Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions


Communication and publications

Most of POST’s publications take the form of one of its well-known four-page »POSTnotes«. After considerable experimentation, this format was chosen largely because busy parliamentarians do not have the time to read lengthier documents. A great deal of effort is put into compressing information into this limit, and in meeting the challenge of making a publication at the same time accessible to non-specialists but commanding the approval of experts in the field. Several other parliamentary TA units have adopted a similar style of summary as part of their publication programme – and POSTnotes have even been translated by them for circulation in their own countries.

POST also produces longer reports. The most recently published was on »Living with Environmental Limits«, while an ongoing longer report is a »Decadal Review of Stem Cell Research«, examining developments in the area over the past ten years, as recommended by a special House of Lords committee that reviewed regulatory legislation. Even with these long reports, one or more »POSTnote« style summaries is produced to make the key findings accessible to those who cannot examine the main report.

All POST publications are subjected to extensive external peer review by government departmental, academic, enterprise and NGO specialists before release. This is a key feature of POST’s publication process.

Either at the start of a study, during its course, or after publication, POST frequently organises parliamentary seminars to discuss its studies. These are complemented by other conferences and workshops. Recent examples include sessions on the Future of Food and Farming and on the Implications of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Incident. Both filled some of the largest meeting rooms in the UK Parliament to capacity.

POST also collaborates with external organisations to hold interactive exhibitions and presentations at the UK Parliament. Notable recent events have covered the future of energy research; robotics futures and polar research.

POST was a founding member of EPTA and has always enthusiastically participated in its activities. POST has been honoured to be approached by countries such as Chile, Japan, Norway and Sweden that were considering creating a parliamentary TA function. POST has also worked closely with the Science Policy Division of UNESCO in its work programme on Science, Technology and Parliaments.


Chapter Communication and publications - all countries

Country Report United Kingdom



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