Policy supporting pages are often overlooked as an option for meeting users' needs. They should actually be considered alongside the more frequently used formats, like detailed guides and publications.
Some user needs are related to finding out what agencies or arm's length bodies (ALBs) do - these are the ones that can usually be met by updating or adding to policy content that sponsoring departments already have on the site, or by creating a new supporting page.
Policy supporting pages (also called 'supporting detail') are where the department and, by extension, its agencies and ALBs can explain how government policy is being put into practice.
This is not a task-based or action-orientated need, so the information shouldn't go into a detailed guide. The format is covered in the style guide, at the bottom of the section on policies.
Defra has a policy on ‘Reducing the risk of flooding and coastal erosion’
If you click on the ‘Detail’ tab, you’ll see the policy’s supporting pages. The first of these is ‘Managing the risks of floods and coastal change’, where they provide details of the national and local strategies and link out to the Environment Agency (EA) site.
Once EA transitions, we’d expect the supporting page to be updated to reflect what EA does in relation to this policy and to cover some of the information that is currently being linked to.
How to update a policy supporting page
In most cases, agencies and ALBs will need to contact their sponsoring department to get an existing policy supporting page updated.
You should decide with them the best way to update current content so that users can clearly see how the agency or ALB's work supports this particular policy.