Government department publication [from Electronic source using APA 6th ed.]


Please note that the reference begins with the name of the jurisdiction. You may wish to check whether your department requiries this in all cases, or only in the case of nations other than Great Britain. Please note that the APA manual does not give guidance for government publications, other than those of the US government.

The convention is to give the Department presenting the report to Parliament as the author unless the committee itself is named as an author. It is not usually necessary to name the Chair, although if the report is commonly referred to in this way e.g. the Robens report, you could use this in the text of your work for example, the Department of Employment report (1972, p. 7) hereafter referred to as the Robens report ...

Many electronic sources do not provide page numbers. If paragraph numbers are visible, use them in place of page numbers (using the abbreviation para.), e.g. para. 582. Alternatively, cite the chapter or section, followed by the paragraph number (if appropriate) e.g. Chapter 4, para. 3). 

Webpages can be volatile and subject to unannounced change. Therefore, it is important include the web address (or URL) for the webpage you accessed, as it may not be at that location when your work is assessed. A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the technical term for a webpage address. URLs can change, for example if the material you are viewing is generated 'on-the-fly' using content management software. URLs from these sites may be only viewable at the time of retrieval.

Whenever possible the URL you give should be a stable URL and link directly to the webpage itself. A stable URL, also known as a 'permalink' will not be generated 'on-the-fly' and is more likely to remain accessible. To check if a link to a URL is stable, paste the link into the address bar of an Internet browser to make sure that it works. If there is no stable URL for the item, give the homepage of the website.

Although you must give the full web address (or URL) in your reference list, you do not show this in the body of your essay. Your in-text reference must match the start of the reference as it appears in your reference list. Use the author if your reference has one; otherwise use the first few words of the title.

Standard Form

Government department:

Jurisdiction (if appropriate). Author. (year). Title. (Series Title and number - if there is one). Retrieved from web address

Named author(s):

Author, Initials. (year). Title. (Series Title and number - if there is one). Retrieved from web address


Government department author(s):

Great Britain. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. (2011). Bigger, better business: Helping small firms start, grow and prosper. Retrieved from:

Ministry of Justice. (2012). Licence conditions and temporary travelling abroad (Probation Instructions PI 20/2012). Retrieved from

Names author(s):

Harris, J., & Grace, S. (1999). A question of evidence? Investigating and prosecuting rape in the 1990s (Home Office Research Study 196). Retrieved from the UK Home Office website:

Citation in Text

...without the right support (Great Britain. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 2011, p.3) small business will struggle...

... "arrangements for the application of standard and additional licence conditions for offenders being released on licence" (Ministry of Justice, 2012, p. 2) ...

... difficulty of prosecuting rape where the parties are well-known to one another (Harris & Grace, 1999, p. 36) is due ...



  • If no date appears on the item you are trying to reference, insert (n.d.) where you would normally give the year.
  • If there is a series title, it should be capitalised
  • If there is no identifiable author, begin your reference with the title of the report. Cite the first few words of the title in the text of your work and italicise them.