Content types

Government Digital Service

February 4
15:02 2020

Choosing the right format

Its important to choose the format that fits your content. Do not base your decision on how a format looks.

This is because:

  • if your content is in the wrong format, users will not be able to find it
  • were working on grouping formats by purpose and user need to allow users to find content more easily
  • it could wrongly go into history mode

Case study

Use case studies for real examples that help users understand either:

  • a process thats covered on GOV.UK (for example it shows someones experience of taking part in a particular government programme)
  • an important aspect of government policy thats covered on GOV.UK (for example it shows someones personal experience of a policy problem the government is trying to solve)

Do not create a case study if:

  • its just about promoting your organisation - this just creates noise and makes it harder for users to find the practical information they need
  • it does not relate directly to guidance or policy content on GOV.UK, or add something really important to it
  • its not going to be permanently useful (situations with only a temporary interest are better dealt with in a news story or press release)
  • its similar to an existing case study - this just creates noise and confuses users

Remember, most users just want practical information. Case studies can be counter-productive as theyre just something else for the user to read, and can complicate search results. Its often best to concentrate on getting the wording of the guidance right instead.

Creating a new case study

Find out how to create and update a case study in Whitehall publisher.


View a good example of a case study.

Writing and formatting case studies

All content should follow the Government Digital Service (GDS) style guide and Writing for GOV.UK guidelines. Read these to find out how to write your title, summary and body copy.

There are some additional things you need to consider when writing a case study.


A case study can be either a first-person account or a third-person account with quotes from the person its about.

Case studies can be in video form.


Summarise the point of the case study.

Do not use the words case study in the title: they appear on the page automatically.

Good example: UK money helps to build new homes in Darfur

Bad example: After the war


This should outline what happened, why and the result.

Good example:

The war in Darfur left many people without homes. The government gave the Sudanese government x money and 500 builders to help build homes for 1,000 families.

Body copy

Do include:

  • information about how the case study supports a particular policy (include links to relevant pages)
  • stats and facts: how many people this will help, how much money is going where etc
  • the human element: who is benefiting and how

Do not include:

  • too much detail about the past
  • too many quotes (unless it is a straight interview)

Example:The 7-year war in Darfur (2003 to 2010) left x people homeless. Despite the ceasefire in 2010, the region is still unstable and work to rebuild homes is slow.

The government sent [building company, builders etc] to Darfur in June 2011. In 6 months they built 50 homes, which will house 200 people including 130 children.

George, husband and father of 4 children, said:

It has made such a difference to our lives. My wife was ill and our children were getting sick. We were crammed into a tiny house with 5 other families. The living conditions were awful. Now we have a clean house to ourselves. The children share a room but they love the space and get up to mischief.


Use for:

  • consultations (officially documents requiring collective agreement across government)
  • calls for evidence
  • requests for peoples views on a question

Do not use for:

  • documents that should be added to an existing consultation (such as supporting or outcome documents)
  • informal consultations like surveys

Creating a new consultation

Find out how to create and update a consultation in Whitehall publisher.


View a best practice example of a consultation.

Writing and formatting requirements for consultations

All content should follow the GDS style guide and Writing for GOV.UK guidelines. Read these to find out how to write your title, summary and body copy.

There are also some further points you need to think about when writing a consultation.


Summarise the point of the consultation.

Do not use the word consultation in the title: it appears on the page automatically.

Body copy


  • give a short, succinct account of what you are asking people about
  • keep the body copy to under 100 words

Do not:

  • include publication or response dates as theyre inserted automatically and say who the consultation is aimed at
  • include jargon, even if you think the intended audience will understand it


When you upload an attachment, it will automatically show the front page of the consultation.

Learn more about adding attachments.

When a government response is available, upload relevant files to the consultation page so that the whole consultation is findable at the original URL.

Public feedback (optional - can be added after consultation closes)

Do use the summary or body copy to:

  • say how many responses were received
  • the type of responses received (for example from members of the public, small businesses, large businesses, local government organisations, trade unions etc).

Do not:

  • try to summarise what the feedback says - just upload the actual feedback
  • include dates in the copy - the publication date is inserted automatically

Final outcome (add once the government response is ready)


  • use the summary or body copy to describe briefly what form the government response takes
  • add only documents that form part of the governments initial response to the consultation (usually just the official response document plus a final impact assessment, if there is one)

Do not:

  • describe what the response actually said - that information goes in the attachment
  • do not attach documents with a lifespan longer than the consultation, like implementation plans or new guidance - create a separate publication page instead
  • add more information or attachments to the page after the initial government response has been published

Corporate information: about our services

Use for:

  • service level agreements and service standards

Do not use for:

  • your general approach to customer service
  • general information about your services

About our services appears under the corporate information link on your organisation page.

Its designed for specific information about your service level agreements. For general information about your services use the services and guidance links or about us page.

To explain your approach to customer service, use the complaints procedure instead.

Creating a new about our services page

About our services is created as a corporate information page.

Find out how to create and update about our services in Whitehall publisher.

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