Research briefings

This page provides access to research briefings produced by the House of Commons Library, the House of Lords Library and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). You can filter the research briefings by date, type, or one of 350 topics. Pick your options from the dropdown menus.

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    • Commons Briefing papers: 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.
    • Lords Library Notes: 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.
    • POSTbriefs: Responsive policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on mini-literature reviews and peer review, typically commissioned by select committees and library research services.
    • POSTnotes: 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.
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    Topics: Research material can be filtered by subject using the topic terms. The topics are arranged in a taxonomy (a hierarchical classification) and can be further filtered using sub-topics.

Displaying 1-20 out of 66

Local authority financial resilience
Published Monday, March 11, 2019 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8520
A Commons Library briefing on the financial resilience of local authorities: debates during the 2010s
Spending of the Department for Work and Pensions
Published Monday, February 25, 2019 | Commons Debate packs CDP-2019-0053
This House of Commons Library debate pack briefing has been prepared in advance of an Estimates Day debate on the spending of the Department for Work and Pensions. This will take place in the House of Commons Chamber on 26 February 2019.
Revised Government spending plans for 2018/19
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8504
This briefing looks at the most recent set of the Government's spending plans, the Supplementary Estimates 2018/19, and provides both a summary of their contents and context to help understand them.
Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill
Published Wednesday, December 5, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7864
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper looks at the Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill, published by the Cabinet Office on 5 December 2016, which would create a Public Service Ombudsman for UK reserved matters and public services delivered solely in England.
UK funding from the EU
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7847
This Commons Library briefing looks at the funding received by the UK from EU institutions and considers the implications of Brexit on the EU as a source of funding for regional development, agriculture support, research and innovation and other areas.
Local government finances
Published Wednesday, October 31, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8431
Local authorities in England spent £74 billion in 2017/18. This briefing looks at the funding that local authorities receive from central Government, and where and how they spend it.
Ministerial Directions
Published Wednesday, October 24, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8412
Ministerial directions are a potential part of the process of approving expenditure of public money. Use of ministerial directions is rare, but preparations for Brexit have included an instruction to Accounting Officers to include them in planning for approval of spending in advance of Royal Assent to relevant legislation.
Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill 2017-19
Published Thursday, October 18, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8418
Commons Library briefing on the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill 2017-19
Public procurement and contracts
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers SN06029
Procurement accounts for about a third of public spending in the UK. This briefing looks at the legislation and guidance that governs procurement, and government policy in this area. It also looks at problems with procurement and contracts, and offers some pointers on how to find out more about particular contracts.
Brexit: public procurement
Published Wednesday, September 5, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8390
Overview of the expected effects of Brexit on public procurement and future policy choices for the UK.
Public spending: a brief introduction
Published Tuesday, August 28, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8046
The government expects to spend £813 billion in 2018-19, the most it has ever spent in cash terms. This money can be categorised in a number of different ways, including the method by which the spending was planned, the governmental function it is spent on, the departments and public bodies doing the spending, and the geographical areas where the money is spent. This note describes the different ways in which public spending is categorised, and presents statistics and commentary on recent spending in each category.
Public Bodies
Published Wednesday, August 8, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8376
The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 provides Ministers with the power to establish new public authorities to carry out functions currently undertaken by EU-wide bodies. This could result in a range of new regulatory bodies. The classification of public bodies in the United Kingdom in the recent past has been the subject of reform policies set out by central Government, with a focus on reduction of overall numbers and guidance on the justification for the creation of new bodies. Both trends are considered in this briefing.
Lessons from the collapse of Carillion
Published Monday, July 9, 2018 | Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0177
There will be a debate on Lessons from the collapse of Carillion in the House of Commons on Thursday 12 July.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman: role and proposals for reform
Published Thursday, June 21, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7496
This House of Commons Briefing Paper looks at the role of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, and recent proposals for its reform.
Main Estimates: Government spending plans for 2018-19
Published Tuesday, May 8, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8302
This briefing discusses Parliament's approval of the Government's spending plans. It includes a summary of each government department's spending plans for 2018/19.
The public finances: a historical overview
Published Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8265
The past 300 years have seen major changes in the way Britain handles its public finances. This briefing paper looks at trends in public income, spending and debts during this time, and comments on how the money was raised, spent and scrutinised by Parliament.
The Spending of the Department for Exiting the European Union
Published Thursday, February 22, 2018 | Commons Debate packs CDP-2018-0046
On 26 February 2018 there will be an Estimates Day debate on the spending of the Department for Exiting the EU.
The Inquiries Act 2005
Published Tuesday, January 30, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers SN06410
A briefing paper explaining the Inquiries Act 2005, issues arising from the holding of statutory public inquiries, and notes on statutory inquiries that are currently open.
The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19: Summary of Commons Committee Stage
Published Tuesday, January 9, 2018 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-8192
The Committee Stage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was held on the Floor of the House. The Programme Motion, agreed after the conclusion of the Second Reading Debate on 11 September 2017, provided for 8 days of debate. This paper summarises the main areas of debate, commitments made by the Government, and amendments agreed by the Committee of the Whole House.
Pre-appointment hearings
Published Wednesday, December 20, 2017 | Commons Briefing papers SN04387
This Commons Library briefing paper outlines the role that select committees play in assessing the suitability of the Government’s favoured candidates for a number of public appointments.  It sets out the guidance for their operation before summarising key hearings of interest, where a committee has raised doubts about the suitability of a candidate.  It also includes information about the introduction of the present system of pre-appointment hearings and highlights research about their effectiveness.

Displaying 1-20 out of 66

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House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.

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The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.


The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.

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