Guidelines for Official Publications in Local Authorities

Pauline Benefield, Alison Lawson, Richard Downing, Sue Woolmer

01 June 2007

'Thank heavens it's here! All the information that I need in one place'.
Carol Hewison
Senior Marketing and Communications Officer, Milton Keynes Council

'From the perspective of legal deposit and the building and preservation of the national published archive, it is essential that these publications can be identified and added to the collections of the British Library and other legal deposit libraries.'
John Tuck
Head of British Collections at the British Library

All local authorities produce a large variety of documents, both in printed and electronic formats, ranging from reports to minutes of meetings to publicity for local initiatives. It is essential that documents include certain standard information so that users may find, trace, refer to and use them correctly.

This guide is designed to help all those who have responsibility for writing, compiling and publishing official documents to make their publications as easy as possible for others to find, use, refer to and cite. Librarians and information professionals may also find the information in this guide useful.

The guide covers the essential and additional information for inclusion in official publications, and sets out basic publishing guidelines, set in the context of the various duties and responsibilities placed on local authorities by legislation and the nature of their work. This guide does not cover editorial and design issues which may be addressed in local style guides. This guide does not apply to whole websites, but to documents published on websites.

There are different requirements for specific kinds of documents, but it is recommended that all documents contain the essential information listed in chapter 2. Additional information may be included as necessary and as desired by those publishing the documents. For a checklist of essential information for inclusion in official documents, see chapter 7. In addition to this document, local authorities may have their own local style guides for publications, which may offer guidance with publishing issues such as editorial and design decisions. All URLs referred to in this guide are listed in chapter 9.

This guide is intended for use by local authorities in England and Wales. While it may be useful to other authorities, please note that differences in legislation, regulation and government departments may need to be considered.

The development of the guidelines was funded by Local Government Analysis and Research (LGAR) and supported by the Affiliation of Local Government Information Specialists in the Local Authority Research and Intelligence Association (ALGIS in LARIA) and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Information Services Group (ISG) Standing Committee on Official Publications (SCOOP).

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Local Government Analysis and Research (LGA)