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This sprint for official documents, archiving and unpublishing

Here are the most significant things we’re working on in the government section of GOV.UK in this sprint:

  • Finishing off work on document series to become collections. This will be shipped today, making the workflow on collections (formerly known as document series) more like that for other documents, eg publications or consultations. One of the benefits of this is that you can now create them in draft rather than having them go live straight away.
  • Design story to improve organisation homepages. We'll focus on helping users more easily find an organisation's most popular corporate content, services and information, and organisation charts.
  • Improving the UI for reviewing and editing documents in the publisher. We want to make the user interface much more intuitive and streamlined so that it's easier and faster for editors to use. We'll be spending time with editors as part of this, and we're happy to receive extra ideas in the comments.
  • Preparing for the Official Documents on GOV.UK. Official documents is the name for documents laid before parliament called Command and House of Commons Papers, which currently live on this site but will soon transition to GOV.UK. There are about 8000 of these, and they include things like the Leveson Report or the Hillsborough enquiry. Some date as far back as 1951 and many of them were created by organisations that are now closed e.g. the Department for Constitutional Affairs. We have to build features for this, for example to prevent 500 or so closed organisations from cluttering up the regular filter on the publications page.
  • Improving the template for featuring on topics. We're working on improving how the topic pages look, whatever number of items you feature.
  • Archiving content. At the moment we can only unpublish content and set up redirects. But when content doesn't reflect the government's current position anymore, it's better to be able to archive it and keep it on the site rather than remove it.
  • Unpublishing and archiving ability for Managing Editors in departments. We very often hear from departmental editors that they want the ability to unpublish content that was published in error, or that duplicates other content, and set up redirects. At the moment all requests for unpublishing come through GDS, which causes delays and is a bad use of time. So now we're working to change that.

We’ll demo where we’ve got to on all this and more besides at the show and tell on Monday 28th October at 3.30pm. Representatives from orgs who are live on GOV.UK are extremely welcome, please comment on this post or email me if you want to come.

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  1. Comment by Keith Prust posted on

    Hi Alice

    A quick question on the transition of the Official Documents website to GOV.UK. Will you be checking whether the documents are already on GOV.UK to avoid duplication?

    For example the Draft Pensions Bill (Cm 8529) is on GOV.UK with a lot of useful supporting information

    It is also on the Official Documents site, but without any of the supporting information


    • Replies to Keith Prust>

      Comment by Robin Carswell posted on


      Thanks for asking!

      We're going through each one and of course trying to avoid duplicate content. If it's already on GOV.UK, it's quite simple to redirect the original link to the already-published content. In some cases, where the document is missing the relevant CM and/or House of Commons reference numbers / metadata, we might be editioning some documents and republishing...of course with all due care and attention deserved.


  2. Comment by Jonathan Burg posted on

    HI there. Got a really good one. Did you know that TSO holds a run of all official documents - except that they only provide photocopies. (!). I asked them to see if they could pull a PDF from the national archives into their Catalogue and they ran blank.

    It would be great if all missing PDFs in the TSO set could be trawled for, and sucked in from the national archives. It would be even better if all documents going to TSO were checked to make sure the PDFs are held too. It would be AMAZING if there was a real 1-stop shop for all government e-documents, past and present, and if this were to provide the current , commercial and archive functions (streamlining across National Archives, TSO and other sites).....

  3. Comment by Alice Newton posted on

    Hi Jonathan, we are in the process of bringing over all the PDFs from the OffDocs website,, onto GOV.UK and adding the metadata and supporting information. However, we are not currently planning to get PDF copies made of every paper Official Document in the TNA. I hope that helps!