Archive was started in 2005 and comprises approximately 15,000 websites that can be viewed anywhere. The Legal Deposit Web Archive was started in 2013 and comprises millions of websites but these can only be viewed in the Reading Rooms of UK Legal Deposit Libraries.
  • We have improved the search and have included faceting so that it’s easier to find what you are looking for
  • A simple, clean design that (hopefully) allows the content to be the focus
  • Easily browsable ‘Special Collections’ (curated groups of websites on a theme, topic or event, including Brexit, the EU Referendum and the 2015 and 2017 General Elections)

Jennie Grimshaw, British Library

Official Publications stalwart honoured.

On 8 November at a ceremony in London, Valerie Nurcombe received the Walford Award from CILIP’s Knowledge and Information Management Group (formerly ISG). The K&IM Walford Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the information world. Former Chair of the Standing Committee on Official Publications (SCOOP) Alastair Allan writes:

Valerie was SCOOP Secretary (under the name of Valerie Bradfield) from its formation in 1971.  In its early years Valerie took on both the roles of Treasurer and Secretary and stand-in Chair for Bridget Howard.  When I took over as Chair she shed the job of Treasurer to the ISG.  She continued as Secretary until the later 1990s.  During that time she organised a series of mightily successful seminars.  For one of them in Red Lion square we had over 300 attendees.  For another three we had over 200.  She also edited a series of books and conference papers derived from these seminars which were very well received, for example,  ‘Whitehall and Westminster, proceedings of a one day seminar on British and European official publishing‘, 1988.

Valerie is an expert in the field of Official Publications and an experienced librarian who has significant talent and many of us do owe her a great deal.

Andrew Coburn (who succeeded Alastair as Chair) adds ‘Valerie was always willing to offer her assistance and advice even after she had stepped down from her formal positions on SCOOP. She was full of ideas and suggestions which enabled us to continue the Committee as an active player in the field.’