Central government

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on central government. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

28.01.2016Special Advisers
This House of Commons Briefing Paper sets out details of roles and responsibilities of special advisers and information about the number of special advisers. It also explains how the role has developed and includes details of some recent incidents involving special advisers.
26.01.2016Social background of Members of Parliament 1979-2015
Following General Election 2015, 29% of MPs are female, 53% are over 50 years old, 6% are from non-white backgrounds and one-third are from fee-paying schools. The share of manual workers has fallen from 16% in 1979 to 3% in 2015. This note examines the social background of MPs from 1979 to 2015.
11.01.2016The UK National Security Council
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the UK National Security Council (NSC). Using a Q&A format, the briefing provides basic information about its origins, mandate and operation.
06.01.2016The register of consultant lobbyists
This House of Commons Library research briefing explains how the system for registration of consultant lobbyists works in practice. The first Register of Consultant Lobbyists was published in March 2015.
22.12.2015Acts and Statutory Instruments: the volume of UK legislation 1950 to 2015
This paper shows the volume of both primary and secondary legislation in the UK from 1950 to the present day.
17.12.2015The Official Secrets Acts and Official Secrecy
This House of Commons Library paper considers the main pieces of legislation in the UK related to official secrecy and the disclosure of information "in the public interest". It focuses in particular on the main pieces of legislation - the Official Secrets Acts 1911-1989.
09.12.2015Ministers in the Conservative Government: 2015 - present
Ministerial office holders in the 2015 Conservative Government
16.11.2015Social Indicators 2015
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include agriculture, crime, defence, education, elections, environment and energy, health, housing, local government, population and migration, social security and transport.
26.10.2015The Ministerial Code and the Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests
This briefing paper looks at the Ministerial Code and the process for investigating breaches of the Code.
15.10.2015Ministers in the Coalition Government: 2010-15
Ministerial office holders in the 2010-15 Coalition Government

Lords Library Notes

17.01.2011Debate on 20 January: Constitutional and Parliamentary Effect of Coalition Government
This Library Note aims to provide background reading for the debate on 20 January 2011: "To call attention to the constitutional and parliamentary effect of Coalition Government".


24.09.2015Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice
This POSTnote describes crime patterns, and highlights issues with crime measurement and data. It also identifies key developments in the criminal justice system.
12.06.2015Trends in Political Participation
Over the last fifty years in the UK, some aspects of participation in formal politics have decreased, such as political party membership. But new forms of participation, such as online activism, have emerged, which may become increasingly important, especially for younger people. This POSTnote discusses trends in political participation, with a focus on new forms, drivers of these trends and how UK democratic institutions are responding.

Select Committee Reports

15.02.2012Role and functions of departmental Chief Scientific Advisers.
Science and Technology Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
13.09.2011The performance of the Ministry of Defence 2009-10.
Government response. Defence Select Committee; Ministry of Defence report [Commons]
19.07.2011Ministry of Defence main estimates 2011-12.
Defence Select Committee report [Commons]
18.07.2011Home Office - work of the Permanent Secretary.
Home Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
14.07.2011Role of the FCO in UK government.
Government response. Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House welcomes the publication of the renewed Compact, between the Government and the voluntary sector; notes that it outlines the principles of good partnership working between ...
That this House recognises the importance of work experience placements for young people, but believes that those undertaking work experience should not be offered jobs which would ...
That this House notes the continuing cost to the public purse of hon. Members tabling substantial numbers of written questions; understands the principle behind limiting the number ...
That this House notes that the Departmentfor Work and Pensions spent 115 million on management conferences and external meetings between 2000 and 2010; further notes that most departments ...
That this House recognises that there needs to be an urgent and fundamental reform of the relationship between central and local government; commends the work of the Local Government ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses