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An Introductory Guide to Sources of Government Information

 

I’ve been a member of a Probably42 Discussion Group for some time now. We meet monthly (in person initially, but currently via Zoom) and take a topic which we view as one of the UK’s biggest issues to see if we can come up with any ideas to resolve those issues. We try to make those ideas novel, transformative, pragmatic and politically acceptable. This is not always easy!

 

We are at pains to keep our discussions evidence-based and level-headed. Any assertion can be challenged and any prejudice pointed out, but we still manage to remain friends. We then do our level best to get these ideas to those we see to be influential in UK Government circles.

 

Clearly, it’s important for us to have access to reliable information on the issues we discuss, and one of the things that has amazed me is just how much information the UK Government does make available; and how often that information is at odds with the general perception. Most of us are fed a small, and often biased, subset of this information by the media, which is a great pity as it lends itself to opinions being manipulated and prejudices being reinforced.

 

So if you want to know what’s actually going on, or if you want to see if your views are being sought, or if you simply want to check some facts then it’s all there for you. If you’ve ever wondered what all those civil servants do, then this information will provide part of the answer. Although much of the printed information is time-consuming to go through, there is almost always a short summary covering the main points.

 

For example,

 

There are many sources of Government information, but the main ones are: 

 

  • gov.uk is the best place to find all Government services and information. Take a look at the home page to see the scope of the information, or search on any subject you care to choose.
  • Parliament.uk find out what’s on today at the House of Commons and House of Lords. Track current bills, keep up with committees, watch live or archived footage and follow topical issues. Read about how to contact an MP or Lord, petition Parliament and find out details of events in your area.
  • tv watch the select committees where the real business goes on, or watch debates on the floor of both houses.
  • Office for National Statistics a wealth of statistics on the UK’s economy, society and population. Take a look at the headlines and recent releases on the home page.
  • Get emails from Government stay in touch with daily updates on policy papers and consultations

In this time of strange events and fake news, you may find it refreshing to get the facts.

Happy reading!

Geoff Osborne / 19th March 2021